I vividly remember my first day of scripture in Year 1.
In the early 90s no-one skipped the class.
A cardigan-wearing lady armed with chocolates had us all sit up straight as she told us that if we didn't know Jesus we would end up in hell.
Alas, my family was not religious, and at six, I did not “know Jesus”.
I went home worried.
At bed time, I lay awake crying because I thought all of my family were going to die.
Unable to stand it, I ran out to my mum, and told her that we were in danger.
God love her (ha), my mum gave me a hug and explained that the scripture teacher was just reciting a story, and, like many bedtime stories, it wasn't necessarily true.
The next week at scripture, I did my bible reading and answered cardigan lady's questions in exchange for chocolates, treating the stories the same as any other fictitious tales.
In high school, my friends and I would goad the hapless man who taught us 'religion', arguing with his logic and treating it as a chance to muck up.
So, no one was more surprised than me when I picked Studies of Religion to make up an extra unit for my HSC. And I was especially stunned by how much I liked it.
We learnt about the similarities in the stories of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, points in history where religions clashed at war and how religious movements in Australia helped form laws.
Covering history, politics and philosophy, it was fascinating and, looking back, great preparation for a career in journalism.
With this in mind, it saddens me to read that Education Minister Rob Stokes won’t budge on rules which don’t allow kids not attending scripture to do other school work.
While I abhor opportunistic indoctrination of six-year-olds from one religious perspective, I see real value in comparative, objective lessons on religion.
If parents want to opt out – and ethics classes are not available at their school – surely kids should be able to spend that time learning meaningful things to prepare them for life outside school.