A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Hold a true friend with both your hands.
— Nigerian proverb
IN TODAY'S SESSION…
Today we talked about the intangible gift of friendship. Friends can be people we have known a long time or people we just met.
In the story, How Coyote Lost His Songs, Music and Dance, a coyote decides that he doesn't want to be around his friends. As he abandons his friends to go off and be alone, he loses his ability to sing, dance and make music. Through a dream, he learns how his friends enrich his life in such a way that they inspire his music, song and dance. The children made “friendship flowers” to share with someone special. They also sang the song, “Make New Friends.”
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about…
How do you make friends as a family? Have you vacationed and met people whom you have kept in touch with? Even if you don't see friends you meet on vacation again, recall how they made the vacation more fun by sharing experiences. Think about the friends you have made in your life, and talk about why it is important to have friends.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try…
… reaching out to an old friend you have not spoken to in a long time. Talk as a family about someone you all remember, perhaps from an old neighborhood, a previous school or job, or another congregation. Contact them and ask how they are doing. You can have your child draw a picture to send to that friend.
FIND OUT MORE
In Native American oral storytelling traditions, Coyote is a character that appears as a male trickster and sometimes a buffoon. In a typical story about Coyote, he gets himself into trouble and, as he gets himself out, the listener learns some new wisdom along with Coyote. In Kenneth Collier’s book, Our Seven Principles in Story and Verse: A Collection for Children and Adults (Boston: Skinner House, 1997), Coyote is the protagonist of a tale that illustrates why it is important to appreciate our friends.
We will hear the story Sneetches by Dr. Seuss and then play Star Tag! We'll learn about some of the special things different people in our group can do and consider the Unitarian Universalist belief that everyone is important and valuable.
We are using a chalice and mirrors to help us explore the mysteries of flame and self. On our UU Quest, participants look for meaning in the chalice and its light. The Energy Burner offers an amusing experience with a mysterious, imaginary ball. The Inner Quest activity calls for the creation of “mirror boards” which we will use throughout The Questing Year.
This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek. — Terry Tempest Williams
Talk about the quote with family and friends. During which activities do you feel a greater sense of faith? Of spirituality? Of religion?
WHAT WE DID TODAY
Today's Big Question is “What are we?” We said that one possible answer to that is that we are Unitarian Universalists. We asked another question that is big for us: “What are Unitarian Universalists?” We answered that partly with a story and partly with our own ideas. We thought about what religion, faith and spirituality have in common, how they are different, and what each might mean to us as a UU.
We made murals about answering congregations and questioning congregations. We said that the Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion because instead of telling people all the answers, it supports the individual's search for answers and accepts that we all do not have to share the same beliefs about everything. We discussed some of the beliefs UUs do share and how we put our Faith in Action.
ANSWERING TODAY'S BIG QUESTION
What do family members and friends have to say about the question: “What are we?”
Go together to a place that is special to your family. Sit quietly together at the place and talk about what the place would tell a stranger about your family. You might try the same thing with some of your friends.
REFLECT ON YOUR RELIGION
What do people in your family mean when they use the words “faith,” “religion” and “spirituality”? Ask them. The definitions may be different from those we heard and shared in the group.
Photograph something that shows what you are as a person—an item you like to have, or a place outside your house that feels like another home to you.
Do something musical. Try making music by singing, or playing instruments together. Go to a concert that everybody will enjoy. Talk about any musical rituals your family has. Do you listen to certain songs at special times or holidays? Do a family's musical rituals help show who and what the family is?
FAMILY FAITH IN ACTION
Another way to answer the question “What are we?” is that we are citizens of the world. What does your family do to help others in the world? If you need a place to start, share the Kiva website (at www.kiva.org) and read about opportunities to make small loans that may help save lives.
Coming of Age
This Sunday we are exploring our Gifts and Talents. We will consider whether we agree or disagree with the following statements:
The talents and gifts that I have come from God or a higher power.
The talents and gifts that I have are things which I inherited from my parents.
The talents and gifts that I have I developed on my own.
Later in the session we will participate in a Guided Meditation where will have an opportunity to learn about our individual gifts to the world.
Things to Discuss at Home:
What do members of your family see as their special gifts and talents which can help them on their journey through life?
What do they carry with them to help them along when the going gets tough?