I know I promised this last week, but life got busy and I came down with a horrible cold. I am slowly getting better and hope to be fully recovered by Christmas (at least I better be!).
I feel that our Chalica week went great. I had a couple of goals for it: 1. Have a greater appreciation and understanding of Unitarian Universalism 2. Encourage the kids (and us) to really start to think about our own spirituality and how that fits into UU. It was also important to me that it not be a gift getting holiday but one of giving of ourselves to others.
To me, these were goals were met. We centered our discussions around dinner time and I was impressed with where our conversations led. I could tell the kids were really processing what we were saying and how that effects our lives. If anything, next year I will work on having more open ended questions for us to think about as a family. I like the Spirit (Godly) Play model of wondering questions and probably will work off of those. I also want to be a little more creative in the 'helping others' aspect of it.
The kids really liked the ritual aspects. We lit one candle every night and I then did a reading. One night I had lit the candle, but was a little slow in getting to the reading. Youngest quickly reminded me to read "out of the book". I loved that they were seeing the importance of each step.
I say the following with all due respect to the hard work our religious education departments do. I have taught Sunday School for many, many years and am the RE Chair at our church. But, I feel UU continues to struggle on how to find a comprehensive and effective way to teach what it means to be a UU. This has more to do with the non-dogmatic approach to religion then any sort of lacking in RE departments. Thus, I feel it is VERY important for parents to talk about UU in the home. RE can only do so much. Children are looking to their parents for guidance and clarification. I felt Chalica really inspired great discussions in this area. It also demonstrated to our kids that Husband and I don't have it all figured out and that is ok. It is ok for them to feel out different paths until they find the one the speaks to them.
What would I like to change about Chalica? I am not 100% sold on the name, but I also don't have any better suggestions. I am also not so sure on the timing. With all the things going on in the holiday season, it is easy to brush it off as just "one more thing." I don't think it should be considered that and maybe a January time would be better. A great way to start the year off with a solid reflection on who we are and where we are going.
Finally, I would love for more UUs to be celebrating this. How awesome would it be to have all families have these wonderful discussion and renewing their commitment to UU? Can you imagine all the UUs out in the community at one time helping others? I hope that is the future and I will continue to work for it.