Coming of Age Challenge #3 World Religions

Note: If you are unaware of the Coming of Age Challenge, Please Go To "What Is The Coming Of Age Challenge" and learn how you can have fun and help your daughter, nieces, and friends move into teen years with confidence and pride.

Beginning a tour of World Religions was our challenge for Nov and Dec (okay we combined two months - it was a busy time). Our goal was to expose Zoe to different types of religions in a light and easy manner. 

Stop 1; The Buddhist Zen Center at Green Gulch at Muir Beach, Ca.

One Sunday a month, the Zen center has a children's program to accompany the adult service at Green Gulch. Hidden deep in a valley off Shoreline Drive on the way to Muir Beach is the Zen Buddhist center and retreat. Beautiful and simple Japanese type buildings house visitors and residents. After parking in the dirt lot and walking a couple hundred yards to the central building, we took some time to wander through the majestic garden in which they supply food for the famous Greens Restaurant in San Francisco. The garden connects to the Golden Gate Recreation Area trails and a few minutes on to Muir Beach. The tranquility and quietness is pervasive as you hear the birds sing and the flowers even hum.  

During the children's service, Zoe made prayer flags that were hung up in the dining room and ate natural muffins with zero preservatives or sugar. She loved the simplicity of the morning and the fact that we her prayers would float off the flag into the sky and be heard. Meanwhile, we attended the adult service and heard a great parable about how life is a struggle and that every aching bone is a reminder to move forward and enjoy the now and treat each other with kindness. --- Need I say more.

Stop 2:  Grace Cathedral Church, San Francisco - Men and Boys Choir

The Men and Boys choir are beautiful wherever they perform, but to listen to them at the grand Grace Cathedral is like being in heaven. The closest thing we have to a Notre Dame, it is a beautiful and special place to hear wonderful singing. Zoe and Jean arrived early (I was out of town) and sat themselves in the fourth row shifting their heads to look at the beautiful stain glass. Once the choir started, everything settled down and the music transformed the listeners. Zoe leaned against her dad and took it in and said at the end, "There must be a God, to create that beautiful music."  

Stop 3: Jewish Studies

Zoe has begun to study Jewish history, prayers, and hebrew with a private tutor with the idea of having a Bat Mitzvah at some point. Our purpose is truly to educate her in a simple way that engages her. The teacher we found is perfect and has lively debates, tells stories and meets her where she is at. We have always celebrated the Jewish holidays and often light the candles on shabbat, this next step is to give her some understanding of her heritage so she will have a connection to who she is and her roots.

Stop 4:  We will continue with a few other experiences as time goes on as these are experiences that will widen her understanding of others and the world around us.