Seventh and eighth graders become part of our Coming of Age class, where a broader kind of interaction is facilitated between the young teens and the world around them. Like almost every religious tradition and culture, Ethical Humanism has a process designed to gently carry young people from childhood into adulthood.
In the Christian church, that process is known as Confirmation. In the Jewish tradition, it's the bar/bat Mitzvah.
For adolescents around the world, this is a time in life when a person's social world changes and they naturally begin to examine their place in it.
In this class, young teens spend a fair amount of their time together discussing their new levels of responsibility and how they'll negotiate their relationships. They are also introduced to religious traditions of our neighbors, and invited to contemplate how those belief systems are employed to help people grapple with the same issues and questions that all of we humans encounter.
Rather than drawing from any single spiritual or philosophical source, we invite young people to explore many texts and many traditions. This year we will facilitate that exploration through a series of visits to other houses of worship.
Our environment is accepting and open. All opinions and beliefs are welcome and there is no judgment when a different opinion is voiced. We enjoy a lot of flexibility with the curriculum. While we have a line-up of lessons and discussion topics, we allow for flexibility in the classroom if students express interest in exploring other ideas related to our overarching core values.
Class discussions, as you might imagine, often center around world religions and philosophies. We look through the lenses of established religious traditions as a means of guiding students to examine their own beliefs.
Ethical Culture calls us to notice a myriad of perspectives and teaches us that each of us can be trusted to choose our path. Our hope is that we can further develop the sense of self that will anchor young teens as they continue to develop.
The CoA class concludes with a graduation ceremony lead by the students in which each graduate gives a speech and is invited to showcase an artistic talent.
Graduates benefit from the coaching of a professional speech writer at this stage.
In Coming of Age, the ideas teens ponder, the beliefs they develop, the habits they cultivate, the friendships they form and the peer support they learn to trust, all combine to form an experience that they carry with them long after their graduation.
For more information, contact the Sunday School Administrator.