Lifespan Religious Education
All Souls Unitarian Universalist religious education
nurtures liberal religious discovery and the spiritual development of children, youth, and adults.
Religious Education News from Perry Montrose,
Director of Faith Formation
“Raising children has become significantly more time-consuming and expensive, amid a sense that opportunity has grown more elusive,” Claire Cain Miller writes in the New York Times article “The Relentlessness of Modern Parenting.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/25/upshot/the-relentlessness-of-modern-parenting.html) Miller speaks about the modern way of parenting referred to as “intensive parenting.” It is as demanding on parents as it is on children, at a time when we often feel the lack of a significant support sys-tem. Congregational connections can give us that support and help us navigate the pressures to “get it right” for our children.
Music lessons, sports of all types during all seasons, enrichment classes, tutors, trips, behavior specialists, restricted diets, massive amounts of homework, structured play, and long work days are some of the modern norms of parenting that keep families constantly on the move and feeling overwhelmed. Miller explains that we do it all because we want the best for our children and being a good parent is providing all the accoutrements that create opportunities for success in a world that feels economically challenging.
The debate about whether intensive parenting actually benefits our children is ongoing and there is research, as well as parent movements, that push back and say free time outdoors, creative play, mindfulness, and a focus on emotional nurturing without a constant watchfulness may serve us better. However, everyone is affected by the new way of intense parenting, whether they subscribe to it or not. It surrounds us and our lives are inundated with its feelings, augmented by our own longer work days and life demands. Studies show that women working full-time jobs are spending as much time, if not more, on rearing children as previous generations.
I posted Miller’s article in the All Souls RE Families Facebook Group and asked:
Is your family affected by the culture of "intense parenting"?
Do you subscribe to this model or feel caught in it?
How does it affect your children positively or negatively?
How does it impact your stress and anxiety?
Would you like to have a parent group to discuss this topic and share strategies for parenting in these times?
I wonder about the answers for your family and stresses you face, regardless of parenting models and cultural trends that can apply pressures. It is important to understand the context in which we are living out our daily existence, but most important is how we are responding to the challenges that enter our lives and the support that surrounds us. All Souls is a place that we can authentically bring the fullness of our lives to the table and share the abundance, as well as the places that need some tending. I want to know what is most pressing for you in that regard and what would further the sense of supportive community without adding more over-whelm. Our Faith Formation ministry can be a conduit for family support and connection. Please reach out just to let me know what is alive for you and your family as you navigate the complexities of simply living well.
February 03: Faith Formation classes, 9:30; Youth Group, 11:15 a.m.
February 10: Faith Formation classes, 9:30; Youth Group, 11:15 a.m.
February 17: Music Sunday! One service at 10 a.m. Children & youth will sing
February 24: Faith Formation classes, 9:30; Youth Group, 11:15 a.m.
Becky Noreen for helping to lead our 5th-6th grade class in protest music.
Eileen Ego and Denise Davies for chaperoning our 7th-8th grade class field trip to the Connecticut Valley Hindu Temple Society in Middletown.
Katie Heard for substitute teaching in our 1st-2nd grade class.
Nancy Miller for joining our 3rd-4th grade teaching team. Welcome aboard Nancy!
Melanie and Sean Elliott for donating a fantastic button maker.