I am looking forward to our Full Church service this month on Feb. 8th. It is titled, “Blessed Are the Children.” Whether or not you have children of your own, I dare say that the majority, if not all of our lives, have been touched and blessed by a child or two that we chose to love. Another thing that we all have in common is that everyone is now or has once been a child. Childhood is such a unique season in life and so important in shaping the people we become. We can learn so much from children because they come naturally knowing so many important life lessons that we tend to forget, as we get older. Indeed, it sometimes feels like we spend all our adult years trying to get back what we had and were as children.
Some of the lessons that children have to offer, (aside from the practice of patience) are how to live spontaneously, how to be in the moment, how to ask questions and have an open mind, how to imagine and dream big, how to express feelings openly, how to value happiness and play and freely give love and trust. These things tend to come so naturally to kids and if you spend any length of time with them you benefit from the exposure.
Children are not just small adults. We know more now about their developmental stages than we did in the past. How we treat kids personally and as a society is a good measuring stick of our own health and the health of our culture. As a society we have not always done so well by our kids. There were laws in place to protect animals before there were laws to protect children. However, looking at the big picture, we can be grateful that the Universalists were one of the first churches to insist on the innocence of children in an age that believed that if babies died before baptism they would go straight to hell.
I had a happy childhood and some of my favorite memories of being young lie in the realm of imagination. As a child I had a severe speech impediment so I didn’t talk to anybody any more than I had to at school. At recess I always went to a certain corner blocked by the wind and imagined that I was the Queen of Venus. On Venus I had two children, Lena and John, and I was married to Donny Osmond –of all people. (My Uncle was one of his producers so I figured that made him sort of mine.) It was very exciting being the Queen of Venus because I was a good queen and that world was very real to me. I know this because once I lost the ring that I twisted on my finger in order to transport myself to Venus and I remember, acutely, how worried I was about the war and all that was going on in my absence. (Happy was the day that I found my ring and saved the planet.)
As an adult if I lived in such a fantasy land I would not be a healthy person but I believe that these childhood imaginings empowered me and gave me a positive sense of self in a world where I actually didn’t really fit and had little control. Many children imagine themselves to be Super Heroes and that serves the same purpose. Blessed are the children! Let’s celebrate the light that children and youth bring into all of our lives and look for ways to allow young people to be a bigger part of our lives if they aren’t already. I feel very blessed to get to work with the children of UUCB and I know I speak for the teachers as well in thanking the parents of our congregation for sharing them with us.