And How Are the Children?
Among the many fabled and accomplished tribes of Africa, no tribe was considered to have warriors more fearsome or more intelligent than the mighty Masai. It’s surprising, then, to learn the traditional greeting passed among the Masai warriors; “Casserian Engeri,” one would always say to each other. And what it meant was, “And how are the children?”
It is still the traditional greeting of the Masai, acknowledging the high value the Masai placed on the children’s well being. Even warriors with no children of their own would always give the traditional answer, “All the children are well.” This meant, of course, that peace and safety prevail; the priorities of protecting the young and the powerless are in place; that the Masai people had not forgotten their reason for being, their proper function, and their responsibilities. “All the children are well” means life is good.
Every day I address this question, when choosing curricula, when recruiting volunteer teachers and when planning special activities. I try to insure that the children will be well. Every year there are dreams of engaging the children with the congregation in some meaningful way and this year is no exception. After six years in this position, I am still so motivated to “get this party started”! What another wonderful year it is going to be! We are going to be the church that says YES! We all could use some new energy, a chance to try new things. If you have ideas and would like to make them a reality, then get involved, initiate something, tell somebody, get something started and for goodness sake, include the children and youth.
Children and youth who are brought to church on a regular basis get the opportunity to fully experience community as well as continuity in the classrooms. The curricula from the UUA is intentional and meaningful, each lesson builds upon the other, each Sunday represents an important puzzle piece which develops into a big picture that could positively affect a student’s beliefs by the end of the school year.
There are plans for meaningful multi-generational services, one of which we already experienced with Water Communion. We will be offering the “Our Whole Lives” sexuality education program for our 8th and 9th grade students this year and are so fortunate to have certified and motivated facilitators, Shelly Nicholson and John Freese, with back-up provided by Pat Kerin as needed.
This year we will also offer our Joyful Journey program to our 4th and 5th graders, culminating in a special service near the end of the season, with the children sharing their faith statements with the congregation.
There are ideas for pancake brunches, fun gatherings and joining with the community for a worthwhile cause or just to experience our religion in action. All these ideas require support, participation, enthusiasm, and most important, a desire to cultivate a multi-age community within our own walls.
We have strong, caring teaching teams for all levels of classes. This year we could use a couple more volunteers to act as substitutes for those volunteers who can’t give as much time as needed. Could this be YOU? Would you be one of the reasons why the “children are well”? Just say YES!