When I told my 5-year-old daughter that the majority of people on earth practice some form of religion, tears welled up in her eyes. It didn’t make sense to her; she couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that so many others had religious beliefs.
Exactly why this was so surprising was a mystery to me — by age 5, she had lived on three continents. She knew people came in many varieties, but she believed we were all the same inside, which in her logic meant everyone would share similar understandings.
After so many years abroad, Ryan and I were ready to stop moving for a bit, ready to find a community. It was suddenly clear that we needed to introduce a religious education, so that Beatrix could begin to understand the world’s spiritual diversity. I grew up happily attending mainstream Protestant services; Ryan had never been involved in a religious community. We started looking around for a church we could attend as a family.
But here’s the thing: not many places are open to dealing with a smart, opinionated young girl. And Beatrix is very opinionated. There is a pretty good chance the entire congregation is going to hear her opinion each week during Time for All Ages (despite our frequent reminders to make sure every kid has a chance to talk). UUCC was the first place we attended where I got the feeling that it would be ok for my kid to be herself.
We have been attending UUCC for about a year and a half. My child, the one who cried at the idea of organized religion, eagerly races into the building each Sunday. Inside, she is wholeheartedly embraced by the RE staff and teachers, OWL instructors, pageant leaders and cast members, and our ministers. They meet her where she is, encouraging her to learn about the world and to be her best self. At UUCC, curiosity and questions are stimulated, independence and opinions welcomed. Together, we are raising a generation of bold and wise new leaders. I am proud to be a part of this community. icon-fire