Staying alert this summer

On Spring into Summer Sunday, we heard a puzzling scripture passage: Jesus said, “Everyone who wants to see God’s dream come true must see with the eyes of a child.”

We pondered, what does that mean? It’s one of those riddles Jesus liked to teach with, and could mean many things. I would love to hear what you think sometime.

What it made me think about this time is how aware children and youth can be that they are growing. Those of us who live with young children and attend daily to their growth are astounded by this awareness. Every spring when the ice melts, we go through drawers and closets to find anything that still fits, often coming up with short pants and sandals that seem to have shrunk over the winter – how does it happen? Every day, children learn a new thing. Every week their circle grows a bit wider. Every experience brings new challenges – and they are aware of it as they’re living it – maybe not all the time, but I’d venture to say they’re more aware of their growth than most adults are.

We adults can benefit from children’s consciousness of continued growth. This year, we did some learning and growing the hard way – by finding out our country is more divided than we thought. The adults our kids look up to saw us worrying about the direction of our country and fumbling around for the words to explain it. We have been taking our own classes this year to grow our skills of organizing to make a difference, and even just to talk to people with different points of view than our own. We took workshops on being better allies when we witness a microaggression, and starting hard conversations in our workplaces. Alicia of the YWCA taught us we can’t always guarantee a safe space for learning about racism but we can create a brave space. We made friends from diverse cultures, and we took action at the Capitol again and again.

We won’t stop growing for the summer either – we must not take a break from responding to action alerts. (Click here to sign up now!) We can be brave and have conversations with those close to us about attitudes we need to outgrow. We will travel to new places and have many chances to practice the skills we have learned while we open our hearts and minds to the next adventure.

Together, in the church, we get to remind each other that this is an essential reality of being children of God: as long as we live, we never stop growing.

—Rev. Emily Goldthwaite Fries