Religious Education News – Spring 2020

Some of you may know that I love watching the show, American Idol. For those of you who don’t know the show, it’s a music competition that has launched careers for people such as Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert and Carrie Underwood. I enjoy hearing all the popular music. The judges provide humor and helpful critique.

But what I like the best is watching these incredibly talented young people grow as individuals and as performers and really get a chance to follow their dreams.

So, recently, when American Idol aired the first of their Coronavirus Pandemic episodes, filmed from the contestant’s homes instead of on a huge Hollywood stage, I couldn’t help but feel crest-fallen and a little heartbroken for these contestants. I wasn’t sure if I could even watch. I questioned whether the producers had made the right decision to continue on. Maybe they should have just postponed the competition until things got back to normal.

I stuck with it, watching Ryan Seacrest host from his living room, and the judges comment from their separate homes. The show must have sent each contestant a box of candles and several sets of string lights because each setting featured these items whether they were singing from their living rooms, garages or back porches. I’m still not sure how they managed to arrange the backup band music to accompany the performers but all in all the sound was good. The singers dressed up in glamorous costumes and did their best to fill their performances with emotion and try to connect with an imaginary audience. Some were lucky and had a couple of family members clap for them when they finished but others had to perform alone.

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I share this, because even though none of our children or youth are having to go through this specific scenario, we are all having to make some real life adjustments. The plans we had made, the dreams we were hoping to chase have been either cancelled, postponed or adjusted in ways that leave us struggling to know if the best decision was made.

All of our families are having to figure out how to deal with online everything; educational classes, extracurricular activities, clubs, an endless calendar of Zoom, Google classrooms or hangouts. Birthday celebrations, high school proms, graduations, school concerts and events, summer camps, family vacations have all been cancelled, postponed or adjusted. Even our church has had to do everything online.

So how are we supposed to deal with all of this disappointment, confusion and change?

There is a saying in the entertainment world, “The Show Must Go On.” We can certainly see this in the decision that was made to continue airing American Idol. I suspect much of the decision was financial and contract related. I also suspect the contestants had little say in the matter.

During this Coronavirus Pandemic, we have seen thousands of inspiring and creative ways people are managing through this time, exhibiting flexibility and resilience. If you thrive on creative solutions, go for it. But I also want you to know that it’s okay if you’re not able to put on a show right now. If it’s too much to get dressed up and sing your heart out to an imaginary audience, there will be another season.

In Unitarian Universalist settings, we often talk about the importance of self-care. When we take care of ourselves physically and emotionally, we are much more prepared to handle times of stress and change.

So, take care everyone. Be kind to yourselves. And one day in the future we will . . .

See you in the RE!

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