Would you pray with a student? - page 3

I have a 5th grade student who came to me last week that I ended up making a child abuse report on. Today, she came to me and informed me that her "safe" caregiver has been removed from the house and... Read More

  1. by   Farawyn
    Quote from llg
    Dear OldDude,
    I am what most people would call an atheist in that I don't believe in God as a being ... but I am a spiritual person in my own way.

    I want to compliment you on your post, which I can support in spite of being an atheist. I feel strongly that the staff of a public school should not "push" their particular religious beliefs onto a child -- and if someone at a school tried to push their religion onto my child, I would have them in court real fast. However, I see nothing wrong with your suggestion to create a safe space for a spiritual conversation, allowing the child to lead the conversation within that space.

    Your approach is one that allows people of differing spiritual beliefs to work (and live) together peacefully -- and to even learn from each other. Thank you.
    Yeah, he's a peach.
  2. by   Amethya
    If the student wants to with me, I will. I'm... not really super religious, I come from a Catholic family, which is christian-ish? I always respect others religious views and life, and if someone wants me to pray with them for any type of religious way, I will for them. Whether it's Muslim, Jewish, Christian, etc.
  3. by   lifelearningrn
    If a student asked me to pray with him or her, I would do it in a heartbeat, regardless of my religious beliefs. I'm here for them!
  4. by   Munch
    As a stark atheist I would not pray for a student or with a student(or with a patient since I don't work in a school). Maybe its the area that I live in being very liberal or maybe in just biased but dont you think praying with a student could cause an uproar? I know when I was going to school if some of the parents heard a staff member was praying with students be it requested or not they would throw a fit. School is just not the type of place for worship unless of course its a religious school.

    That being said telling the student you are praying for her I don't see anything wrong with. Like another poster said I take that to mean someone cares and is taking a moment out of their day to think of me. OP maybe you can tell her that you are going to have a moment of silence for her and during that silence you can tell her that she can do whatever she wants during that moments of silence..pray whatever. Then if you want to pray too you can..just don't tell her that's what you are doing.
  5. by   FolksBtrippin
    Telling the student what to do, believe or think about God is unacceptable.

    Supporting the student as she participates in her own understanding is being a good nurse.

    If "pray with" means being silent and respectful, bowing your head, folding hands as *the student* prays, that's okay and good.

    If "pray with" means uttering the prayer out loud yourself that's not okay.

    If "encouraging spiritually" means giving the student space to pray in your office then thats okay. You would need to do the same for a child outside your faith.

    If encouraging spiritually means giving reading assignments, invitations to your church, etc then no.

    We have to remember that we are in a position of authority. We can't use that position to further our own religious agenda.
  6. by   TruvyNurse
    Absolutely.
  7. by   Not_A_Hat_Person
    I assume you work in a public school. From what I understand, public schools can't favor one religion over another. Either all faiths are recognized or none are.

    What if the student wasn't the same type of Christian as you? What if they weren't Christian? What kind of spiritual support would you offer a Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Atheist student?

    If you wouldn't be willing to pray with a student of a different faith, it's not a good idea to pray with a student who shares your faith. It can easily turn into favoring your faith over someone else's. It's one thing to provide a safe space for a student to perform their own ritual of comfort, and another to participate.

    I live in a liberal, largely Catholic area with a sizeable Muslim poulation. This kind of thing comes up in public schools fairly often.
    Last edit by Not_A_Hat_Person on Jan 11
  8. by   BSNbeauty
    Most definitely , I would and have prayed for and with patients.
  9. by   Brenda F. Johnson
    Why are we afraid of prayer? This country was founded on a Christian religion. How can it be illegal to pray with a child who needs the comfort of an adult who understands and shares that practice? Why do we need to hide in a closet? There is freedom of religion. Other religions can pray in their manner to their god. They have that right, and so do we. Why are we so afraid to offend someone else.
    That child is in great need, and I am glad there is at least one teacher willing to help. As a child who grew up in an abusive home, it only took one adult to recognize my need and reach out. I still remember them for the kind gentleness they showed me. They are why I was able to go on and have faith, in other people and my God. Thank you for reaching out to this child. Believe me, you have made a difference
  10. by   nehneh14
    As an atheist, I wouldn't have led a prayer, but I certainly would have shared a moment of reflection with her during which she could pray out loud or silently, and I would have offered her any other kind of appropriate support she needed. It's becoming more crucial than ever that we remain diligent about the separation of church and state, but as long as no one is proselytizing or mandating the acknowledgement of a higher power, providing a space/moment for your student to receive comfort on her terms is a kindness you can provide.
  11. by   wannabeny
    I think as long as you are providing what she needs in that moment; comfort, I don't see how going along with her request does any harm, so long as you aren't pushing your own belief system onto her.

    I'm a Catholic raised w/ two Jewish stepparents, turned atheist.

    I try to take cue from the individual on religion..I don't talk about it, but support it sincerly; I may not believe in it anymore, but I 100% respect all religions.If it is to provide comfort to them, I'll join them in a heartbeat.
  12. by   lillyhmom3885
    I am a nurse who works at a Primary care office. While I don't have students, I do pray for my patients. I find that part of the healing process is spiritual. I believe we as nurses can give them hope and confidence. I think it's very important to feel a person (student/patient) out and ask if that's something they would appreciate that you do for them. I have a few turn down prayer but the majority welcome it with open arms.
    You can also pray for them quietly and I believe that will move mountains as well.
  13. by   khminh
    Quote from Brenda F. Johnson
    Why are we afraid of prayer? This country was founded on a Christian religion. How can it be illegal to pray with a child who needs the comfort of an adult who understands and shares that practice? Why do we need to hide in a closet? There is freedom of religion. Other religions can pray in their manner to their god. They have that right, and so do we. Why are we so afraid to offend someone else.
    That child is in great need, and I am glad there is at least one teacher willing to help. As a child who grew up in an abusive home, it only took one adult to recognize my need and reach out. I still remember them for the kind gentleness they showed me. They are why I was able to go on and have faith, in other people and my God. Thank you for reaching out to this child. Believe me, you have made a difference
    Pray for me as much as you like to, Ms. Christian. Just don't put me on the spot when I'm in a vulnerable position.

    If you say to me "I will pray for you" without asking me what I believe in, what my spirituality is, how my worship is done, you don't have empathy for a non Christian, and you can be sure that I will return the same favor "I appreciate your prayer. I will sacrifice a dog and use his blood to prevent you from being possessed by demons".

    In my culture, many people believe that dogs wards off ghosts and evil spirits. Proselytizing to me or my family, you can expect consequences. I don't have to complain to your supervisor.

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