This morning started out like any other morning. My 10-year-old was making her own breakfast, while my nine-year old was deep in thought over a plate of pancakes. I was taking a moment to sip my coffee. There is no telling what the topic of conversation will be over breakfast. It typically depends on whatever was deep in the subconscious of one of my daughters’ minds during the night.
Wait for it…
“Mom? Is Unitarian Universalism a real religion?” asked my 9-year-old.
Hmmm. Didn’t see that one coming.
“Yes. It’s a real religion. Why do you ask?” I replied and took a few another sip (or 5) of coffee.
“Well, when I had a sleepover with *Lexi* this summer, her mom asked me if Unitarian Universalism was a real religion or just something weird since she had never heard of it. She wanted to know if it was Christian.”
Instead of launching into our principles and sources at 6:30 am, I reiterated that we do have a real religion, and that many UUs are Christian, and you don’t need to be either Catholic or Jewish to have a “real religion.”
She took a few more bites (which may or may not have given me time to refill my cup of coffee).
“But Mom? I feel bad for my friends who go to [name of conservative Christian] Church. They bring coloring books into the service because it is SOOOOO boring. They don’t even know what’s going on because it’s SOOOOO boring. If they went to a UU Church, they wouldn’t have to color because it’s so much fun, and you can understand what’s going on.”
Her sister agreed with her and thought that everyone should know about Unitarian Universalism because we don’t see all of the other religions as bad or weird. I was once again struck by how isolating being a UU kid can be.
And within seconds we were on to another subject.
On my drive to the office, I started to replay our conversation in my mind. Being raised in another faith (and bringing my own books to Church on Sunday morning), I could appreciate my daughter’s observation about attending mass in another Church and her own Sunday morning Worship experiences at our UU congregation. Here she was, in her own way, articulating one of the great benefits of being part of an intentionally multigenerational congregation. Our home congregation really strives to be inclusive and aware of its multiage audience on Sunday mornings. For this reason, Sunday morning Worship belongs to my daughter as much as it does to me, or the grandparent sitting next to us, or the teenagers in the front, and everyone else in between. She feels that the message is for her, not above her. She feels called to sing along with the hymns as they are familiar to her. She feels valued and invited to be there.
Her experience highlights Multigenerational Ministry at its best.