This past Sunday at our holiday party, I couldn’t help but notice the effects of our multigenerational focus this year. What a joy to look around as adults and children enjoyed the activities together, decorating gingerbread cookies, making Victorian ornaments, playing charades and dreidel and other games together. One thing that hadn’t occurred to me, but was obvious looking around the sanctuary as the party went on, is that this multigenerational ethic also allows adults to recapture the fun and magic of being childlike and playful.
As DRE, I tend to consider the life at Westside through the eyes of the children and youth. So in working with multigenerational ideas and activities, I’m looking for ways to involve the children in the goings on and to enrich their experience within the congregation. Often this takes the form of finding ways to connect the children with adults in meaningful ways through programs and events.
Our Mystery Friends is exactly the kind of program that does this. If you were at Sunday’s service, our Holiday Pageant, you saw how 18 adults and children created new friendships through leaving messages and surprises for each other in their shared mail bins over the past few months. The children did not know who their adult Mystery Friends were until our reveal during the pageant. As the children went through the congregation looking for the adults who had their matching National Park (the bins were coded with a National Park that each pair shared, in honor of the 100th anniversary of our National Parks), we all waited to see who the Mystery Friends were. Soon, children and adults were exclaiming in sweet surprise and hugging all throughout the sanctuary.
Here is the snapshot moment of the magnitude of multigenerational endeavors.
Later in the party, the other snapshots appeared: adults at the craft tables creating and enjoying time together, adults and children playing charades together around the fireplace from our Victorian pageant, a group of adults decorating gingerbread cookies like big kids, laughing and goofing around.
I joked with one of the adults who succumbed to the childishness, “You’re one of us now!” And this really captures it for me: bringing all these events to our congregation, things that we can enjoy whatever age we are, things that remind us of the joy and abandon of being a child, of remembering our youthful selves. These are the things that bring the magic of life through children’s eyes to all of us adults. How fortunate we are to have this congregation that values being multigenerational and has such fun together!
This coming Sunday we will share in another Westside holiday event, our Winter Solstice Spiral. Originally a children’s ceremony from the Waldorf tradition, last year’s spiral was enjoyed by all ages in our congregation. This meditative spiral walk holds all the beauty of the season as we greet the return of the sun and embrace winter. It’s a time to set our intentions as the energies shift and express gratitude for that which is abundant in our lives together in community.
In honor of our wonderful teachers and volunteers through the holidays, there will be no RE classes December 18, 25, or Jan 1. RE Classes will resume on Sunday, January 8. Happy Holidays!