By Joanne Dingus
On Wednesday evenings throughout the month of August, Rev. Andrew Millard and I co-led a UU Parenting class. We used the curriculum, Being a UU Parent, created by Rev. David MacPherson and Rev. Makanah Morriss. Although the curriculum was published in 1991 the foundations of the program remain relevant today, and with a few tweaks, it provided a wonderful springboard for discussions. We added chalice lightings and updated resource lists.
We had 21 adults and 24 children participate. Not everyone was able to make it every week but we always had a good crowd. Participants included young families, older families, single parents, military families with one parent deployed and co-parenting couples.
We started each session with a meal. Andrew and I each provided one meal, and the rest of the meals were potluck style with a sign-up sheet so that no family had to contribute more than twice.
The children were cared for in the back RE space by Mari and Gracie Thompson, two of our teens. Some of the older children also pitched in to keep the large group of kids happy and safe.
The course began with a discussion on UU values we want to share with our children and ended with ways to live our beliefs. We talked about family life, ways to bring Unitarian Universalism into our homes and shared thoughts on ways to celebrate. Each class had time for theological exploration, ways to connect to UUism and a time for sharing and support.
The class work was varied and interesting, but the best part of the course seemed to me to be the connections made between parents and the building of a greater sense of community.
Rev. Millard and I believe that this course was very beneficial and hope that it will lead to other parent and family programs which might include, parent support groups, marriage support groups, Our Whole Lives classes, and the Parents as Spiritual Guides class.