Today, my 18-year-old daughter (who will probably also blog about this) was welcomed into membership in Santa Cruz Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.
In recent months, I have been grateful for the presence of Friends in her life. Her membership clearness committee has agreed to act as a vocational clearness committee for her as she grapples with her future. It eases my mind to know that she has such wise and supportive counsel to help her discover her path in life.
The members of the Meeting welcomed her with great joy (and a beautiful chocolate cake). At one point, I looked around the fellowship hall and saw each of my four children deep in conversation with an adult Friend. I thought how fortunate they are to be nurtured by the richness of our Quaker community, and how the support of adult Friends is helping them all grow into the Light.
In December, my 11-year-old son told me that most people don't know why we celebrate Christmas.
"And why do you think we celebrate Christmas?" I asked him.
"It's because of the life and the teachings of the man whose birth we celebrate," he said.
I thought about that for a while. I was struck by the word "teachings," and what that indicates about my son's understanding of Christianity. I was also struck by the fact that my son thought that he was sharing a bit of esoteric knowledge with me. He didn't see a connection between the secular celebration of Christmas and the life and teachings of Jesus. He imagined that most people don't realize that Christmas has anything to do with Christ.
When we were at the grocery store recently, my 7-year-old noticed that there were macaroni in the shape of peace signs and asked to try them. When he was unloading the groceries at the check-out stand, he told the checker, "In case you were wondering, I'm a Quaker."
Our Meetinghouse sports a peace sign. My son figured that the peace sign is a religious symbol like a cross or a star of David. He interprets every peace sign he sees as an emblem of Quakerism. For a brief second, I saw through his eyes and I was dazzled.