Tag Archives: Coming of Age

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One Wise Girl’s Definition of Faith

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It’s official—our daughter is an adult.

Never mind that she’s twelve.

But once she completed her Coming of Age program at our church this past weekend, it’s clear she’s a young woman who knows what she believes.

A few posts ago I gave an overview of what this program’s all about. The facilitators and mentors guide the twelve to fourteen year olds through life’s Big Questions:

What do you believe about god-with-a-capital G, gods or other deities?
What’s the purpose of life?
What happens to us after we die?
Why do bad things happen to good people?

They make it clear there are no “right” answers—only what’s right for the individual. Their role as facilitators and mentors is to get the kids thinking about their answers to these questions, and what or who they have faith in.

Our girl and her mentor.

Our girl and her mentor.

This is some heavy stuff, folks. I didn’t tackle these questions, with any real seriousness and without fear and pressure until I was in my 40s. I didn’t grow up with any specific religious practice or community in my life, so I fumbled around in the dark for a while, trying to find something that fit.

Some of my closest friends from grade school and high school who were actively involved in religion of some sort have told me the same thing, oddly enough. From their perspective, there’s a big difference between being told what to believe because of the family you were born into and figuring it out on your own.

I’ve always equated their experience with being forced to wear skinny jeans when you’d really like to wear sweatpants—you can squeeze your ass into the former for the sake of fashion but you’d be much more comfortable in the latter. Keep reading for more awesomeness…


5 Nuggets of Wisdom Shared With My Tween

I’m about to break a major blogging code. I’m going to mention religion.

Wait! Don’t go anywhere! I promise I’m not going to blather about my religious beliefs. And I’m not going to try to convert you. If you stick with me, I think you’ll find that while I may be breaking one blogging rule, I’m also staying true to a main blogging tenet—make sure your content has universal appeal.

Phew, okay. It looks like you stuck around. Thanks.

So my daughter and I attend a Unitarian Universalist (UU) church. (Don’t worry…your computer and/or brain will not be infected with a conversion virus if you click on the link. Pinkie swear.) In the UU world, tweens/teenagers have the choice to formally join their congregations via a special “coming of age” ceremony.

In our local church, this ceremony is preceded by a year-long curriculum, which helps the youth learn more about UU principles and other world religions (including “non-religions” such as agnosticism and atheism) and, most importantly, articulate their own beliefs.

They spend a lot of time discussing life’s BIG questions, with the understanding from their facilitators and mentors that there isn’t any one right answer—except the answer that’s right for them. Our church’s coming of age ceremony culminates with the youth presenting their personal belief statements to the congregation. Keep reading for more awesomeness…