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Youth and Children

Apr. 2017 DRE News

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.  As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme.” This has since been paraphrased as, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” This concept speaks to the worship theme this month at ERUUF: transformation. 

This quote is a call for self-transformation, and it advises personal transformation as the avenue for transformation of the world. This concept halts blame or judgment of others, and it empowers us to take action within our own selves, one of few things over which we have any control. In Religious Education, we begin with ourselves. We put faith into personal transformation, trusting this will lead to the transformation we wish to see in the wider world. 

Teaching R.E. is a venue for both personal and shared transformation. Teachers practice personal reflection and growth through curriculum preparation and through “live” teaching. Most curriculum begins with “Spiritual Preparation”, reflective exercises which deepen our sense of self and our place in the world. These spiritual preparation exercises can lead to gradual or sudden changes within oneself and how we see our lives. This, in turn, translates through teaching. Our personal transformation is a gift to the children and youth in care. They feel it, experience it, and transform because of it. 

Dr. Barry Andrews, a Minister of Religious Education for over twenty years writes, “What is important in religious education is not how much you know about children, teaching or even Unitarian Universalism, but how much you are willing to give of yourself, of your soul... The essential qualities of a good church schoolteacher are a love of children, a sense of wonder about life, empathy and the ability to listen, and a willingness more to share who you are than what you know. Above all, teachers are mentors and companions of the children as they undertake their religious journeys in life.” 

Our children and youth need mentors and companions on their life journeys. Do you remember, what adults impacted you as a child? Who transformed your sense of self, and how did they do it? We need adults willing to transform and be transformed by children at ERUUF. We need adults to share their wonder about life, their empathy, and listening.  Children need this and adults need this. We all need all ages in our lives, all through our lives. 

Teaching R.E. a spiritual practice in which we share our transforming selves with the world, and the world feels it. If you are interested in becoming a Religious Education teacher next year, please let me or a member of the R.E. Ministry Team know. 

Come transform yourself and the world through Religious Education,

Julia