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CYRE Taking It Home January 10

Rainbow Walkers

Nor need we power or splendor, wide hall or lordly dome;
The good, the true, the tender – these form the wealth of home. – Sarah J. Hale

IN TODAY’S SESSION…
We’re talking about families. We will hear the true story of Roy and Silo, two male penguins who partnered and raised a chick, Tango. This is our starting point to discuss how families come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. We’ll not only discuss what makes families different from one another, we’ll talk about what makes them the same. We will share ways people in families care for one another.
We will also discuss our faith family: the people who are part of our Unitarian Universalist congregation, our faith home.

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about…
You can expand on the discussion about families that we had today by sharing stories of your own family. Children this age generally love to hear stories about how their parents met, and how they decided to form a family. In families where divorce and/or remarriage is part of the story, sharing memories and feelings can be a helpful part of processing the ways families can change, as well as reinforcing the lesson that families come in different shapes and sizes. This is also a good opportunity to repeat stories with children who have been adopted that both honor their birth families and reaffirm their place in their forever family.

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try…
A Family Ritual
We talked in our class about the different roles or jobs that people have in families, but you can also honor these roles through a family ritual. Around the dinner table, before bedtime or at another calm period in the day you might want to light your chalice or a candle. Then, focus on one family member at a time, having each other person in the family say “I honor you for the way you…”, completing the sentence with the different things the person does for the family. These could be tangible efforts, such as earning money to support the family or taking out the garbage, but they could just as well be roles like “making us laugh,” “giving great hugs,” or “appreciating my banana pancakes.”

You might prefer to do this ritual over the course of days, so that before dinner each night a different person is honored.

A Family Adventure
In the story of Roy, Silo and Tango, the children heard how a penguin makes an offer of “marriage” to another penguin by presenting a specially selected pebble. During a trip to the beach, the river or simply in your own back yard you can go on a hunt for special pebbles. You may be amazed how, if you look closely, there are pebbles of surprising colors, shapes or textures. Encourage family members to choose one very special pebble that they’ve found to give as a gift to another family member.

FAMILY DISCOVERY
For children’s books with illustrations that reflect family diversity, visit the online Unitarian Universalist Bookstore. You will find And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole (Simon & Schuster, 2006), which tells the story of the penguin family we discussed in this session.
Also check out the books offered by the Global Fund for Children.
Lee & Low Publishers specializes in multicultural books for children.
Many resources can be found by searching online, talking to librarians, inquiring in bookstores, or looking through book lists available from schools and libraries.
A wide variety of books and other resources on family diversity are listed at Bay Area Mosaic .

Seekers

Being a Unitarian Universalist is not easy. Perhaps you have already found some of the difficulty. One reason is that our traditions come from many sources.

When America was first populated by the Puritan Pilgrims, they would not have guessed that their religious beliefs would have grown into our liberal religion. Our Unitarian Universalist congregational traditions came from the Puritans. When the Puritans settled their parishes with a community church in which all people in the community had a vote in how the church was to run and the money to run the church came from these same people, it allowed the community to change the direction of the church.

When America was first populated by the Puritan Pilgrims, they would not have guessed that their religious beliefs would have grown into our liberal religion. Our Unitarian Universalist congregational traditions came from the Puritans. When the Puritans settled their parishes with a community church in which all people in the community had a vote in how the church was to run and the money to run the church came from these same people, it allowed the community to change the direction of the church.

When John Murray came to America, he began speaking about a loving God, which was one of the basic beliefs of Universalism.

Another man had begun his life of preaching in London as a Unitarian, because he did not believe that God was three people: God, the Father; God, the Son; and God, the Holy Spirit. Instead, he believed God was simply God. And Jesus was a man, a teacher and not the son of God. When he came to America, he continued preaching his Unitarian ideas. His name was Joseph Priestley

In the 1960s, the Unitarian and Universalist churches merged to become Unitarian Universalist. Our religion has continued to be liberal with an open mind to the religious questions people have struggled with in all times and places.

Unitarian Universalists are a “non-creedal” religion: no one is asked to say a set statement of beliefs, which is a creed. Instead we agree to try to live by the seven Unitarian Universalist promises.

Questers

Unitarian Universalists seek always to discover deeper truth and meaning in our lives and in our experience of the world. — Gail Forsyth-Vail

IN TODAY'S SESSION…
The children heard the story of Charles Darwin, who followed his own path to become a naturalist despite his father's expectations that he become a physician. Darwin 's way of perceiving the world gave humankind the gift of his observations and conclusions about life on Earth and our place within it.
We talked about being true to oneself. We explored the unique and changeable nature of how we view the world. The children made an outer self-portrait (how others see them) and an inner self-portrait of thoughts, wishes and dreams.

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER.
Talk about what it means to observe carefully and why and how we each use a unique lens as we look at our world. What does it mean that each person sees things differently?

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER.
Try a family activity. Everyone gets a clean sock. Decorate the outer part of the sock with buttons, ribbon, and other materials found around the house. For the inside of your sock, write or draw on little pieces of paper your thoughts, wishes and dreams. Fold these and place them inside. You might like to fill each sock in a ceremonious way, with a candle-lighting to begin and words for each person's sock-filling such as:
Bless (family member), beloved inside and out.
Invite family members to share what they have written on the paper and talk about what it reveals.

FAMILY ADVENTURE
Walk through your home together and examine your windows. Are they framed as decorations or “dressed” in a way that encourages people to look outward? Or walk outside. Do your windows invite looking in or are they closed to outside passers-by?

Explorers

We’re talking current events and our UU values! Can solar panels help provide the energy we use? Is it a good option for other parts of the world? Is energy consumption fair? What are your thoughts?

Coming of Age

Are people born good or bad, or do they become that way through their life's experiences?
What do you think?

Coming of Agers will consider their opinion about the statement: All people have the potential to do good, but may choose to do evil instead.
They will then hear about the boys involved in the Columbine shooting and consider the effects of bullying, harassment and abuse on people’s actions. They’re discussing the effects of watching violent shows, playing violent video games and listening to shock rock.

Then we will discuss that Unitarian Universalists, regardless of their beliefs about the nature of God/Goddess/Great Spirit/Divine Presence or beliefs about what happens after we die, agree that we all have the power to do good. We also firmly believe in the value of justice, equity, and compassion in human relations – which means when a person chooses to do evil – everyone suffers.

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