Growing UU – Reflections of a Sole/Soul Parent – Part 1

Since moving to Central Maine, I have been mourning the loss of vibrant RE programs offered to my young child in our former home congregations in Massachusetts and California.
Anyone who knows us knows that anything resembling formal RE occurs here in our home.  There is no real UU congregation nearby; there are no UU families with young children who live nearby.  So we end up hosting all manner of faith-based offerings here at Twinkle’s Place.
The congregation we attend most regularly on Sundays is an hour drive and often he is the only child – or one of less than a handful who sometimes attend.  There are wonderful adults there who will take time to “watch” and “be” with our children should they wish to leave the service and “go downstairs.”  Yet there is not continuity in RE curriculum being offered to our youth of any age. I have been sad about that.  For both of us.
I love the idea of “it takes a village” to raise a child.
And am grateful when that village appears.
We were both so very grateful to have him be “adopted” by the Ellsworth congregation – an hour an a half from here – to be included in their overnight Youth Retreat!!! Such amazing fellowship for him with his peers.
UU Ellsworth Annual Mid-Maine DRE Cluster Group Overnight 2017
While I do feel it is important to inculcate our children with UU principles taught in formal RE settings.Kimberly Sweeney’s words in the article attached below do help shift my perspective towards being aware of the deep benefits of having him be present during the adult services and other multi-generational activities.
In my secular life it was easy to see that having him attend all manner of work projects,  board meetings and other adult-oriented social activities have served to instill in him a sense of comfort in social settings.
Orion at LexMedia TV Station while we are filming episodes for The Goddess Show
Lexmedia TV annual meeting 2016

And in conversing with others, including striking up conversations with children and adults alike without shyness or hesitation often seen in children his age.

And when I pause to consider Kimberly’s article, I realize that the same holds true for how he is rooted in our Faith, both as a result of FABULOUS RE Leaders and UU mentors,
because of his being immersed in the adult-oriented aspects of our faith, including attending and participating in services, committee meetings, planning sessions and social justice work.  He truly is the epitome of Growing UU!
Volusia Peace Center’s 2009 MLK Jr. Peace March in New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Orion representing UU Youth at the Statehouse in Augusta, Maine 2015
And his immersion in our UU Faith combined with his outgoing nature and his Trust in our UU Family has opened up doors for him to Shine in ways he loves:
Discovering our picture in UU World as part of Sanctuary Boston on stage at UUAGA 2014
Orion lighting the chalice when we visited Live Oak UU in Goleta, Santa Barbara
And his being able to spend time with, and get to know in ways not many children his age have access to, some of the most amazing leaders we have in our UU Faith!
Talk about UU Youth Faith Formation:
Orion at Ferry Beach Summer 2016 w/ Jessie Washington, Pat Humphries, Sandy O & his Mom – Twinkle!
Orion with Starhawk, Thoreau’s Cabin at Walden Pond, Concord, MA Summer 2014
Orion with Starhawk Summer 2014
And, for me as sole parent to this amazing being, it is good to pause and know that the Journey we are on together, in life and in Faith, is worthwhile.
The skills he learns will serve him his whole life.
Orion meditation practice age 5
And we can both rest easier because of it.
Orion UUAGA 2014, Providence Rhode Island