Do you know the story of the Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams?
It is a beloved story about a stuffed animal rabbit, who is decidedly not a toy, but who is not yet real, not until it is loved so hard and so long, that it is made real.
I did not grow up with it and neither did I read it to my children, which seems to make me an anomaly in the circles I run around in. And it makes me sad, as it seems like a rather sweet story.
It was at the heart of the story we used in worship this morning, but with a twist.
Today at church, the minister reminded the children of the story of the Velveteen rabbit. I brought along these well-loved rabbits, borrowed from a young adult friend of mine, who lent me her ‘velveteen rabbits’ (actually, their names are Carrot and Chloe) for this church occasion.
After telling the story of the Velveteen rabbit, and asking whether any of the children had something like that in their lives; and after many hands went up and children and youth shared stories of beloved stuffed animals and blankets loved to shreds, the minister had more to say.
She shared that I have been trying to become a real minister for a very long time now and that soon, very soon, I will face a Big Test* which will grant me passage to become a real (professional) minister, but that I was nervous about this Big Test. The minister asked the children and youth: did they have any advice for me?
Well, yes. As a matter of fact, they had what turned out to be a whole, long list of advice. We had someone take notes while the kids offered up their opinions, about which they felt no compunction to hold back.
Take deep breaths. Think positive thoughts. Try your best.
Have faith in yourself.
Don’t jinx yourself.
Don’t be over-confident.
Speak clearly and slowly.
Don’t be under-confident.
Talk with expression.
Listen when people are talking to you.
Keep calm. And carry on.
Listen, so you know what you have to answer — so you don’t make a mistake because you didn’t hear the question.
Don’t answer wrong.
Get a good night’s sleep.
It was so sweet, to be held in the loving attention of these young humans, who are part of my teaching congregation, who are my teachers. And then an addition from an adult voice from the pews:
Carry the love of this congregation with you.
* The Big Test is my going before the Ministerial Fellowship Committee in the first week of December. They are a panel of Unitarian Universalist professional ministers and lay people who are responsible for ushering candidates into the next stage of ministry, called preliminary fellowship.
6 thoughts on “Children’s Advice for Seeing the Ministerial Fellowship Committee”
Karen, this is a beautiful story and the advice from our congregation couldn’t be better but the comment from the adult speaks loudly from us all. Go with our love and conquer your challenges!
Thank you — yes, I could hear ALL the voices in the one…
This made me cry. Bookmarking for when I get to the MFC.
Yeah, it was super sweet. And real. May you be surrounded by a similar love when it’s your time.
Beautiful, so beautiful, Karen! Thank you. You take soooooo much love with you to the MFC. 🙂
You, too, darlin’. Each of us in our turn…