Dear Beautiful UUI Families,
I am continuously amazed at the wonderful parents we have in our congregation. Sometimes I see you all parenting and wish I could get in a time machine and go back and do some of the awesome things with my kids you are doing with your kids and most especially, parent the way you are parenting. I see you being conscious and considerate and loving parents. I see you out there! Even when I know it's sometimes hard and lonely and some days it might just seem relentless. :)
So, a couple of things. I want to remind you, again, that you're not alone. You have a village at your church. So come to church as often as you can to strengthen those bonds and fellowship with like-minded parents who are parenting UU kids. They are going through the same things you are. This is a gift for you and for the other parents of the congregation!
The other idea I want to share with you is as Unitarian Universalists, it's ok to set an expectation as a family that the family goes to church. Yes, it is!
This is so important! It is important self care and it's important to teach our children and youth!
We expect and encourage our kids to join extracurricular activities as a means to be active, to be well-rounded individuals, to learn how to work with others, to gain social skills, and for so many other great reasons. I'm going to suggest to you that bringing children and youth to church and expecting them and encouraging them to attend and making it a priority in their lives is equally important as signing up for a team or play or orchestra and making sure they are there for all the practices, games and performances.
It's ok to set an expectation that family goes to church. It's important to teach children and youth to tend to their spiritual lives, by example and by expectation. Ours is a faith tradition that doesn't dictate to anyone how they will believe and who they can love. One of my favorite UU quotes is by another DRE, Andrea Lerner, "Our faith is not interested in saving your soul--we're here to help you unfold the awesome soul you already have." Whatever soul means to you, we are here to help you do this. UUI is a faith community who needs you! We have dedicated teachers and youth advisers who are lovingly giving their time to each week to our kids. Our congregation has consistently identified children and youth RE worthy of funding as a major ministry of the church. Participating in RE is an act of Social Justice, and in doing so you're helping save the world.
Can you tell I'm passionate about this? I am! As a parent you have approximately 936 weeks from the day a child is born until they graduate from high school. This means we have approximately 234 Sundays together. Our mission for our RE Program is to help our children grow into adults who are confident, happy, kind, brave, compassionate, peaceful, spiritually resilient, joyful, loving, accepting and justice-minded, who are critical thinkers, who embrace anti-racism/anti-oppression practices, who are comfortable in their body and with their sexuality, conversant in other religious traditions and have a strong Unitarian Universalist identity. That's a lot and it's all so important! We can do this together, friends.
Today in RE:
Preschoolers are reading a story about taking care of the earth and playing a game.
K-5th Graders are doing another fun Spirit Jam with the theme of 7th Principle, "We believe in caring for our planet Earth, the home we share with all living things." We'll be decorating a bat house to hang on the UUI campus and starting a crayon mosaic out of used and broken crayons that will be an all-church art project!
6th - 8th Graders will continue learning about Judaism. They will discuss their trip to Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation and discuss the Jewish concept of life after death and Jewish burial rituals.
Our Senior High Youth will be staying in the service (some youth will be participating!) to hear today's sermon about afrofuturism. Part of the sermon will be about the movie, Black Panther, which the class watched together on Popcorn Movie Day.
I'm looking forward to seeing you!
Peace and Love,
Director of Lifespan Religious Education