Imagery B+

A kid was sent home from school when his pansy teacher freaked out because he drew a stick-figure Jesus on the cross. The school sent the kid home and is requiring him to undergo a psychological evalutation for the crime of drawing a “violent image.”

Take a moment, have a scowl and an eye roll, call the school board if you feel the need.

All done? Good, because I think everyone’s missing the real story here. The class was asked to draw something that reminded them of Christmas, and this kid drew… Jesus’s death.

I’m no religious scholar, and I celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday rather than a religious one, but my understanding of Christmas is that it’s the celebration of Jesus’s birth. And instead of the sweet little baby Jesus in the manger with the frankincense and myrrh or Christmas trees or candy canes… the kid picked the crucifixion as the image that reminds him of Christmas. What will he draw at Easter? A stick-figure baby in a boxy manger?

The kid’s teacher and the school administration should be fired for failing to teach the kid about imagery and associations.

Just sayin’.

19 Responses to Imagery B+

  1. but my understanding of Christmas is that it’s the celebration of Jesus’s birth.

    Yes. And reason he was born was to be sacrificed on the cross; the myrrh from the Wise Men was a foreshadowing (it was popularly used in enbalming). Many churches decorate Christmas trees with symbols of the crucifixion–crosses, crowns of thorns, nails, the INRI sign. If you get past the first verse of Christmas hymns, many of them mention the crucifixion and ressurection:

    Nails, spear shall pierce him through,
    The cross be borne for me, for you;
    Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
    The babe, the son of Mary!

    So the kid’s imagery and association were just fine. And the teacher and administrators should be fired anyway, for equating Christianity with the need for psychiatric evaluation. Good grief.

    [Heather, I am a Christian and have been for 18 years, so I completely understand that the only reason Jesus was born as a man was so He could die for us. I totally get that, or I wouldn't be a Christian. BUT this is an 8-year-old kid we're talking about. 8-year-old kids are really into Santa and the baby Jesus and candy canes and Christmas trees. It just surprised me that an 8-y-o kid, when asked what makes him think of Christmas, chooses the most morbid and gruesome part of the story to draw about.

    And the fact that the teacher and administrators should be fired for the reason you listed is completely obvious, so I didn't feel the need to say so. Give me a little credit, will ya? --SK]

  2. I can’t go with you on this one. After all, the incarnation of Christ is pointless without his subsequent death and resurrection.

    I frequently emphasize the death of Christ around Christmas time. (Of course, my Dad has said that if I was a preacher, EVERY sermon would be an Easter sermon, so maybe it’s just me.)

    [Jeffrey (Hi!), you know I understand that the incarnation is pointless without his death and resurrection. I've always been a little put off by the way people in the church deal with Christmas. Instead of celebrating it as a family holiday and leaving it at that, they feel the need to make sure everyone knows that they're only celebrating Christmas because of Jesus's death, and they get a little preachy about it. :) I get the need to preach the death and resurrection in every sermon--it's essential, because if it's the only sermon someone ever hears, they need to hear that Jesus is God, the Word, born as a man, that he died and was resurrected, and that salvation is through baptism into Christ. I get that. But this is the one time that we acknowledge that this was GOD who put himself so low that he was born in a stable so that he COULD sacrifice himself. I just don't get why the most poignant imagery of Christmas, for an 8-year-old kid (I really can't emphasize that enough), should be the gory death. Maybe I'll get it when I have an 8-y-o kid. -- SK]

  3. I’d have to go with you (and NOT Jeffrey) on this. I’m of the mind that the teacher and principal should undergo testing instead.

    [They totally should.--SK]

  4. I’m sorry to disagree, too, SarahK. Heather and Jeffrey have it spot on :) The only reason for the birth was for him to give his life for us!

    [I agree. But please see my comments to Heather and Jeffrey.]

  5. Well, the teachers should have seen it coming, when, after he was assigned to draw something for Columbus Day, he drew a pile of smallpox infested blankets.

    Also, I hope this post doesn’t get you dragged onto the Bill O’Reily Factor during one of his “War on Christmas” segments since you’re obviously unaware of the “reason for the season”.

  6. I think you are all correct. I think it is a little odd that the 8 year old drew a picture with Jesus’s eyes crossed out, but I also think it is ok to remember that Jesus died on the cross for us. I think the teacher is the one that was spot on WRONG! My guess is that if the boy had drawn a picture of the baby Jesus or of a grown Jesus NOT on the cross, she would still have sent him home. After all, when did CHRISTmas become about Christ to these “teachers” (what ARE they teaching our children I wonder?)

  7. I’m glad we agree…I think the part you are hung up on is the age of the kid and the gore of crucifixion. I can pretty much guarantee that an 8 year old doesn’t actually think about the gore involved. A Christian 8-year-old would most likely only equate Jesus on a cross with his love for us…I’m sure some kids have been allowed to see “The Passion”, but most haven’t, and thus wouldn’t fully realize what goes into a crucifixion. The symbol of the cross is everywhere for him, if he’s brought up in a Christian family, which is why he would connect it with God’s love.
    On another note, it is possible to celebrate Christmas in a secular and non-secular way. My husband is a Lutheran pastor, and we do both in our household – we get some flack from others for it, but our kids are well-grounded in the real reason for Christmas. Especially now, when our religion is being persecuted (proof of which in the story you posted), it is so important to celebrate Christ’s first coming without shame.

  8. Actually as I read this I thought “his school can’t be veery good if the poor lad associates Christmas with Jesus’ death”. :D

  9. The way I understand this, the kid is a special-needs student who was asked to draw something that reminded him of Christmas. His family had recently taken a trip to some Catholic something or other to view a nativity, and he remembered seeing a crucifix there, too.

    I suspect that his all-too-literal mind is not quite capable of the abstract imagery-association you critique. Instead, he simply represented an image from his memory of an experience that he associates with Christmas.

    BTW, the school claims the drawing is faked and that the boy was suspended for a drawing that showed him shooting a teacher and a classmate. I’m withholding judgment until all the facts are in.

  10. He’s special needs??? That’s the first I hear of that. Is that true? If so, I would never have made fun. I’ll make fun of an 8-year-old kid, but not a special needs kid.

    Seriously. I’m a jerk, but not that big of a jerk.

    Do you have a link?

  11. My apologies, he’s not special needs, he just gets specialized help in reading and speech. Also, ignore what I said about the other drawing. I misread that somehow, too.

    Sleep deprivation makes me stupid.

  12. Dr. Feelgood, I’m so glad! I’ve spent the afternoon feeling like such a tool!

  13. My bad, humble act of contrition forthcoming.

  14. Sarah,
    Your post was funny and cute. I’m not trying to take away from that or pile on. But I gotta say, like your first two commenters, the crucifix is actually a great symbol of Christmas. The Christmas tree is meant to remind us of the tree in the garden of Eden, which then relates to the “tree” on which he died for our sins. You know how everyone is always saying to keep CHRIST in Christmas… Well, this kid was also keeping the MASS in Christmass!

  15. I’m kind of divided on this one. It does make me scratch my head that that depiction would be his first choice to draw. It is, however, kind of a taste-level thing with boys of that age. . . often this is the same age that catapults candy canes at the nativity scene figures. (And, hey, doesn’t it seem more macho to draw what looks like an action figure than a baby doll?) I seem to recall my nephew was a bit obsessed with the crucifixion at that age when he started to understand what it really meant. Or, like you said, he may have been given a perspective focused on Christ’s death and resurrection during Christmas. I just can’t decide.

  16. While normally one would associate the birth of Christ with Christmas a lot of what we think about Christmas is the gifts, and while the birth of Christ was a wonderful gift humanity recieved from God, it was His death for us on the cross that is the greatest gift mankind has ever recieved, for thru it we have everlasting life. So I can’t fault the kid here… he had it righter than many today.

    I wear a cross around my neck, not as a symbol of death, but as a symbol of the promise of life after death.

  17. Jesus died on the cross. It wasn’t pretty, but that’s what happened. If the boy chose to portray that image, then so be it. It’s not a sign that he’s in any way unbalanced, fer cryin’ out loud!

  18. BTW, I know you’re not here to provide information to me, you’re not paid enough…But where’s Rachel P?
    I know she’s still alive because I see in your right sidebar that she twittered. I don’t do twitter because I’m male and over 21.

    I’ve missed you Sarah…Not in the way that sounded. I just came out of a long illness. Can’t kill a sailor :)

    Hope you had a Merry Christmas!


    p.s. Tell Frank I said HI!

  19. Now I really feel stupid. You had her listed under wRitErsbLock. I shut up now.