School Opening Exercises: Your Memories

by Nosferatu 10 Replies latest jw friends

  • Nosferatu

    Last night, I put up a new blog entry about Opening Exercises in schools. Incidently, I have an actual recording that was used in a school. (You can listen to it here: and feel free to rise for them too!). I think it's kindof ironic that as a former JW, I actually have a recording of this (which I obtained when I was still a JW).

    In High School, we were sent to a 'special room' where all banished JWs go so they can sit through the opening exercises. Everyone in the class wondered why I came in late each day.

    When I was in Grade 10, before I switched schools, I was going through my doubting period. Occasionally, I'd stay in class for the opening exercises. I think the teacher knew I was going through this and seemed to be really cool with my indecision of whether I would stay in class or go to the JW Jail.

    When I switched schools, I made the decision to NEVER leave the class for the opening exercises again. I remember the first time I did so. It was a weird feeling, but yet a feeling of excitement, moving onto a new path of life.

    Do any of you have specific memories about opening exercises in school?

  • dogisgod

    I just remember sitting on a chair outside the class room with the door closed when all the parties (birthday, xmas, easter etc) feeling like a total outcast. It felt like I was being punished.

  • no more kool aid
    no more kool aid

    Hi Nosferatu, are the opening exercises like our flag salute here in the states? If so, yes I remember it so vividly. I always dreaded the beginning of the school year. Would I have an understanding teacher or not ? What was even worse was at a ball game or at a school assembly you had to sit during the national anthem, then you really stick out like a sore thumb. You kind of forget about it but then when you go to school with your child for an event and it catches you off guard when the pledge starts, you realize what you are putting them through all over again. It was so nice to not have to run up to the school this year and explain a bunch a beliefs, like birthdays, to the teachers. We are kind of just taking on things one at a time right now and talking about it as a family. Don't think I'll ever be a big Halloween celebrater, some habits die hard.

  • yknot

    We stood up as a show of respect for anything patriotic.

    For all the other monthly activites my mom let us stay home or I went to the library. My sister wasn't so lucky, she always got the teachers that made her sit outside by the door. Sometimes my teachers would either give me work to do while the activity was ongoing or they just forgot about me and I would spend all day reading books I liked, assisting the librarian or playing math games in the computer lab. I love it too!

    Any & all fuss was met with Hayden style constitutional law quotes.... by 3rd grade the principle and vice principle would just let everything slide the minute a JW kid mentioned my name... they too were off to the library....well most of the boys skipped the library and went to the playground.

    I visited our public school the other morning when they started the drill. Now most of my peers work for the school. I stood silently just as I did back in grade school..... the girls and I laughed afterwards because it was just like 2nd grade all over again.

    I guess I will never understand the need for such a ritual....

  • jaguarbass

    I dont remember anything called opening exercises here in the States.

    But I do remember in grade school being sent to the principals office when the class would celebrate the holidays, Xmass, easter, valentines, thanksgiving, halloween.

    It was a wonderful experience. Really made me feel like I belonged.

  • Mary

    I have various memories of Opening Exercises......When I was in Elementary School, it consisted of O Canada, God Save the Queen and a bible reading each morning. My parents had given me the standard note to give to the teacher which I wanted to "lose", but my older sisters had had the same teacher and she knew I was a Witless so I had no choice but to feel humiliated each morning having to stand outside the door. The one funny side note is that in Grade 3 or 4 (can't remember which), me and another Dub were in the same classroom so every morning we got to go down in the basement and play. It was an old school and all the art supplies were kept down there. A few mornings, we'd get the powdered paint out, mix it with some water and try painting the spiders legs as they ran across the floor. LOL!!

    A few times I "forgot" to give the music teacher the note from my mom excusing me from the Christmas celebrations. So instead of feeling like a freak, I got to sit there in class and sing Christmas carols with the rest of my classmates, exchange Xmas cards, decorate the tree and open gifts. I remember the wonderful feeling of being like everyone else the first time I did that---I think it was in Grade 5.

    I got lectured when I asked why Witnesses are allowed to stand up in respect for the judge in a courtroom, but they're not allowed to stand up to show respect for their country when the National Anthem is played.

  • dottie

    Grade Four...will never forget...worst year burnt into my brain. Mom went in to meet with my teacher on the first day. They had their little discussion and it was decided that I would go to the Library in the morning. (or for any other holiday type activities.) I would spend the time in the morning helping the librarian put books away, organizing titles and such. I put up with the usual interrogations from my fellow students about my daily disappearance act all year long.

    SO, finally the end of the year rolls around. There are 2 school assemblies, one for academic acheivement and one for sports/extra-curricular acheivement. Well the "wonderful" librarian decided that he would be nice and reward me for " all my great help EVERY MORNING DURING THE OPENING EXERCISES!" So I got to go up in front of the entire school and accept my crappy certificate. To top it off I am the only jw in the whole school, and I am painfully shy. I wanted to die. I knew that he was just trying to be nice, but I was so upset and humiliated, all at the age of nine.

    All I can say is, after that year, when mom asked if I wanted her to talk to the teacher on the first day, or send a note, I took the note. I never gave it to the teacher, and I just stayed in class and stood up for the anthem and Lord's Prayer.

    I will never subject my kids to that. Ever.

  • hot mama
    hot mama

    I always hated standing out as different in school. I admit I put my kids through it and hope they forgive me. I'll never understand how I could have been so stupid. My grandchildren will never have to go through that. Thank goodness they woke up to the stupidity of it all.

  • wannaexit

    Opening were exercises were a nightmare for me. I always had this knot in my stomach. To this day when I think about it I feel sick .

    The worst was the school had an assembly and the anthem was played and I was the only one sitting on the floor.

    What this cult does to children is a disgrace.

  • Scarred for life
    Scarred for life
    What this cult does to children is a disgrace.

    So true. This thread is bringing back so many horrible memories. I can't believe my parents did this to me! What were they thinking? Did they think this was a good thing?

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