Parents’ Roots and Wings-September 2020

Welcome to our first edition of Parents’ Roots and Wings encouraging and supporting parents while we live in the Virtual Age of Covid-19.  There are two parts to this effort: first, a brief reflection to name to ways in which parents serve as their children’s first teachers and to pass on some thoughts about way to transmit important passwords to their children; second, an activity that parents and children can do together as a way to discuss concepts that are often challenging in daily life. So, here we go.  We would love to hear your reactions.   We can be reached by email at

FOR PARENTS:           

Reading from: Generation to Generation by Antoine St. Exupery:

Let us build memories in our children,
lest they drag out joyless lives,
lest they allow treasures to be lost because
they have not been given the keys.
We live, not by things, but by the meanings
of things. It is needful to transmit the password
from generation to generation.

Some say life is a sprint: some say it is a marathon: according to Julian Castro, it seems a lot closer to a relay race.  The continuation of life as we know it depends on our ability to learn from those who have gone before us while we teach those who come after us.  At times, it feels as if we, as parents, are trying to run our leg of the relay with our children on our backs!  That really feels heavy.  So, just for now, take a moment to just breathe and recognize what heavy load you are carrying and how much you have accomplished! Somedays, it doesn’t feel like it, but it is true, even if there is very little recognition of your efforts. If we are going to succeed with our leg of the relay, we need to prepare our children for the time we will hand the baton off to them and they will continue without us.  So, how do we do this?  The metaphorical batons represent the “meanings of things” as St. Exupery says in “Generation to Generation”.  These are the passwords to survival and success in our world.  They must include many different things: how to maintain physical bodies,  to create safe emotional space for those bodies, to create meaning and ritual, to be good stewards to our world, to teach the next generation the essential passwords.

Take a moment and name two passwords you find most pressing in your life today.

In what ways are you communicating these to your children?

It is our hope that this column will support you in your efforts to hand down the passwords, particularly our spiritual passwords, Unitarian Universalist Principles and Sources, to your children.  Until we are able to be together again in person, our efforts must remain virtual.  This column is based on Parents as Spiritual Guidesby Roberta and Chris Nelson, two dedicated UU Religious Educators. We encourage you to take a few minutes each month to reflect on the ways we transmit meaning and ritual to our children and the challenges this presents.  This time of Covid-19 has presented us with both huge challenges and opportunities to remake our lives for the better.  What will you choose to change in your lives going forward?


An enjoyable activity for the whole family with suggested topics for family discussion arranged by grade level for September are listed below. The aim of the discussions is to deepen and clarify each person’s individual understanding of the seven principles and their personal values. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers!

Activity- Making Applesauce

If you use Honey crisp apples, no sugar is needed. You may add a little cinnamon if desired. Peel and core the apples. Chop them and simmer until soft. Then either mash them or puree them for desired texture.

Share some of the finished product with someone with a note as to why they are important to you.

Suggested Discussion Questions

k-1: What is love? How do we show it to our family, to our friends?

2-4: Where did the apple go?

5-6: How do we know if something is either right or wrong, good, or bad?

7-12: The protests are asking for change in our society. What changes would you like to see and why?