Theological Reflection and Parenting
Let’s begin with a working definition: practical theology is theological reflection that is grounded in the life of the church, society, and the individual and that both critically recovers the theology of the past and constructively develops theology for the future.
What does practical theology mean in your role as a parent? A good place to begin is knowing your personal theology. If the word “theology” confronts you with belief in a higher being, let’s think of the word in its simplest form…a system of religious beliefs or ideas. Now, let’s deal with the word “religious”. Webster provides these simple definition for religious as “very careful to do something whenever it can or should be done”. For most UU’s, this definition is relevant, inclusive and applies to our faith journey in our personal daily lives and as a community. Now that we have a common reference, let’s begin this self-exploration.
How does a parent come to know their practical theology when it comes to raising children? One method can be modeled after the UU Coming of Age process in which youth explore and develop a Credo, a written statement of the youth’s beliefs. Throughout the curriculum, youth are taught that a Credo is dynamic and expected to change with their life experiences. When youth take on this process, time and effort is required and so it is for parents. Consider writing a Parenting Credo. What does your “system of beliefs” require of you as a parent? Spend some time thinking about what you were taught as a child, what you believe now and why you believe it, what do the 7 Principles (http://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles ), 6 Sources (http://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/sources ), the Covenant and other faith traditions teach you about parenting? Given the current state of your personal beliefs, what is unknowable? What must or should be done as a parent on a consistent basis? Write it down. Revise it until the Credo rings true to you. It may or not be consistent with your parenting partner(s), but we all bring our unique gifts to child rearing.
Our faith calls us to live in the big questions and make this world a better place. With that in mind, good parenting is a calling to ministry. Parenting is nothing less than a sacred responsibility that once taken on, changes your life and molds the life of a child forever. That fact alone makes it worth serious Theological Reflection.
Hope Unitarian Parenting: It takes a Village. Parents and grandparents gather monthly on the second Sunday of the month at 9:00 am in the Cabin to discuss and explore parenting. Please join us on Sunday, May 8. Join our Facebook group by requesting membership to “Hope Unitarian Church Parents: It Takes a Village”.
Child Dedication – Our next Child Dedication Ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, May 8, during the 11:00 service. Hope Unitarian Church, as in most UU churches, has child dedication ceremonies for infants and children rather than baptisms or christenings, Child dedication ceremonies are usually crafted in cooperation with the parents, Reverend Cathey and Susan Spooner by working closely together.