CHILD DEDICATION CEREMONY
by Patricia Burnet
I light this candle in honor of Sara Estelle Burnet.
I light this candle in honor of Kyla Anne Burnet.
This ceremony is an opportunity for us to share our delight in
welcoming the new life of Kyla Anne Burnet and to reaffirm our
ongoing joy of Sara Estelle Burnet's presence among us. We also
wish to dedicate ourselves as parents and grandparents to the
nurturing and guidance of these two beautiful emerging human
beings, bundles of potentialities reaching out to realize their
Without question, child-rearing is the most important of all
life's tasks--at times the most challenging, but surely the most
rewarding. Each of us who intimately touches Sara's and Kyla's
lives, but especially you, Paul and Diane, will be an integral
part of their growth and development. They have changed our
lives, enriching them and helping us to grow as we learn to be
more loving, caring and nurturing, more aware and accepting of
No life is totally new. Life emerges from life. Sara and Kyla
have emerged from the lives of Diane and Paul. Diane and Paul
emerged from the lives of us, their parents. We emerged from the
lives of our parent--and we could go back and back in time. But
it is important that we also go forward, in our imaginings, to
future lives emerging through Sara and Kyla. Each of us shares a
responsibility to pass along the physical, mental, and emotional
health, the skills, and the concerns for ensuring a good life for
those who come after us.
We are all connected, and the seeds we sow now and the quality of
our human husbandry will affect the quality of life on through the
generations to come.
It is our responsibility to do all we can, as individuals and in
concert with others, to ensure a safe and peaceful world, and a
clean, abundant environment free from ecological violation.
It is our responsibility to teach and condition life patterns and
attitudes in these children which will lead to adults equipped
with abilities to contribute to a healthy personal, social and
Hope do we do this?
How does a child learn?
If a child lives with tolerance, she learns to be patient...
If a child lives with encouragement, she learns to be confident...
If a child lives with praise, she learns to be appreciative...
If a child lives with acceptance, she learns to love...
If a child lives with approval, she learns to like herself...
If a child lives with recognition, she learns to have goals...
If a child lives with honesty, she learns to be truthful...
If a child lives with fairness, she learns justice and cooperative
give and take...
If a child lives with security, she learns to have faith in
herself and others...
If a child lives with friendliness, she learns the world is a nice
place in which to live...
Thus a child learns: by wiggling skills through her fingers and
toes into herself, by soaking up habits and attitudes of those
around her, by pushing and pulling her own world.
Thus a child learns: more through trial and error, more through
pleasure than pain, more through experience than suggestion, more
through suggestion than direction.
Thus a child learns: through affection, through love, through
patience, through understanding, through belonging, through doing,
Day by day the child comes to know a little bit of what you know,
to think a little bit of what you think, to understand your
understanding. That which you dream and believe and are, in
truth, becomes the child.**
Your children are not your children.
They are the...daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you, and though they are with
you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have
their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls
dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even
in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are
From a bow that is stable, the arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending be for gladness.***
Now, Sara, we want to tell you about some gifts that we have for
you and Kyla. You know about the kind of gifts or presents which
you can see and hold in your hand, maybe untie a ribbon and take
off the pretty wrapping paper. But there are other gifts which
you cannot see but which will be far more valuable to you. These
gifts which your Mommy and Daddy and your Grandmas and Grandpas
have for you and Kyla.
(Unison reading of underlined words)
WE GIVE YOU LOVE, which says we want the very best for you, that
unconditional love which is the great essential element in a
atmosphere for growth.
WE GIVE YOU HUGS AND KISSES, which let us show you that we really
WE GIVE YOU HEALING, from the hurts and pains which are a part of
WE GIVE YOU LISTENING, so we can try to know and understand what
you really think and care about.
WE GIVE YOU SHARING, so that you can learn from us and we can
learn from you.
WE GIVE YOU LAUGHTER AND TEARS, laughter so that your heart may be
filled with joy and pleasure (most of the time), and the healing
comfort of tears when there is pain.
WE GIVE YOU SAFETY, to the extent that is within our
WE WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU AND CARE FOR YOU, SARA AND KYLA, AS YOU
GROW AND DEVELOP INTO GROWN-UP PERSONS.
TO THIS WE DEDICATE OURSELVES.
Our world is richer, Sara and Kyla, for having you with us. We
all love you very dearly.
I present this rose to you, Diana, and to you, Paul, in honor of
your commitment to the care of these beautiful budding human
I present this rose to you, Sara, because you are a beautiful
budding human flower.
And to you, Kyla--our newest beautiful budding human flower.
(Invite Sara to blow out the candles.)
** From "Thus a Child Learns", by Frederick Moffitt
*** Paraphrased from The Prophet. by Kahlil Gibran
All material here not quoted from other sources is:
(C) Copyright 1991 by Patricia Burnet
So long as profit is not your motive and you always include this
copyright notice, please feel free to reproduce and distribute
this material in electronic form for the use of other ceremonial
officiants. All other permission must be sought from the author
through the Humanist Society of Friends, which can be contacted at
the following address:
HUMANIST SOCIETY OF FRIENDS
7 HARWOOD DRIVE
AMHERST NY 14226
Phone: (800) 743-6646