Simple Pleasures for the Holidays: A Treasury of Stories and Suggestions for Creating Meaningful Celebrations by
Well, there’s bad news and there’s sad news, and they are not hard to find. But for my fellow parents – of kids at any age – who are having trouble finding words like “great job parenting! This takes grace and self-love and forgiveness,” here’s what I’ve been reading that feels good to share.
Because every kid needs a storybook about themselves. Because every child who cannot hide their non-privileged status deserves protection.
In my first week as the UUCUV’s Director of Religious Education, I learned from two different families about the anxiety therapies of their elementary-school-aged children.
I made a promise then, eighteen years ago, that I would honor our faith tradition, steward the congregation, educate the parents… but I’m here to serve the kids. This is a region with the weirdest combination of social pressures on children – educational overachievement hand-in-hand with Yankee reticence to articulate emotions, in an age of social media telling preteens they must give up their treasure, freedom, and franchise to even try to be “good enough”.
I’m still holding my ground when met with “My child says all they did in RE today was make pictures out of clouds.” Yep. They did. And they got outdoors, spent time with a well-educated young woman with the grit to run marathons, stayed in covenant, faced possible tick-borne diseases with education and calm preparedness. They took turns with the responsibility of carrying the first aid kit, the fussed and argued and made up and had fun being at church. They learned – again, because hearing about something once is not learning: being, doing, and experiencing over and over for a year is learning – that this is their place, as they are. Safe. And that they are also the stewards of our community.
Sorry about the rant. It happens. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been reading this week. I would add to the author’s list: every four year old should have the skill of self-control – and that’s something to begin learning in babyhood, via appropriate baby steps. Pull me aside for a chat anytime –
Some are familiar to me, some are new – how many have you read?
Great article – and I agree. The most rewarding parts of my work include taking kids outdoors, wondering, building, accepting, modeling kindness, coaching courtesy, building ethics skills through conversation and “what if?”. We bring kids into their whole bodyminds and give them some relief from school.
I try to keep learning all the time about different ways that people get through life, different ways that the kids and teens in our program can be. Here’s an article I read lately that I found of interest about high-functioning depression. The site is a little advertisement-heavy, you’ll need to click “continue reading” after a few paragraphs.
Our UUA regional staff plan lots of learning opportunities for congregational leadership. Check here for events on finances, race, safety, theology, lay pastoral care, and OWL trainings.
If you are thinking of attending one of these, see if other UUCUV folks would like to join you!
Nikko the Therapy Dog will be joining the Spirit Play class this week. He’s a big, calm bundle of non-anxiety who is great at grounding the energy of a room and giving kids a special someone to talk with.
He is joining the class to give the kids a glimpse of how OK it is to have a therapeutic relationship in your life, to embody our acceptance of all beings, and to check out the Spirit Play classroom.
His handlers Mary and Mindy will be there with him – I hope you give their whole family a kind welcome.
We’ll watch a reply of last week’s PBS documentary by Ken Burns – Martha and Waitstill Sharp – Unitarian heroes of 1939. The film is almost two hours, so we’ll begin at 6:30 and perhaps have time for discussion following.
Join an American couple’s courageous mission in 1939 to help refugees escape Nazi-occupied Europe. Over the course of two years, the pair will risk their lives so that hundreds can live in freedom. A new film by Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky.