Thursday, January 3, 2013

Where are (y)our children?

Query: how are the worship practices and communities of distant Friends alive in our thoughts and in our Meeting?

RantWoman found herself brought up short recently. RantWoman thinks she and others who planned a Salt and Light event two years ago got eldered. RantWoman has not heard any indication that others besides RantWoman noticed, and RantWoman did not even notice until quite recently.

The exact eldering was a question near the end of a weekend with Aminda and Maudiel Arevalo. Maudiel asked "Where are your children?" He spoke about events among Friends in El Salvador always involving lots of children. However, in their travels in the Northwest, the Arevalos saw many fewer children.

There are in fact children about. RantWoman does not remember whether childcare was available but RantWoman definiely has the impression little was done specifically to speak to parents in advance. Considering the gifts and experience of the Arevalos, planning some activities specifically aimed at children might rather have suggested itself. It might have been a lot to ask of parents to help plan this event, but until now no one--urk, including RantWoman--thought of the idea of including children formally in the program.

RantWoman has been thinking recently about connections among communities of Friends and why anyone but RantWoman including busy, busy parents of small children in her own Meeting might even care whether someone's leading about connections with distant Friends addresses the subject of children.

RantWoman was asked a question which she heard as "is a clearness committee asking the right questions?" Rantwoman found herself both passionate about the need for connections and needing to tend several threads, including a sense from addressing a couple people, parents actually, of talking to a little kid with hands clapped firmly over ears about so many topics that RantWoman despairs of anyone getting near the question of connections between children.

RantWoman hopes someone can just hold that issue in the Light.

In similar Light RantWoman offers verbatim, a comment from

"I grew up going to parties with my whole family and with other people's

whole families, from youngest to oldest, including unmarried singles, gay

couples, etc. Whole family parties seem to be a common part of the

experience of first and second generation immigrants. So my "automatic

setting" is to want to take my son too. I've sadly learned to ask whether

an event is kid-friendly and I've been quite disturbed at the number of

times that I'm told "No." Well, if my kid isn't welcome, then, effectively,

I'm not really welcome either. I can get a sitter and go anyway, but it's

not comfortable to me. I particularly don't like the narrow categories that

seem to have been imposed by single age education on who I'm "supposed" to

be friends with."

Beware: RantWoman, Inner Blowtorch Mode! Maudiel talked about 100,000 young people in their district involved with gangs and the Friends count themselves lucky to keep their youth free of that life. RantWoman does not necessarily need Quaker pastors to come all the way from El Salvador to hear about baby mareros. RantWoman can probably name half a dozen local bus routes where if one rides regularly one's odds sooner or later of encountering baby mareros or marero wannbes are pretty high. RantWoman has no idea what would happen if the subject showed up in Meeting for Worship.

RantWoman DOES need to hear the Arevalos' story of staring down extortion and refusing to fund violence. But the God of the Bus is already way too much for some in RantWoman's meeting, even though some of our children are also there.

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