These members of our Ethical Culture Society were in our Sunday School during their formative years and are now adults, some with children of their own. Most have become teachers in our Sunday School.
As they teach children in the same tradition in which they grew up, they were asked how their childhood experience in Ethical Culture was transformative. What have they learned? What is the same or different? What are their challenges?
I feel so lucky to be able to bring my son, Emerson, now 7, to ECSS. For him, it isn’t just about the values I strive to instill as his teacher in the elementary class, but because his grandparents are there, and because he has known many of the families since he was 2. It has created a true community of love and support. The values are real for him, as he sees them reflected in the community; the lessons are extra. For me, as a child, there was less connection to my life outside the Society. I’m grateful, though, to have the chance to pass on to Emerson, and soon our baby Eleanora, the traditions I grew up with and to create this shared experience for our family.
As a former Sunday School student, I am influenced in many ways as a current teacher.
I utilize the traditions of Ethical Culture’s past and draw on my experiences to create community-service opportunities and encourage students to see the best in others, as I was taught.
For me, one of the best things about Ethical as a kid was my friends, and that was a big part of why I came back for a second time as a teacher. I enjoy being able to reconnect with people, and that sense of community is part of what makes Ethical so great. Remembering my experiences as a student helps me teach because I remember the things that I disliked about Ethical and the things I liked. I try to talk to my students as equals and try to make my class more like a conversation than simply repeating facts back and forth.
[I understand] that my son has a voice, has a presence, deserves respect, and has rights for basic human dignity.
[I see that] that the value system we share at Ethical Culture is needed even more in today’s world, and that more of my contemporaries appear to share that value system through their own journey through life without Ethical Culture, thus giving me hope that our world has a chance of delivering to my son, Kian, the idea of hope and positivity.
Aimee Brett Kass