In his school parents have to volunteer a certain amount of hours each year because the school was literally organized by parents and is ran by us, the parents. So, besides doing my class rotations every week, I also volunteered to go on a field trip with Gorgeous' second grade class. They were visiting the Hindu Temple, about half an hour from home. I had always wanted to visit it, and this was my chance to get to see it AND spend some alone time with my son. Well, alone is a figure of speech because there were 3 classes of about 22 kids each on the same bus. You do the math. To say that the ride was noisy is a complete understatement. Fortunately, I'm an expert in blocking out whiny, demanding kids, so after a few minutes, the noise turned into a drone, white noise. My boy cuddled with me all the way to our destination (we visited a pond first because the class is studying habitats), he nestled with my hair (like when he was a baby), we talked, I saw him joke and play with his little friends. I about burst with pride when I saw him share his lunch with a little boy whose mom had forgotten to pack a lunch for.
At the temple, the kids were so respectful! Most, if not all of them, are LDS, so they know a Temple is a special place of worship. The temple is surrounded by a working farm, and the kids saw miniature cows, peacocks, llamas. The kids could walk the llamas, and they even had a llama race.
Once inside the temple, a gentleman (I assume he was the leader of the congregation, but I lack the correct name for his position. A yogi? Pardon my ignorance) gave us an overview about India. What a fascinating place! After that, we were taken to a second floor, where the children participated in a chant. That experience was mesmerizing to me. Their little bodies swaying with the music, feeling the sacredness of it with their own souls, clapping their hands in unison, and rising their bell-like voices in a mantra as old as the world:
The adults were a little confused about this. Were we supposed to want our kids to chant this mantra, even though God was named in another way than the one we use all the time? I could feel some of the parents were a little uncomfortable, but I felt elated seeing my son being so open to other cultures. I mean, don't get me wrong. I don't want him to embark in an spiritual quest, abandoning the church. But I do want him, and his siblings, to learn that other peoples find God in other places, with other names. And that if the world could learn that, we'd live in Paradise.
After the song, a Yogi taught the kids a few yoga exercises. Again, I couldn't help feeling so envious of these children's capacity to learn, to open their minds and souls to new things.
As a side note, both the Yogi, and the man who gave us the tour were older men. The yoga teacher was almost 50 years old, and I've never seen a person in better shape in my whole life (other than on TV, and not all we see on TV is real). The guide (for lack of the correct word) was in his 70's and he was svelte, and limber, energetic, healthy. There's much to think about that vegetarian diet!
My favorite part of the day?
Gorgeous took my face in his hands, kissed my cheek, and said, "This has been the happiest day of my life."
I can't add any other words to that.
Here's some pics!