Monday, November 26, 2007

Never too Young, Never too Old

My congregation has a wonderful program that pairs sixth graders with an adult mentor. It is a year long program where we meet during Sunday classes and jointly discuss various spiritual topics. Twice during the year we work on a service project. It is a great intergenerational experience that helps the youth connect to more people in the congregation and adults to better understand the youth. I have been fortunate enough to participate in this program for the last three years. Most adults who nervously agree to do this, end the year learning a lot more about their own beliefs and are thoroughly impressed by how much eleven year olds have thought about their own spirituality.

This past Sunday we did an exercise where we stood in the middle of the room and then were asked a question. If you strongly agreed, you moved to the right. Strongly disagree, move to the left. What a visual way to see the vast differences of beliefs in the room. At no point, was everyone in one area. I really felt our UU values in practice. There is no right answer to any of the questions asked - only your beliefs, reached through your own thoughts/study. It is very hard to find many religions where there could be such a diversity of beliefs, yet we still feel connected as a community. After each question and realignment we would have a discussion. It was fascinating to see how people absorbed each others reasoning and maybe readjusted/rethought our beliefs as we reflected on what others said. I found it very important for the youth to realize that even as adults, we are open to experiences and how they may shape our spiritual lives. I hope you never stop looking for your path.

(On a personal note - I am very excited that I will be starting to work part-time in my youngest's Montessori classroom. I don't know how it will work, but I really believe in Montessori education and am excited for the opportunity.)


Shelby Meyerhoff said...

It is important to have adult-children mentorship programs in congregations, and especially programs that explore religious issues (like diversity of belief).

I've played the "Power Shuffle" game that you are describing here in groups of all adults, and all teens, as well as intergenerational groups, and it seems to work well in all of those contexts.

debra said...

I have always loved having my children work with adults. So much wisdom to share. My kids are lucky to live over the stream and through the woods (really) from their grandparents.