Last Sunday's discussion of the last three of our UU principles was quite wide ranging.
Since both "the right of conscience" and "peace liberty and justice" for all were part of the Principles we discussed, our conversation began with many of our children's seemingly innate sense of fairness. "That's not fair" tends to come our of the mouths of all our children. It may begin when they personally feel the injustice, but it seems to be something that is quickly recognized when the injustice is occurring to others. We talked about how when our children are young, the issues seem clear cut to them -- there is a right way and a wrong way. They often have a hard time seeing nuances and what we call the gray areas. Having conversations with our children can be one way for them to work through these issues of injustice first in themselves and then as a way to help them figure out what actions are appropriate. We recognize that our children are often drawn to issues of injustice in their schools, and in the news. We talked about wanting to teach our children both courage to stand up for what they think is right, and also want to teach them how to be tactful and respectful as they do address the issues.
We discussed answering our children's questions. We want to give them answers without imposing "the" answer. We talked about asking them questions to figure out what they think or believe before we jump in with our answers. We also talked about the fact that it is OK to let your children know that we may not have all the answers all the time. We discussed that part of our Unitarian Universalism is a understanding that the answers are not always within our ability to know and that some may never be. We can teach them to both live with uncertainty, and also with hope and faith even when we do not have the answers. We talked some about religions that say they have all the answers and how we need to help our children know that while we may not agree, that faith stance may be right for that person. We need to help our children respect the beliefs of others even when our's is different.
In sharing we talked about how our own backgrounds of social justice stands and political action teach our children about what we believe is important. They learn from our pasts. There was also a discussion about the idea that when we let our children know our stands on social issues, and how we might have struggled to get there, or when they see us standing up for "the other" is public, it gives them the knowledge that they can share their beliefs and issues with us because they know we will understand. Some of this conversation centered on the parents of teens in our group. We need to recognize that there are developmental differences in our children. Our very young children need to learn from you about what is right or fair, but as our children grow older they can see your struggles in dealing with issues as models for how they can assess the world around them.
We ended our discussion by talking about how many of our children are divorced from the natural world by the culture in which we live. Few of our children understand where food comes from, or have seen animals in the wild. We talked of the value of being in the natural world, and also of growing our own food. The sense of interdependence that grows from such interactions is soul enriching in ways the human-made world often is not. We also talked about our interdependence with other people and about how our children need to learn to live in community and to recognize that we are a part of something -- not alone on our own. Recognizing that interdependence and learning to live as a contributing member to the community is oslo part of honoring the Interdependent Web.
Please feel free to share your ideas and tought by clicking the comment link. I will post the questions for the final session of our book discussion next week.
Posted on Sat, August 21, 2010
by Liz Jones filed under