Recently, I experienced a morning that I will likely never forget. As the sun had just begun to shine through my curtains, I was awakened by the proud voice of my four-year-old belting out “We are Unitarian. We are Universalist. We have open minds; we have loving hearts.” I was such a proud mother, such a great Director of Religious Education…. Though I would love to take sole credit for my son’s morning serenade, I realize that he learned this song from his Chalice Children teachers.
I am often amazed that in the little time that our volunteer teachers are given with our children, around ten school days a year total, they are able to lay the foundations that lead to great spiritual development. That being recognized, if we want our children to dwell within a strong spiritual home, we as parents must help them to build their walls, roof and a room of their own. Role modeling and teaching Unitarian Universalist values at home as well as in our congregation is essential to helping our children with their spiritual house. Children often learn through experience, play and routine.
Recently, my family visited Sandy Hook for the first time. We spent the day hiking, biking, and learning about the history of the amazing sandy beaches. A few moments of quiet and time to connect to nature gave me a deeply spiritual sense of wonder and excitement. Logan, however, could have cared less about the beauty or the history of the beach. After all, there was sand, ocean, and endless room to run. What more could a four-year-old boy ask for? During my son’s time of pure happiness, he never stopped playing, until a set of animal footprints in the remaining snow caught his eye. He examined each footprint and posed the questions only a child could ask. These footprints were his moment of wonder. I witnessed my son relate many of our UU principles to his seemingly simple experience in wonder. “Why are animals different?”, “Do the bunnies have enough to eat”, “Why do people throw down their litter?”
With each question came an opportunity for me to teach our principles and values.
I believe that UUCMC offers a great religious education for children. I also believe that a child’s religious education should not be limited to Sunday mornings. The role of parents in their children’s spiritual development is critical. We have the challenges and responsibilities of passing on our Unitarian Universalist values such as love, respect, curiosity, freedom, responsibility, fairness, and kindness.
I am up for it, and I know you are, too!
Yours in faith,