Welcome to the Unitarian Universalist Parenting Blog
In the Northern Hemisphere, this time of year means fewer daylight hours. In the Midwest where I live, gray skies clouded by falling and blowing snow can make even the days seem dark. Our natural impulse is to slow down, seek warmth, and sleep more.
During the last weeks of our calendar year, however, slowing down rarely seems like an option. We’re given more time off to spend the holidays with family, yet we spin our wheels trying to make everything “perfect.” We can run ourselves ragged just when our bodies most need to step back ...<< MORE >>
Since our overtly materialistic culture not only emphasizes consumerism but also offers unrealistic expectations of ourselves and our families during the winter holidays through commercials, TV specials, and movies, many families can feel acute disappointment and anxiety. The holidays often intensify family pressures—and they can be even more difficult for Unitarian Universalist families if theological issues conflict with family traditions or needs.
If you are facing some of these issues, it may help to take a step back and focus on positive aspects of the winter holidays for yourself and your family. This may mean recreating ...<< MORE >>
Unitarian Universalist parents sometimes overlook one of the most important values in life, albeit unintentionally. This value is gratitude.
Like compassion, gratitude cannot be taught simply through words and ideas. It needs to be communicated through actions and deeds. We often fail to teach our children the importance of gratitude because we neglect to show them how grateful we are ourselves.
Some Unitarian Universalist parents, who do not believe in thanking a divine presence, avoid the practice of expressing thanks in graces, blessings or prayers. But we also often neglect to show how grateful ...<< MORE >>
One of the pressing questions often faced by Unitarian Universalist parents is: How do we teach our children, some of whom are growing up in relatively privileged homes, about the injustice of the world? How can we let them know that true justice goes beyond how bedtimes are determined and that compassion for others is at the heart of giving?
First and foremost, raising children in an anti-bias, anti-oppression home—one that acknowledges the realities of racism, the oppression of poverty, the danger of homophobia, and the error of making assumptions about ability—starts with the language we use ...<< MORE >>
In recent years, Halloween has come under attack from a diverse group of people, and for very different reasons. Some evangelical and fundamentalist Christians protest that Halloween celebrates Satan and all things evil. (See “Halloween’s Ritual Roots” for a better take on the holiday’s origins.) Meanwhile, a plethora of groups are expressing concerns that many Halloween costumes perpetuate negative stereotypes. As a result of all these controversies, many public schools and other institutions are refusing to hold Halloween parties, substituting them with what is known as “Fall Harvest” parties or ignoring the holiday all together. ...<< MORE >>
Death has touched our family again, for the fifth time in five years. You would think that we would be getting rather acclimated to the grieving process after having gone through so many losses in such a short time, but it is never easy.
This time there doesn’t seem to be as much soul-searching by my teenage daughter to understand why bad things happen; not as there was when, at age ten, her best friend was killed in a tragic accident. Now, after the death of her beloved but aging grandmother, she suffers from an abundance ...<< MORE >>
Despite our best intentions to raise freethinking children who understand there are many possibilities for religious truths, the reality is most of us live and function in a world which frowns upon nonconformity where religious ideas are concerned. Even as our country grows more and more religiously diverse each generation, distrust of atheism, agnosticism, and humanism remains the last bastion of intolerance because many people have the mistaken notion that nonbelievers have no sense of morality.
Even Unitarian Universalist families who have a traditional belief in God or consider themselves to be theists may face confusion ...<< MORE >>
Because so many of us Unitarian Universalist parents come from other religious traditions or were raised unchurched, it’s often much easier for us to definitively state what we do not believe than what we do believe. Even parents who were raised as Unitarian Universalists may struggle with this if their own parents neglected to pass on their beliefs and their faith in those terms.
However, expressing our theological beliefs to our children by explaining what we don’t believe is a bit like ordering a meal off of a restaurant menu by telling the waiter what you don’t ...<< MORE >>
A Reluctant Camper
For many years, I rejected anything to do with the camping experience. A semi-flooded tent during a teenage camping nightmare was enough to turn me off of the idea forever.
However, my husband persisted and, eventually, I relented. It was becoming clear to me that I was cheating my kids out of the full nature experience with ...<< MORE >>
Sexuality is so much more than just sex. It’s also the roles, behaviors, and values that people associate with the characteristics of being either male or female. For this reason, sexuality can be considered a basic part of our physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual lives. It is evident in the clothes we choose to wear, the activities we choose to engage in, the ways we show affection to others, and the persons we are sexually drawn toward. It is the identity we internalize and the image which we project to the world.
The most challenging aspect ...<< MORE >>