Friday, April 22, 2011

Reflections on candy and compromise

Ah traditions! Springtime, like fall is a season of contemplating change. Instead of life around us dying, we see new life again. We have many stories and rituals around these changes: daffodils, Easter bunnies, eggs and the story of the death of Jesus are a few. These are all powerful stories and at FUSS we work hard to honor traditions even as our awareness of what they might mean grows and changes. So too we sometimes let go of traditions that don't really serve our Unitarian Universalist values.

And, as is often the case change, does not come without some amount of debate and discussion.   It is an opportunity for deeper reflection around shared values and a chance to find common ground. This is definately the case with our Easter egg hunt. The RE Council made a decision to eliminate candy with the egg hunt and published this in Circuits and the OOS so that people would know about the change. There were lots of good reasons for this. Most parents try to limit the amount of highly processed foods like candy that their children eat. Most children receive an Easter basket with plenty of candy. For many children candy is particularly bad for them and their bodies react negatively to the excessive sugar, chemical additives and colorings. And, in terms of living out our values there are serious ethical considerations with much of the candy that is sold, namely it's connection to child slavery.

Our senior youth responded that they felt this was an important traditions that they were a part of. Each year it is the senior youth who hide the eggs.  After much discussion the compromise was this: children will hunt for eggs. We all agreed that along with hiding the eggs, searching for them was the most fun. Some of the eggs will have seeds in them. Once the children finds the eggs they will return them to the senior youth. When they do the senior youth will give the children a small bag of candy. The rabbit and egg candy is made by a local company. The earth balls are fair trade.

It is in all these ways: discussion, education, reflection, compromise, respect for each others opinions that we live out our values. I think this was a pretty good chance to travel that path.