Cultivating the Soil and Carrying the Torch
Author: Sara Blackstock
CULTIVATING the SOIL
CARRYING the TORCH
Exploring a Philosophic Model of Family Culture
for the Parenting and Teaching of Cosmic Citizens
Family Life Committee of the Urantia Book Fellowship
Vancouver Summer Conference, 1997
HOW MANY OF YOU COME HERE TODAY WITH SOME QUESTIONS?
WITH A HOPE FOR SOME ANSWERS?
WITH GREAT JOY?
WITH DEEP PAIN OR REGRET?
WITH A DESIRE TO LEARN?
FEELING OVERBURDENED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF PARENTING?
AS TEACHERS/MENTORS OF CHILDREN?
WITH A DESIRE TO HELP YOUR CHILDREN JOIN YOU AS A PARTICIPANT IN THIS REVELATION?
WITH A DESIRE THAT YOUR CHILD/REN WILL KNOW GOD AS THEIR LOVING FATHER/MOTHER?
WITH A DESIRE TO HAVE YOUR CHILDREN READ THE URANTIA BOOK SOMEDAY?
WITH A DESIRE THAT YOUR CHILDREN WILL EXPERIENCE SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY?
I am not sure how many answers we are going to get to today. There are 1000’s of practical everyday questions that those of us who work with children deal with and our answers or non-answers, as the case may be will depend upon the clarity of our thinking processes, our values, our personal agendas, our own upbringing.
* So if your little 6 year old asks for her 5th Barbie doll to add to her collection,
* or your son wants one of these little computer pets that are so popular today (I guess in Japan some of the Tamagatche’s sell for over $100 and the Beanie babies, if you can find them go for much moola also, especially if they are out of stock,
* or your 13 year old virginal sweetie wants to go to a co-ed sleepover and what’s the big deal, they are all doing it (isn’t that just what we are afraid of?),
* or please just one more TV show, “I don’t have anything else to do and I won’t bother you”,
* or your 16 year old asks for you, Dad to buy them a condom, because they are too embarrassed,
* or they beg for the brightest most colorful sugar laden package of cereal in the store and you know if you say “NO”, there will be an embarrassing tantrum, so you just say, What would you like to eat tonight dear, closing your eyes to the high level of fats, salts, food colorings, or cholesterol and let them deal with all of that when they are 40 years old,
* or your 6 month old throws her bottle on the floor and as you pick it up for the 10 time you begin to wonder about what’s going on here?
If you operate like some of us have you draw from the hip and shoot: “I don’t have any money.” They took it all away. Save your pennies and when you get 10,000 of them let me know and I will take you to buy the Nano-Kitty; or you tell the 13 year old you will ground her forever if she has sex; You pick up the bottle for the 10th time feeling like a slave, but isn’t it cute? Better a condom, than a baby or a disease”.
But if you are here for answers, you might be in the wrong workshop. Often there are as many answers as there are parents or kids or family systems. But what I will attempt to do for you today is to offer you a framework, some metaphors, some prioritizing lists from the Urantia Book, some processes which will be underpinnings for you, your kids and families to find the best answers. Hopefully you will go back to your personal marketplace, your personal garden and dig about the roots or shore up the foundations.
You may be more interested in finding out what others are doing in their families. How do they handle discipline problems? How do they teach their children about God, the Urantia Book? What kind of spiritual community do they have? What kinds of family rituals do they have? The answers will be found in a continual process of educating yourself and this is partially done by becoming aware of our own religious experiences and what has been meaningful to us in our spiritual development; sharing with others, and educating ourselves through reading, and attending classes.
1. Awareness of our own spiritual development
In a study group the participants shared what was meaningful or not for them in their spiritual development, and it became clear that what was
2. Sharing with others.Women do this and have done it for centuries, probably because they are on the front lines. Men/fathers are beginning to do this more. The Family Life committee has one avenue – the Family Chat list – where parents can get on and do just that, Chat, share, cry, help each other. I have included how to join this list on the bibliography.
3. The other way to find more information in order to find answers and increase your awareness is to read. We are now dealing with 50 years of research compilation having to do with child development. It is still a very complex field, as is anything having to do with humans, but a lot of the guess work has been taken out of raising children. I have included in your packet a short bibliography and you probably have your favorite books to share also.
THE FAMILY LIFE COMMITTEE IS WORKING ON SOME OF THE HOW TO’S OF THE FOLLOWING WORKSHOP. BY THE BEGINNING OF 1998 WE WILL PRESENT AN ACTIVITY MANUAL FOR ALL AGES WHICH WILL BE A COLLECTION OF WHAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GATHER FROM PEOPLE LIKE YOURSELF, FROM WHAT IS OUT THERE IN TRADITIONAL RELIGION, FROM STUDYING OTHER PATHS SUCH AS BUDDHISM, HINDU, JUDISM.
Matthew Fox, the rebellious priest who holds rave masses attended by thousands of young people said that we lack a cosmology in which to operate. Well, we as students of this revelation have a cosmology, and we have a responsibility to weave it together into a parenting cosmology which will help us produce a Culture of Child Rearing. And we are not going to do this now, but let’s begin. There are a great number of divorces within the Urantia Movement, and although I have seen some excellent parenting, I also know, first hand of many very serious mistakes that have been made and the kids are showing the results.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO BE CONSCIOUS ABOUT OUR PARENTING PHILOSOPHY?
Carl Jung in the Development of Personality said: We cannot fully understand the psychology of the child or that of the adult if we regard it as the subjective concern of the individual alone, for almost more important than this is his relation to others. Here, at all events, we can begin with the most easily accessible and, practically speaking, the most imortant part of the psychic life of the chid. Children are so deeply involved in the psychological attitude of their parents that it is no wonder that most of the nervous disturbances in childhood can be traced back to a disturbed psychic atmosphere in the home.” Pg. 39
Francis G. Wickes, author of The Inner World of Childhood (New York, 1927) worked for many years as a psychologist in schools. She collected numerous case studies, and these were later illuminated for her when she encountered Professor Jung’s theories, which she was able to confirm and extend. The most important part of her thesis demonstrates how the unconsciousness of parents can cause many psychic disorders of childhood”.
There is a unique aspect of child rearing which has to do with being students of this revelation, that has not been addressed over the last 50 years and we as a community need to begin serious dialogue about what this is, what does this look like? What unique aspects do we need to be aware of as parents/mentors/students of this book, which if we are not aware of them, can actually be dangerous to the health of our children?
Section 1 of paper 100 may have some of the most essential statements for child rearing:
“Give every developing child a chance to grow his own religious experience; do not force a ready-made adult experience upon him.” “The quickest way for a tadpole to become a frog is to live loyally each moment as a tadpole.”
This is a dangerous book for our children to grow up with, for us to push on them. Notice I said book, not that knowing God as a loving father is dangerous. I have heard of parents doing everything from sitting their little ones down once a night for years and reading to them from the UB (a proud father told me he has read it three times through to his kids) to parents who don’t do anything because they are afraid of turning their kids off the revelation and they don’t know what to do. Let me tell you right now if you don’t know what to do, and you haven’t done anything, go home and light a candle at night and thank God for your children in there presence. This experience is a miracle, and it doesn’t matter how old they are.
My concern and this is said with a great deal of personal pain which is coming from a current crisis, is that if this book and the info in it is not integrated into the reality with which your child lives everyday, that it is possible that your child will have problems with integration of his/her own personality.
I encourage you to pursue this question as you go back into your communities, and when you have something to share I would love to hear about it.
As you can see from the title, Cultivating the Soil, we are going to be using a lot of metaphors that have to deal with garden and soil, and plants and growing things, for if we are around children, a lot or a little, we are cultivators, and this has some particular responsibilities. In our own personal lives with the gospel, we are told to spread the seed, and some of it will fall on fallow ground and some on fertile ground, but just get it out there.
With child rearing or mentoring, we are not evangelizing, we must carefully and consciously tend and cultivate for in this respect we are caretakers of our Father’s most precious children. . Let us be careful with ourselves here because some of us may have gardens that are full of weeds, that have never been tilled, or cultivated or fertilized, because we didn’t know; some of us have no connection with children so our child gardens are barren, but everyone can connect a little with one little plant and give it a little water. We must proceed without blame or shame to look at this issue.
There are three arenas we will look at today as we ask the question about the cultivation of the soil essential for religious growth: Whose responsibility is it? We will quickly remind ourselves of what is happening in the child – the influences which surround and impinge in the child, then proceed to the parental and extended family responsibilities, and then to those of the spiritual community, and could be our Urantia community, or another community arena such as a church, Sunday school, etc.
You have in your packet some basic geometric forms. I have found over the years that it helps with engagement of the mental processes, at least for some, to participate. Forgive what appears to be a simplistic approach, but we begin from the simple and obvious and will advance to the more complex.
I. THE CHILD –
Endowment to and influences in a child’s mind
II. PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES
III. COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITIES
I. THE CHILD
A. THE SEED (see pattern A)
“…..man is divine in heritage as well as human in inheritance.” (1215) or 111:0.2
“The personality is the unifier of these components (spirit, mind, and energy) of experiential individuality.” (102) or 9:4.6
“In the human system it is the personality which unifies all activities and in turn imparts the qualities of identity and creativity.” (1227) or 112:1.19
B. ENDOWMENT TO AND INFLUENCES IN A CHILD’S MIND (see pattern B)
“The seventh circle. This level is entered when human beings develop the powers of personal choice, individual decision, moral responsibility, and the capacity for the attainment of spiritual individuality. This signifies the united function of the seven adjutant mind-spirits under the direction of the spirit of wisdom, the encircuitment of the mortal creature in the influence of the Holy Spirit, and on Urantia, the first functioning of the Spirit of Truth, together with the reception of a Thought Adjuster in the moral mind. Entrance upon the seventh circle constitutes a mortal creature a truly potential citizen of the local universe.” (1210) or 110:6.13
“In the mortal experience the human intellect resides in the rhythmic pulsations of the adjutant mind-spirits and effects its decisions within the arena produced by encircuitment within this ministry.” (1129) or 103:0.0
II. PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES
A. LOYALTIES – THE PERIMETERS OF THE GARDEN ( see pattern C)
Carl Jung said in one of his many books, The Development of Personality, “….the things which have the most powerful effect upon children do not come from the conscious state of the parents but from their unconscious background.” (41)
Back to paper 100:
Children are permanently impressed only by the loyalties of their adult associates; precept or even example is not lastingly influential. Loyal persons are growing persons, and growth is an impressive and inspiring reality.” (1094) or 100:1.4
For years I wondered what these loyalties were and kept getting them confused with values, until I came across a list of these loyalties in the last pages in the life of Jesus:
[Jesus had]…..”keen realization of the reality and sacredness of all human loyalties – personal honor, family love, religious obligation, social duty, and economic necessity.” (2089) or 196:0.7
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE SOME OF THESE LOYALTIES?
Regardless of where you are in your experience with children – have none, want some, teach them, or grandparent them, some of these loyalties apply to you. You can do an evaluation of yourself in regards to this list:
FIND DIAGRAM C AND WRITE IN EACH OF THESE LOYALTIES TO FORM THE PERIMETER OF YOUR GARDEN.
1. PERSONAL HONOR
Personal honor has to do with first knowing and loving (respecting) yourself. It has to do with being a balanced person, who knows your own loyalties, values, goals. It has to do with having a vision of what you want out of life and some options for how you are going to explore these options.
Story about the kid hiding behind a blanket with a couple of little girls pulling down his pants. Now this is sort of natural….but it came to be that he had found his father’s playboys under the bed and had been spending quite a bit of time with them. Then we talked to the dad about this problem and he asked me not to mention it to the mother.
Your personal honor has to do with your thoughts….”it is your thoughts not your feelings which lead you Godward.”
For example I tell my teachers at the day care center, that they should assume that the kids know at some level their very feelings/thoughts about them (the kids), and about where the teacher is coming from – what is their center? Where are their loyalties? Is it to being honest with themselves and with them? Kids know if you are being honest or not.
2. FAMILY LOVE
Everyone loves their family, but do you express it? Are you spending more time with promulgating “THE REVELATION” than you are playing with your kids?
3. RELIGIOUS OBLIGATION
is a tough one and one which I am finding that a lot of UB students are having a difficult time even looking at because many of us are rebels against “organized religion”;but upon further reflection, I am pretty sure that this means that parents have the obligation to teach their children about religion in the home. There is no question that religious education/training is the realm and responsibility of the parents. If we look at the Second Epochal Revelation we read “…religious and sexual training were regarded as the province of the home, the duty of parents.” (835)
And we read about our sister sphere: Religious training on this continent…”is deemed to be the exclusive privilege of parents, religion being looked upon as an integral part of home life.” There is an interesting interface with the community, in that the parents are required not only to be properly trained in child culture, and “Attendance of parents, both fathers and mothers, at the parental schools of child culture is compulsory but that spiritual teachers from another community organization – “The Foundation of Spiritual Progress”….. “Visit each family periodically to examine the children to ascertain if they have been properly instructed by their parents” (812) I am not advocating this for this is extremely controversial but we *are* told about our “sister sphere in the Satania family” “with the intent of advancing civilization and augmenting governmental evolution on Urantia.” (820) It would seem that the community on a governmental level is very involved (at a level most of us would find unacceptable) in the home life and education of the children.
4. SOCIAL DUTY
How are you contributing to society around you? What good are your children seeing you do for others? How do you see your children doing good to those around them? And sometimes if you look you will find the most profound truths being expressed in the simplest activities of daily life. For example, I have included a story I told at a General Council meeting and had them laughing up the wall. This is a real story and it shows how much can be gotten out of a simple experience. It has to do with the compassion that children felt for a box full of worms at the day care center which had been neglected and were almost dehydrated. Out of the experience of a bunch of kids saving these worms with great concern and joy, came 16 Principles of Service. I truly think the ministering transition seraphim who work with us on the next worlds may just have been hanging around. “Next to the destiny guardians, these transition ministers draw the nearest to humans of all orders of seraphim….” (555) 48:6.23 These seraphim kindle a divine fire of the will-to-service.
5. ECONOMIC NECESSITY
You would think that economic necessity would be pretty obvious, but I have actually seen people totally dedicated to the spread of the Urantia Book, who don’t understand the importance of supporting their own families, whether it be their own children or helping out aging parents, brothers/sisters.
B. THE SOIL
“The soil essential for religious growth presupposes
A progressive life of self-realization
The coordination of natural propensities
The exercise of curiosity
And the enjoyment of reasonable adventure
The experiencing of feelings of satisfaction
The functioning of the fear stimulus of attention and awareness
And a normal consciousness of smallness, humility.” (1094) or 100:1.5
In my understanding this is a list of things which need to be in place before or at least along with religious growth in the child and helping the child to develop a spiritual life, and introducing higher spiritual concepts from the UB before the child has a chance to experience these necessary things.
We can’t look at all of these today, and I hope when you go back home you will give this some time with your partner, or family. You could even develop a scale of sorts where you would check off if you are providing these things consciously for your child and HOW you are providing them. Now obviously a lot of them kind of take care of themselves….but is KIND OF enough for our children?
Let’s look at a few of these:
a. Progressive life of self-realization
pg. 508 …”expressionful self-realization”… “Before ascending moral leave the local universe to embark upon their spirit careers, they will be satiated respecting every intellectual, artistic, and social longing…” So we can get a hint of what this might mean….intellectual, artistic, and social expression of self. How can we help our children do this?
Pg. 767 “….human self-realization is worthy of becoming the immediate goal of many cultural groups.”
b. The co-ordination of natural propensities
pg. 508 “There are three possible sources of special human ability: At the bottom always there exists the natural or inherent aptitude. Special ability is never an arbitrary gift of the Gods; there is always an ancestral foundation for every outstanding talent.”
FIND OUT WHAT THESE ARE IN YOUR OWN CHILDREN.
At the day care we can observe 100’s of children….you can see the architects, the teachers, the musicians, the artists, the cooks, the builders, the athletes, the engineers, etc. If children do not get a chance to express these natural propensities there is a strong likelihood that they will be very frustrated. We pushed soccer on our son for a couple of years. He hated it, but that was what good parents did was to get their kids in sports. Now he is out in the wilderness of Yosemite playing Indian.
c. The enjoyment of reasonable adventure
I often wonder if one of the epidemic drug and alcohol problems of our culture doesn’t stem from our lack of understanding of this need in kids of all ages, in different ways. We sit them down in school and tell them to listen to a teacher and after 10 years or so for some it is literally deadly…..they have become so bored form irrelevant education that doesn’t excite their very being. Take your kids to nature to find some of this adventure; climb the mountains, not the mall lanes on weekends.
d. A normal consciousness of smallness, humility…Once again nature, grand and glorious, dark at night nature can stir these feelings in them..Make them work hard in nature to get this sense of smallness and humility. Take them to the roaring ocean, or the desert at night, or climb the mountains, anything but sitting in front of the TV sets or to the malls…..the mauls are indeed mauling our children.
C. BALANCE (see pattern E)
“It is to the mind of perfect poise, housed in a body of clean habits, stabilized neural energies, and balanced chemical function – when the physical, mental, and spiritual powers are in triune harmony of development – that a maximum of light and truth can be imparted with a minimum of temporal danger or risk to the real welfare of such a being. By such a balanced growth does man ascend the circles of planetary progression one by one, from the seventh to the first.” (1211) 110:6.4
a. Physical health
b. Mental/psychological/emotional health
* Archetypes – children need to experience the archetypes of good and evil, warrior and princess, kind and queen, the evil witch, the devil. Drama, myths, and fairy tales are a great ways for them to experience these. If they don’t do it when they are young, you may get college kids playing dungeons and dragons for real.
* Heroes – parents/teachers can guide children to choose their heroes rather than just let it happen via the TV.
* Emotional Intelligence
Some more thoughts by Carl Jung:
“The extraordinary infectiousness of emotional reactions, then, makes it a certainty that everybody in the vicinity will be affected. The weaker ego-consciousness is, the less it matters who is affected, and the less the individual is able to guard against it. He could only do that if he could say: you are excited or angry, but I am not, for I am not you. The child is in exactly the same position in the family: he is affected to the same degree and in the same way as the whole group.” (40) “It is not a question of good and wise counsels, but solely of deeds, of the actual life of the parents.” (40) What we are talking about has to do with not just “raising children”, but has to do with the beginnings of the human consciousness. “What is the thoughtful reader to make, for instance of the puzzling but undeniable fact of the identity of the psychic state of the child with the unconscious of the parents?”
Self-Control, empathy, perserverance,
D. MORAL INTELLIGENCE – VALUES (See pattern F)
Moral training and character development have a macrocosmic and a microcosmic aspect to them: The macrocosm is in the realms of TRUTH, BEAUTY, AND GOODNESS – eternal values:
“All truth – material, philosophic, or spiritual – is both beautiful and good. All real beauty – material art of spiritual symmetry – is both true and good. All genuine goodness – whether personal morality, social equity, or divine ministry – is equally true and beautiful. Health, sanity, and happiness and integrations of truth, beauty, and goodness as they are blended in human experience.” Truth is coherent, beauty attractive, goodness stabilizing. And when these values of that which is real are co-ordinated in personality experience, the result is a high order of love conditioned by wisdom and qualified by loyalty. The real purpose of all universe education is to effect the better co-ordination of the isolated child of the worlds with the larger realities of his expanding experience.” (43) 1:7.11,12
When children are living with truth, beauty, and goodness, when the parents are really living it, the children will experience stability and relationship, and feeling good about themselves. When they are trained in moral intelligence it will become habitual. But it is not necessarily something which happens naturally. And here is where parental responsibilities arise again. Robert Coles, a Pulitzer Prize winning author of Children in Crisis and The Spiritual Life of Children shows us how a child’s moral character can be shaped from infancy through the teenage years. He presents a moral archaeology of childhood in his book The Moral Intelligence of Children. I strongly recommend that all parents/teachers/mentors read this book to get an understanding of moral development and how moral intelligence can be train just as intellectual can be guided and trained. Cheating, lying, stealing, early sex, drugs, drinking are all isolating behaviors. In the end the children or persons participating in these feels isolated and alone and this is an awful thing which can lead to mental illness and early death.
In my office at the day care center I get the cheaters, the liars, the stealers, and like the little boy I told you about earlier whose father had the playboys, perhaps the sexual philanderers.
Some of these things sneak up on you. One set of parents are rock and roll fans; they play it in their home all the time and were very proud that there 9 years old son knew a lot of lyrics to their songs. I enjoyed hearing him hum the songs around the day care until I found the lyrics written out in his handwriting and I began to listen to the words he was singing….they were sexually explicit. I talked to his parents about my concern and they tempered their music. Often when children cheat, lie, steal, they are acting out problems at home. One little girl was caught with 3 Beanie Babies in her backpack. In my office when I asked her if there were any problems at home she told me of her older sister’s meanness. As I have talked with kids who end up hitting each other instead of using words, they often look at each other in my office with tears in their eyes telling each other about their mom’s or dad’s yelling at them, getting angry at them, or actually hitting them.
Coles says: “ …. The most persuasive moral teaching we adults do is by example: the witness of our lives, our ways of being with others and speaking to them and getting on with them – all of that taken in slowly, cumulatively, by our sons and daughters, our students. To be sure, other sources can count a great deal: formal lectures or explicit talks, reading and more reading and discussions of what has been read, reprimands and reminders with punishment of various kinds, churchgoing or synagogue attendance, the experience of hearing sermons and being told about biblical messages, and the moral lessons and the wisdom of our secular novelists, poets, and playwrights – all of that can count a great deal. But in the long run of a child’s life, the unselfconscious moments that are what we think of as simply as the unfolding events of the day and week turn out to be the really powerful and persuasive times, morally.” Pg. 31 This is the microcosm of morality – the little daily nibbles upon which our children feed. Let’s look at some examples:
The baby throwing down the bottle 10 times and watching you pick it up. What is the lesson this child is learning? That this adult will do what I want them to do. That I can control this adult. When we laugh at a little kid hitting us cause it is so cute. What are we going to be doing when that child is 4 or 5 and hitting us and it is not so cute?
We must demand of ourselves that we say NO as well as YES. We have to set limits for ourselves as well as for our children. We must demand that we intervene and interfere as well as ignore or let things happen and if we don’t then we are offering lessons on the nature of indifference, of inattention or unconcern or apathy, and ultimately, lessons that make for moral confusion.” Pg. 84
Now we are beginning to get down into the realms of choices. What we do at this level goes back to the questions we began with:
Remember that how these values of Truth, Beauty and Goodness are portrayed in our every day life will have to do with the foundation of our loyalties upon which they rest. Many parent for the moment….what kind of day we have had, how we are feeling, what kind of stress we are under, how the world is treating us, how nice our kids are being to us. A kid I work with in my other business as a FAMILY LIFE CONSULTANT wanted to watch more TV as part of his agenda for things to discuss. I asked him how he got to watch more TV now and he said, he wasn’t sure, but it seemed to depend upon how his mother felt, what mood she was in.
WE ARE ALL HUMAN AND WE ALL DO THIS. But I believe the more we can base our decisions for our children and help our kids to make their own decisions based on thought out consciousness evaluating the truth, beauty or goodness of a particular realm with which we are being presented, the more stable will be the foundation upon which our children’s philosophy will rest. I have heard parents say they let their kids watch Power Rangers because they are kind of cute little active guys. If they looked a little deeper they would realize they are using violence to get their way. Not that a few shows here and there will hurt. In fact watch TV shows with your kids and actualize the great discussion possibilities. For a long time at the day care, I wouldn’t allow the kids to play with soldiers; but when I realized that our troops are basically being peace keeping troops now, I didn’t have such a philosophical problem with them as they set them up and get them ready to fight each other.
We can stir the moral psyche with some of the great stories. I recommend the book by William J. Bennett called the Book of Virtues – a Treasury of Moral Stories. Read one a week at your family meeting. These are stories which have to do with perseverance, courage, patience, honesty, law-abiding, kindness. This is the development of consciousness
Aristotle said: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Jesus’ home was a well-regulated home. Examine the habits in your home. I was going to recommend an excellent book – Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families, but it has been called back right now. But you could probably get some of the same suggestions with a little arrangement from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Regularity seems to be important for children – without being stifling.
Family Meetings – a regular happening in the homes of Mormons. Bob Slagel has written a book on family meetings which can be ordered from the Good Cheer Press. These are times each week or regularly, not just when there are problems that the family meets from the youngest possible years, where the family shares their joys, and their problems, they bring God into their discussion like Jesus did with his family.
III. COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITIES
So many, many parents are alone in the above listed responsibilities, even more so than ever now with people moving around so much, the extended family could be far away; they are so busy, when do they even find time for community? I know of upper middle class parents, woman especially who have quit their upper management jobs to go back home and be a mother. They don’t want the newest cars, another TV, the latest furniture; they just want to be with their kids when they come home from school. I know fathers who are not climbing the ladder any more and are settling for a lower paying and lower prestige job so that they can be husbands and fathers and not die of heart attacks at the age of 46. People more than ever are participating in community events….they know now that they want and need community.
What about the spiritual community? How do we do that? How do we do that as students of the Urantia Book? We are told that there is a real purpose in the socialization of religion:
“It is the purpose of group religious activities
to dramatize the loyalties of religion;
to magnify the lures of truth, beauty, and goodness
to foster the attractions of supreme values;
to enhance the service of unselfish fellowship;
to glorify the potentials of family life;
to promote religious education;
to provide wise counsel and spiritual guidance;
and to encourage group worship.” (1092) Or 99:7.2
HOW DO YOU THINK WE ARE DOING AS A COMMUNITY IN MEETING THE ABOVE PURPOSES. GIVE ME A RATING WITH YOUR FINGERS AS THE NUMBERS 1 – 10
Who are “we” as community?
How do we identify ourselves to our children?
If we are part of a church community, how are we integrating that experience for/with our children?
How are we providing group worship experiences for our children?
Should we be studying other religious experiences?
How do we prepare our kids to interface in an increasingly small world, respecting and being interested in other faiths/paths, and yet feeling an integrity and a solidarity with their own faith and community?
What is their faith? Is a book, a study group? A conference?
Do your children hear more about politics in your home than they do about God? Do they hear more about the Urantia Book than about the love of God for all?
What do you do in your study group for and with children?
Are you participating as a volunteer with the children’s program at this conference? Will you do so at the next conference?
Do you and your family go to church or Sunday school. Or do you send your children off because it is your obligation to get them educated.
Or do you do nothing because there is no community around you. Has it ever occurred to you to create a spiritual community?
How do we create a sense of belonging to the larger community?
What can the communal experience offer children in the way of rituals, processionals, music, drama?
How can sharing God experiences with others strengthen our children’s own sense of God?
How are we helping our children integrate their Urantia understandings with those of the “outside” world?
How do we help our children grow through the different developmental levels of spirituality?
How do you think that you or your children have been spiritually influenced by “afflictions” …death, poverty, mental illness, accidents?
Have you exposed them to the suffering of others?
Children must experience socialization in their spiritual experiences. These are no different from their intellectual, emotional, social needs as far as sharing with others. How is our movement going to integrate our children with mainstream, or are we? If we send them to church which preaches about the blood sacrifice of Jesus, or the Virgin birth, the exclusivity of a particular way, , how are we going to handle that? We can pull our children out or perhaps we can use it as a spiritual discussion point of what are the differences.
Look at how the community participates with the home in the education of children on our sister sphere: “The Foundation of Spiritual Progress”…..visit each family periodically to examine the children to ascertain if they have been properly instructed by their parents” (812) I AM NOT ADVOCATING THIS. However I find it interesting that we are told about our ‘sister sphere in the Satania family” “With the intent of advancing civilization and augmenting governmental evolution on Urantia.” (820) And evidently it is the government which says: “Attendance of parents, both fathers and mothers, at the parental schools of child culture is compulsory.” (812)
“Character of torchbearers. Social inheritance enables man to stand on the shoulders of all who have preceded him, and who have contributed aught to the sum of culture and knowledge. In this work of passing on the cultural torch to the next generation, the home will ever be the basic institution. The play and social life comes next, with the school last but equally indispensable in a complex and highly organized society.” (910) or 81:6.23
Let’s see if we can pull 7 principles for a global family structure out of this; principles which will work to uplift the ideal of family from INNER FAMILY, TO HOME FAMILY, TO WORK FAMILY, TO COMMUNITY FAMILY, TO FELLOWSHIP FAMILY, TO INTERFAITH FAMILY, TO GLOBAL FAMILY:
1. Relationship of each to the parent.
2. Relationship of each to each other.
3. The power of the indwelling spirit.
4. The will of God for each and for the all – the Supreme
5. Love – wisdom
6. Vision of the future – eternal life
7. Faith in all of the above; in the goodness of God;
Example of one person who is making a global effect on the way that he is living – the Dalai Lama said: “It is my belief that the lack of understanding of the true cause of happiness is the principal reason why people inflict suffering on others. But whatever immediate advantage is gained at the expense of someone else is shortlived. In the long run, causing other misery and infringing upon their peace and happiness creates anxiety, fear, and suspicion for oneself.”
Christian Science Monitor Friday, Oct. 31, 1997