Friday, February 26, 2010

New UU Parenting Blog!

There's a new blog on the block, one we've really needed for a long time. The blog is written by Michelle Richards, author of a new book about to be released "Tending the Flame: The Art of UU Parenting" and all time favorite in UU churches across the continent "Come Into the Circle".

I first met Michelle at the UUA General Assembly a few years ago. She was giving a workshop about leading worship with children. People kept asking for resources, and Michelle mentioned all kinds of good resources. Finally, I got up and said something like "OK, OK, all good stuff, but the very best resource is your book!"

Michelle is a humble and wise woman who has a great sense of the importance of faith in raising children. And she's my friend!

And oh my is this important stuff!

My children are mostly happy and usually healthy in great part due to my time in the pews and my contact with other parents who were like me. I remember one whole year of sitting in the same seat in church every Sunday, looking out a window, and crying during the hymns, crying during the sermon, crying from prelude to postlude because raising my young children felt like some kind of divine test that I was failing miserably. I knew that being spiritually present was the most important thing my children needed, and it was so so so so hard. I still cry when I hear the line "We laugh, we cry, we live, we die, we dance we sing our song" it takes me straight back to that sleepless time of giving. And that seat in my church.

Then there were the unschooling years with other homeschoolers at my church. Thank goodness for other people who were homeschooling and were like us.

And now I still find my people-in-parenting in church settings. I am usually the old parent around at the church I serve, with the oldest kids. But when I go to professional events, the talk always turns to family. Just last week a colleague told me "it'll be alright, your children will leave but you'll find a new normal" and she said they'll call asking how to boil water and that's when you know you've turned the corner.....they are not really calling to learn how to boil water, but to talk. To their mom.

Unitarian Universalist parenting is a gift, it means being mindful, intentional, it's hugely challenging and it's the best job ever. Ever!


Paul Oakley said...


Thanks for sharing this. I can't imagine what you parents with children still at home - especially young ones - have to deal with in the world as it is - even before factoring in concerns about inculcating free thought, respect for self and others, and all manner of UU values. My youngest is 28 and, after my divorce, I was not a custodial parent. New dangers or new delivery mechanisms for old dangers are constantly arising without any of the old issues being finally resolved. So I am all the more amazed by what contemporary parenting entails that wasn't part of what it was or needed to be in my experience...

Good parenting has always been both of paramount importance and rare. I am in awe of the parents I see in my church who are doing a good job of it.

So kudos to you and to other good parents. Humanity really needs all your unpaid work on behalf of the future.

BTW and unrelated, what did you think of "As It Is In Heaven"? :)

Kari said...

Oh Paul, I tried to watch "As it is in Heaven" while on the stairmaster, and gave up because I couldn't read the subtitles while bouncing up and down! It's still on my queue, and I will watch it, soon! I'll write a blog about it. :-)

Thanks for your kind words about the parents you know. It is a difficult time, but so worth it.