I often get questions from parents about what to do about their children who are resisting coming to UCS on Sunday mornings or generally participating in church related activities. I usually just listen, and then urge them to “honor the resistance.”
Our history is bound to resisters – from Michael Servetus who died for his beliefs, to John Murray and Emerson – we come from a long line of people who have fought against the mainstream thinking of the day. It would be more than ironic if we were unable to honor the resisters living in our midst.
But what does “honoring” really mean? In a real and practical sense, to me it means first listening. Then it means not denying or negating, but affirming, and finally, inviting our children to be the agents of their own need to change. Instead of saying, “What do you mean you don’t like RE! Of course you like it! It’s fun!” one could try, “I hear that you don’t like it. What don’t you like about it?” and then, here’s the most important thing you can say – “What are you going to do about it?”
Ours is a culture where we as parents “fix” things for our children. They look to us to change their environments and make them better. Instead, if we give them direction and allow them to know what is acceptable (not going to church is only an option if an hour is spent on something related to spirituality) they may discover new things and experiences which they might never had if you’d allowed them the option of not participating. Its not going to be easy, but its worth it for the hope that our children will learn to be the change they want to see in the world.
We do not know if a Thoreau or Olympia Brown or Clara Barton is hidden among our children. If we don’t allow our children to voice and experience with them their resistance, we will never find out.
RE Marched in NYC! On November 21, 11 RE families – 15 children marched with one or both of their parents for climate change! Hooray to all those who walked in solidarity for climate change! A perfect example of working for change.