Saturday, December 16, 2006

Starting 3B's Christmakwanzukkah Season

Look, a shiny thing!

We took 3B over to D&D's house last night for the first night of his first Christmakwanzukkah season. When it comes to teaching him all the proper ceremonies for holidays, I'm afraid that Mama and I won't be of much use unless there's a Peanuts special that explains them, so it's fortunate that D&D know what to do when it comes to Hanukkah.

Apparently, the only thing you have to do is light the candles, but we took the opportunity to have a Shabbat dinner. Olivia, who had knit 3B a sweater before she even met him joined us and gave him the sweater.

Score! My first Hanukkah and I've already got a gift!

3B and Olivia hit it off right away. He even fell asleep in her lap during dinner, and I'm pretty sure that if we'd put the car seat in her car, he would have gone home with her. "Mama and Papa who?"

It was a fun night with good friends, which is what the holidays are about for those of us like Mama and myself who aren't devoted strictly to Christianity or Judaism. But it did raise the question that we've asked ourselves before about 3B: how do we raise him spiritually?

Because of our lack of singular devotion and our wide and deep interests in spirituality, my guess is that he'll be raised in a somewhat typical suburban-American salad bar spirituality, but is this inch-deep-and-mile-wide approach useful? If there's anything that Mama and I believe in deeply, it's Buddhism, but we're too busy or lazy to practice, or even to decide on a school to follow--Hinayana, Mahayana, Tibetan, Zen, Nichiren?

Clearly, Mama and I have found some happiness without deeply held and regularly practiced beliefs, and without a spiritual community that we identify and hang out with, but is that what we want for 3B? Is that what he wants?


Perhaps we'll send him up to Anthromama's house for some spiritual tutoring. In the meantime, since Buddhism doesn't preclude celebrating holidays and traditions from other religions, we'll keep the Christmakwanzukkah season rolling, but if you have any insight, suggestions, resources, etc. about raising a kid at the spiritual salad bar, please let us know.

Lord knows . . . YHWH knows? . . . Mohammed knows? . . . Buddha knows? . . . to whom it may concern? . . . we need all the help we can get.

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  1. Totally there with you, even if my kids are already quoting the Dhammapada!

    We've always pondered whether we should develop some kind of practice just for the kids' sake. But then it's not really genuine spiritual striving, and kids have killer falsity radar. It sure would be nice to have a spiritual community though.

    So right now we're just focusing on simple teachings like our winter/Advent nature table, Christmas tree, and books about Buddha.

  2. Anonymous2:26 PM

    Holy Chubby Cheeks Batman! He's getting so big!

    And whenever I think he can't get any cuter, he does!