We did not weave the web of life;
We are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web,
We do to ourselves
— attributed to Chief Seattle, chief of the Duwamish Nation
IN TODAY'S SESSION… we heard the story, “The Grumpy Gecko,” which showed that all living beings on the Earth are connected on a great invisible web of life. We talked about our seventh Unitarian Universalist Principle, respect for the interdependent web of which we are all a part, and how our group is also an interdependent web. We created a covenant, or promises to each other for our time together, recognizing that what one person does affects the whole web. We added a picture of a gecko to our World of Wonder mural to remind us that we are all connected.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about the ways in which your family is part of the interdependent web of life. Discuss the ways members of a family are interdependent and the ways individuals in a family influence one another.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Create a family covenant. Most families have explicit rules, as well as many that go unspoken. Set some time aside to identify behaviors that help the family thrive. List the promises you are all willing to keep and have each member of the family sign the covenant. Try to state your expectations in positive terms rather than negative. For example, instead of saying “Don't be selfish,” you can say, “Be generous.” Empower all members of the family to be keepers of the covenant and point out when it has been broken. If you like, work together to create a list of apology actions, such as apologizing, giving a hug, fixing something, or giving someone some space. You can use these actions to help make things right after a transgression. For an example, see the “Family Pledge of Non-Violence” on the Parenting for Peace and Justice website.
A Family Adventure. Go on a “web walk” early in the morning to find as many spider webs glistening with dew as you can. Notice how intricate they are. How are they like the invisible web of all life that people are a part of?
Family Discovery. Watch nature shows such as “Planet Earth” on PBS, Netflix, or DVD. Subscribe to nature magazines like National Wildlife Federation's Big Backyard or Ranger Rick; even small donations to Sierra Club and other organizations usually bring high quality nature magazines to your door. Talk about the interdependence that exists between different animals and plants you learn about. What links can you observe?
A Family Game. Create a web together with a ball of yarn, as the group did in today's session.
A Family Ritual. Practice a gratitude bedtime ritual in which you take turns naming different animals and plants. Say thank you to each living being for a way it is important in the web of life and in your life. Optional: Extend the ritual to include people.
In our era the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action. — Dag Hammarskjold
IN TODAY'S SESSION… Unitarian Universalists express faith in our actions and behaviors. For our Faithful Journeys group we created a path and put our footprints all along the path. Then we walked our Faithful Journeys Path, stopping to hear three stories about people who put their Unitarian Universalist faith into action.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Read and talk about the Principles together:
We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Walking in Principle. Select a Principle to act on and set out together on a Faithful Journeys walk. You might clean up litter as you walk together, as an expression of the importance of the interdependent web. Or, take an observation walk in which you try to notice and learn as much as you can as an expression of the free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
A FAMILY RITUAL
Using the Principles handout your child brought home, write down each Principle on a slip of paper. Fold the slips in half and place them in a small container. Each morning, have each member of the family pull out a slip of paper. Challenge yourselves to think of something you can do during the day to match the Principle you selected. At dinnertime, talk about what you did.
A FAMILY GAME
Using the Principles handout your child brought home, create match game cards with adult language on one set and children's language on the other. Play a traditional match game in which the goal is to turn over the cards and find a match that pairs the children's language of a particular Principle with the adult language.
FIND OUT MORE
Harriot Hunt and the Motts
The treatment Drs. Elizabeth and Richard Dixon Mott provided her sister, Sarah, inspired Harriot Kezia Hunt to learn the Motts' healing practices. However, in 1830s Boston , the Motts were considered quacks. According to the article, ” Mrs. Mott, 'The Celebrated Female Physician (at http://www.historicnewengland.org/NEHM/2005WinterSpringPage11.htm),' in Historic New England online magazine (2005):
“Boston was also home to many alternative medical practitioners who sought to cure patients without poisonous drugs and strong interventions…. Serious competitors in the burgeoning urban medical marketplace, they advertised their cures in local newspapers and directories and gained followings well beyond Boston . Even so, Mrs. Mott was an anomaly in the early nineteenth century, when both traditional medicine and alternative medicine were male preserves. For centuries women had administered home remedies to their sick relatives, but doctors who had graduated from professional medical training programs began to supplant such female healers. It would take decades for women to gain access to medical schools.”
Unitarian Universalist Principles
For more about the Unitarian Universalist Principles read With Purpose and Principle: Essays About the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism, edited by Edward A. Frost (Boston: Skinner House Books, 1998).
We are creating ALIENS! The aliens will help us on our Inner Quest throughout the year. The Inner Quest helps us answer questions such as: Who are you? What are you like? How are you different? What's your place in the world? We'll also play Line Ups and work on our first UU Quest ( helps us answers questions such as: What does it mean to be a Unitarian Universalist? How do UUs live out their principles?)
This week we are exploring cooperation and covenant. We'll try to take a walk, as a group, tied together at the ankles! Then we'll discuss what happens in a group if one person does not cooperate. We'll consider how the Explorers group depends on each of us for success. We'll hear about the Buddhist 8 Fold Path and create a covenant as we consider the question: How do I know how to live my life?
Coming of Age
“It’s good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” Ursula K. LeGuin, contemporary author
Does your faith guide you in your journey through life? What does it mean to be on a spiritual journey? We'll talk about our journey through life and how our personal faith or theology can help guide us on our path.