This past Sunday was our first official day at EHS (Ethical Humanist Society). I had been contemplating this for quite some time, and the kids and I had visited a few times last spring. We had intended to get there more often during the summer, but clearly did not happen. Then about a week or two ago I received this gentle nudge in the mail about the Golden Rule Sunday School starting up, and I let that sit on my desk for a bit. Just the words “Sunday school” get me all hyperventilating and in a tissy really. I don’t ever want to enforce a certain set of religious beliefs on my children, yet this seemed liked such a fabulous community in which I could feel supported in raising them to be ethical beings in all aspects of their lives. Yea… well that’s what I always saw from the outside and felt that’s what I would receive IF I could get my bum into that place on a regular basis! That would mean altering our “routine” and literally changing a massive part of who we are to commit to something much bigger than ourselves! The thought of waking early on a *Sunday* to go somewhere for *Sunday School* was just so overwhelming for me. It’s so insanely true when they say the power of words….
Anyway. Beyond me getting past that, I had met some of these really cool people and wanted to get to know them more. I wanted my kids to have friends outside of the home school community, but wanted them to GAIN from the relationships that they invested in their lives. So this felt really good….. on paper. It was the act of making it a reality that scared the crap out of me. SBJ still is not on board with us. He is a supporter from the sidelines right now. Not at all opposed to us going or participating. But I think he, too, senses that powerful phrase “Sunday School” a connotation he is not ready to digest himself. He is born a Muslim and wants nothing to do with straying from that. I whole-heartedly support that. But seeing as we agreed that we would educate the children of the religions of the world, that leaves us with nothing to cohesively adapt as a family baseline for ourselves.
There are several families out there that don’t follow any specific religion, and that’s fine. I too, don’t follow anything specific, and to sum up my beliefs in this simple little blog may become a series of boredom atop boredom. But I had just found, especially lately, that (a) we were really lagging in the sense of community or “tribe” department where we could say, “this here… this is community.” Don’t get me wrong, we have lots and lots of beautiful people in our lives. People I would never trade for anything, ever. But as much as I can say that whole-heartedly, I can also say that these people we know here….. those people we know there….. that person we know over there. It’s a diverse group we have amongst our lives, and cherish them all deeply. They don’t form “community”.
Lately (past year or two) I had been experiencing some real rough spots with my two oldest. Sometimes these rough bumps in the road would knock me down so hard I would not get back up without a good cry. And yes, I could reach out to “x” friend… or maybe “y” friend…. But more so as a shoulder to commiserate on. Not really to join hands and parent *together* with. If that makes any sense. I know I have supporters whom I could chat with, vent with, and even gain my own support with. But sometimes parents just need someone outside of themselves to be saying the same thing they already saying…. but coming from a different, respected person in that child’s life.
That’s sort of where I had ended up. Not only feeling like I was failing, but I had no chance of getting my point across with out a supporting team. Many of the ideals I read about with EHS resonate with me. I love the idea of other parents, who have taken the time to commit to this community as well, volunteer their time in the classroom with my kiddos and talk about such things as war, peace, ethics, human kindness…. To have them come home with wonderful new ideas to pondering around in their minds is magical to me really. It’s much of what I try to do with them, but sometimes that last sibling quarrel just gets me “just so” and I’m about to burst!
So, I had dug out that envelope on the desk and asked the kids if they would be interested in giving this a shot. They were so super eager it was really quite shocking to me. “Ok, well then, we have a potluck to go to this weekend so you can meet some of the families before Golden Rule starts!” (Yes, I really have to call it Golden Rule, or GR b/c the words Sunday School still…. still…. I just can’t get over it even now! ; )
So we make our way over, and honestly even on the way over I’m mulling over excuses not to go to this thing. It was a really huge step for me, and I felt like if we knock on that door, we are “in” and there is not turning back (at least for this session!). But the kids were very eager. They made friends so easily! It was so sweet, and I met some wonderful parents. We stayed later than the party ended, and they were eager to go to GR the next morning. Wow…. this felt so great!
Next day…. they each introduced themselves in a LARGE circle of people, most of whom they did not know. They each went into their very own classes and worked on similar projects, but very unique discussions in each classroom! M even went into the baby room for about 45 minutes with the lovely, lovely woman watching her and another little girl there! I was able to sit in on a very intriguing discussion about the process of aging, and research on how it is viably possible to slow it down. (Not alter it, or find the fountain of youth, but simply slow down aging by about 7 years.) Pretty interesting even though I came in late on the discussion. After the discussion and the classes were out, I had a pretty earful of all of their interesting reports on who they met, and what they discussed and their new experiences with these schooled kids! ; ) There were some funny stories!
I left there with a lovely high. Feeling like we have found a great little community to try to grow and nurture ourselves in. I look forward to seeing how this flourishes, how GR pans out, and if I may even find some interesting stuff for me to do too! Grown up time would be welcomed!