Militarism - The Year of the Rabbit

With The Chinese Spring Festival ending, and the Year of the Rabbit upon us my family and I have been celebrating the festivities more ‘freely’ this year as the Covid restrictions have much relaxed.

Several years ago, my wife, along with our daughter started to attend our local Church, St. Peter's and St. Simon's in Partick.  My wife was a Chinese National at the time, but now she has relinquished her Chinese Passport and is a UK passport holder.  Having been brought up in a Catholic family I was keen that our daughter and my wife develop a relationship with God, through our faith.  My wife spent about a year training with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) at the church and the journey for her has been as rewarding for her as it has been challenging for me.

There were many difficulties for us during the past three years, not least my in-laws passing away during the tight Covid restrictions, when travel into China was almost impossible.  So, we grieved for them here in Glasgow.  Father Canon McBride and Deacon Jim , along with the many friends we have made with the parish were a great comfort to us at mass and with their thoughts and prayers.  I miss them both, and am pleased my daughter got to see her Chinese Gran in the Hospital during the summer of 2019.  

Spring represents a time of renewal. Renewal of our souls, Lent is a special time when we have the chance to come closer in our faith and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  Our daughter will make her Sacrament of Reconciliation at the parish church and we have been working through a great set of materials used within the RC schools, at home.  

This opportunity for us to develop an understanding of how we can repent for our sins, excesses, etc comes to me almost 40 years after I made my first confession.  Things have changed since then, just as the world we shape has moved on since "I was a lad'.  However, a great sign of encouragement that our daughter is the real thing came by the way of a chat we had following her return to school after the Christmas/New Year school break. We had previously discussed the ideas around war and although only 11 is an incredibly reflective wee girl,.

Her school has some sort of relationship with the Army, indeed it is not uncommon to see the head teacher of the Primary school walking around in some sort of military fatigue.

My daughter only started at this school in August last year.  Naturally, changing school for an eleven year old is a daunting experience, I know that she will have to make curriculum choices, and that could include joining many of her classmates in the cadet training session at the school.  The hope for our future lies in what she said to me....
"Dad, I've been thing about that military training next year at the school.  I don't wat to do it."

She then went on to explain why she would rather opt out or choose another PE type activity.  Her reasons came from our early and formative discussions and readings.  I read The Morning Star and there are always copies of it lying around the flat.  A couple of my friends, both now retired teachers said, in all seriousness.... "Michael, that's indoctrination to [make] a young 4-year-old read a newspaper who's stated aim is ‘For Peace and Socialism'”.

When she told me the reasons why she didn't want anything to do with the military cadet program, I could see that she had formed her own reasons.  I suspect a combination of things were at play, The Morning Star editorials, trips with her dad to the Union office at work, standing with thousands of union members in George Square following another lengthy period of industrial action.  Attending May Day rallies etc.  But I also thing God's love is at play.  She seemed to think that this type of education is not really what God wants us to do,  plus she has swimming clubs which she really loves..

I will attend the Faslane Nuclear Submarine base this weekend for a vigil with fellow Catholic Workers and those living in the Peace Camp.  As I get ready to go, I pray that my daughter’s conviction for peace and progress continues to flourish.

Now let's get this Reconciliation workbook done.

Mike McShane