This weekend we had a Congregational Sabbath retreat. Part of this is to bring people together in a non-formalized structural setting. Bonding, if you will. Part of this is to prepare for the spring Freedom Festival of the Passover (Pesach).
At one point, I asked Moms and Dads to give me their 2-6 year old children, and go have a nice cup of coffee. To relax, to be couples again, with other adults their age for just a few hours. Let me take care of their young ones. It was an invitation no one refused.
What do 2-6 year olds want to do? They want to run around wildly, scream, and burn off energy. They want to be with children their own ages, and feel part of a group. They want to express themselves individually. They want attention and affection. They want to do fun things, without a lot of rules to follow.
Part of my heritage, as I am sure part of your heritages and cultures is to let children be children, as long as they don't hurt themselves or others.
A classic Chassidic strategy is this. In my religion, we see humanity as having at least, but not limited to two aspects. The animal and the spiritual soul. That is, the one that wants to party, and the one that wishes to aspire to something higher. They are both part of us. In Chassidic thought, you can acculturate children by letting them party while teaching them the more noble of human thoughts. That is why we teach songs and dances to convey lofty devotional thoughts. Because it is fun. Children like to have fun. It is something they share in common with adults.
In the Haggadah (Passover ritual meal story, prayer and hymn book), there is a song which answers the question, How many abundant favors has the Omnipresent performed upon us? (Bah mah maalot tovot la Makom alenu?) The answer is in the song, Di-aye-nu (It would have been sufficient). As I sang each verse of the song, I asked the children to run around and yell as loud as they could Diayenu) for each chorus. It was an invitation no 2-6 year old refused.
For every song, and hymn we did the same at the chorus. For every prayer, question and answer, we formed a circle and danced while I recited.
In early April, they will all be with their extended families around the holiday table performing the Seder meal, which they will already know. They will be able to follow it. They will also look forward to it as fun. With time and age, they will appreciate the depth and value of celebrating the freedom to live life most abundantly according to the beauty of their heritage.
As it is written in the Haggadah, in every generation there will be those who will rise up to take away from you your freedom.
Enslavement (removal of freedom) takes many forms. It may be economic freedom (wage slaves), it may be religious freedom (the sin of evangelism to commit Deicide against your faith and its G-d), it may be political enslavement (misusing secular government for anti-G-d like purposes, blasphemously all in the name of G-d) so on and so forth. That is for the adults to settle out.
Let the children run around, sing, dance, yell and have a good time.
The innocence of children at play is what applied theology is all about.
As always, this article is not a referendum or debate about the validity of Judaism, religion, G-d, atheism. agnosticism, acculturation of children in the heritages or cultures of their parents choice, missionizing. etc. You are encouraged to take those debates else where in columns you author by writing original articles where they belong. The Newsvine and I encourage free expression in your own articles.
Here you must remain on point. You may not de rail, snark, troll, disrespect, attack personally etc. In addition to the Code of Honor, you must follow my directives or see your post deleted for cause, and possibly be banned from the Chaplains Corner group and or the Newsvine site. The former is my call, the latter the Newsvine staff call.
This is to promote adult high level free flow of relevant ideas. It is also to create an atmosphere where the less mature cannot intimidate the more mature for constructive contributions. Lets all remain level headed about this.
What is on point, and is encouraged is for all of you to share, if you wish the things young ones can do in your religious, secular, and cultural festivals and special events of spring time.
When I say all, I mean all. We do not always on the Newsvine see representation of very many religions and cultural traditions shared. Here is a place where we welcome that, in the context of letting children being children. while they learn how to be good adults.
Peace Blessings and the magical music of children laughing at play to one and all. Enoch.