Thursday, September 26, 2013

John Chapman

So, for those of you in public (and sadly, lots of private as well) schools, today was "Johnny Appleseed Day". This is one of those days I'm really thankful to not be in an organized educational environment and, if I happen to be again one day, I pray that the kids are aged past this celebration.

I get the little kids making apple crafts and talking about apples and eating apples. Yum. Apples are always good. Even better if peanut butter (oh, never mind, allergen...) or caramels are involved.

Still, if you take a little time to learn about Mr. Chapman, I sort of wonder what it is they're teaching in school. I hope they're sticking to the "tall tale" bit because, otherwise, I'm unclear how this fits in a public (aka, NO religion) or private (especially Catholic) school.

- John Chapman was a missionary for The New Church (aka Swedenborgianism I probably spelled that wrong) if you're interested, check it out...What do they believe? At best, it's a marginal Christian religion, at worst, some new age deal (even though it's fairly old). Regardless, how is any school teaching this? He was a missionary. It was kind of a big part of his life. Or, are they not really covering the man's life? Besides the apple thing, I mean.

- Johnny went around the states, spreading seeds to grow trees in nurseries, allowing the people living nearby to tend and keep them for a fee (he was a real estate developer). He did no grafting (he was religiously opposed). Apples from seeds are mainly sour and only useful in making liquor. So, ahem. Again. Is it possible that this man about whom the day is centered didn't really have a hand in that apple you're currently crunching? (lest you think I'm what I am not, I am a particular fan of hard cider but, really, is this what they're teaching in school these days?) I am down with the real estate thing. Economics is good at any age!

- Johnny hated extravagant living and loved animals. Bravo! Are they teaching this? It would be really good to have a lesson on either (or dare I dream) both these things!

- There are legends of Johnny Appleseed traveling all around PA , OH and IN. Are they using this day as a geography unit?

I have no idea what they're doing. If they're covering geography, avarice, economics, nutrition and botany, OK, I suppose I can get behind that. I know that when #1 child was in Catholic school, 1st grade, they had to take in apples and had taste tests and made caramel to dip when they were done. It was called "Johnny Appleseed Day" and they read the legend but, perhaps that was it because I don't remember anything else. If that's the case, let's just call it "Apple Day" huh? Apples are healthy. Apples are good. Unless they're the technological kind. That's a discussion for another day.

We are blessed.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting-- I didn't realize that John Chapman was a missionary for the New Church. In the Adventures in Odyssey we borrowed from another Catholic family recently (I know Focus on the Family is protestant), they had a segment on John Chapman, and it focused more on the real estate and stewardship of the man.

    I'm all for an apple unit by itself!
    Thanks for sharing.