This week children used stones as part of their practice bringing their attention to the present moment. They experimented with using their senses as a tool for focus, noticing the sight and feel of stones. Children tried it a couple of different ways, both guided and using a chime as a signal. Later children chose a special stone to keep in a pocket to as a special reminder of qualities that they would like to develop. All kids enjoyed using acrylics to paint the rocks with special symbols.
The children spent the first part of the morning thinking about who they are, what they like, where they like to do things (inside and outside), favorite colors, animals and other important questions. Following the list-making, while they listened to Julius Lester’s book Let’s Talk About Race, they used mirrors and a variety of media to create self portraits.
Lester’s book is a frank discussion written at a child’s level of understanding. What I like about the book is that when you read it out loud it feels like Lester is sitting next to you. The conversational and personal tone makes this difficult subject perfectly normal and every day which is what I think is necessary in order for our children to feel comfortable with the subject. Lester emphasizes that yes, we are all different on the surface and we all like and dislike different things, but deep down, we are all made up of the same bones.
“I am a story. So are you.” – Julius Lester
Unfortunately, there was no time for the children to share details about themselves so we will have to find some time next week. We did have a quick minute to refer to our UU principles and see that Lester, like UUs, advocates for treating people equally.
This year’s water communion took on new meaning since Hurricane Harvey had just devastated the Houston area and Irma was churning up the Florida coast at the very time we were in worship. In an effort to acknowledge the pain, suffering and destruction Rev. Frado led the children in a water pouring ritual that named all the good things we get from water, but also the power of water to take things away.
Congregational RESPONSE after each line: We respect water for all that it gives and all that it takes away.
We need clean water to drink.
We need clean water to bathe ourselves.
We need clean water to grow food.
We need clean water for all the animals of the earth.
We need clean water for the fish and plants in the oceans and
We need water when the land is too dry.
We need to respect the power of water when it floods the land.
We hold in our hearts all those who thirst for water and all those
who have been harmed by it.
We, ourselves, are living streams, and we meet and merge to
become one strong community.
Downstairs we got reacquainted with each other which included writing a new covenant and sharing our joys and concerns.
Our activity for the morning was challenging. I split them into three groups and gave each group a bottle of “dirty” water (water with food coloring, dirt, wood chips, stones). I asked them to figure out how to clean their water and told them they could use the supplies on the table (cotton balls, cotton and muslin cloth, duct tape, various plastic containers and funnels of different sizes).
Oh, how hard it can be to wait your turn, to get people to listen and to figure out jobs so no one feels left out! At the end of the activity (about twenty minutes) each group shared the technique that worked the best for their group. We wrapped the activity up by talking about filters and water systems and how important they are for us to be healthy.