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May Newsletter Article

Director’s Column

A Children and Youth Ministry Message from Emmy Galbraith, DCYM

Is pluralism a difficult concept to explain to children? I see it as giving a name to something they already experience and don't know what to call it. Just like the advances of modern society, through which we think we've gained a better handle on the world. Adulthood can deceive us through the promise of knowledge gained. But while education is valuable, it steps away from the inherent wisdom of the universe. The day a baby is born, that baby holds infinite wisdom. No one has taught them a thing, but they know how to cry out and ask for exactly everything they know they need. Such wisdom. And then everything that is taught, steps away from that birth day wisdom. On the other hand, I also take comfort in knowing that if I live to be 100 years old, I will have something new to learn every day. Infinite things in fact. Children know this. Their excitement to learn is proof. Pluralism. We give a name to talk with them about what they already know.

For talking with children, UU curriculum Soul Matters suggests: “You can think about pluralism as a fancy word for ‘many’ or ‘lots.’ Our UU Faith believes that diversity of thought, ideas, people, cultures, and beliefs is a gift. And not only that diversity is good but also that having many different beliefs and views helps us understand things better. Or to put it another way, our faith tells us that we need everyone’s different ideas and perspectives and background to perceive the whole!”

Folks discussing pluralism within the Unitarian Universalist Association have shared these ideas about this sacred UU value: "Pluralism is more than diversity. While diversity is good, it does not say anything about how diverse people interact. We can be diverse and segregated or diverse and fighting. Pluralism is when diversity is acknowledged and engaged toward positive ends by the diverse people.

We celebrate that we are all sacred beings, diverse in culture, experience, and theology. We covenant to learn from one another in our free and responsible search for truth and meaning. We embrace our differences and commonalities with Love, curiosity, and respect.”

I delight in preparing to talk with the children this May about Pluralism. I’ll be sure to share with you what they teach me.

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