Upstairs two members talked about Tet and how the New Year is celebrated in Vietnam. At the end of the presentation they revealed a present that children at a very special school gave to our RE children as a symbol of peace and the New Year. I will share a photo of the embroidery and a link to the school in my next post. Thank you!!
Downstairs we discussed the Fourth Principle which is all about our individual right to search for truth and meaning. The activity to go with this discussion was symbolic. As we were talking about the principle I counted the children and then cut up a poster board with the same number of puzzle pieces as children. Then I asked them to draw a symbol of searching, truth, UUism, or they could write what they believe on their puzzle piece. After ten minutes I called the children back together and the they worked to put the puzzle back whole and when they were done, they asked their puzzle neighbors if they could draw on their pieces.
We join together on Sunday (like a puzzle) to worship in a faith that believes we all have the right to seek and find our own truths (like a piece of the puzzle). I know, its a stretch, but it was FUN!
(In the excitement of putting the puzzle back we realized that I thought there was writing on the wrong side of all the pieces, but one of them did not have writing so the drawing was on the wrong side. Sorry to J!! The other blank piece was from a child who just didn’t feel like drawing, but she was instrumental in putting the puzzle together.)
Thanks to Susan and her expert children’s librarian skills , our small group of K-4th graders spent the entire 40 minute session reading and talking about this book! I loved participating with the children and seeing how they thought through what appeared to be a simple book, but which was in fact a pretty complicated story about a mob of little acorn creatures who take and take until… well, I won’t spoil it, but I will say it took a lot of UU caring and sharing to get through to the end. The pictures are awesome and a good message can be found. Check it out here on Goodreads. I’m not exactly sure I agree with the write-up, but go ahead check it out for yourself! We filled up the whole time with looking at the pictures and talking about the story that we had no time for an activity which I think is a first. And since it was just a day before our national celebration of MLK, our conversation turned to what MLK’s message was and why it was so important for our nation to hear. What do you do when the crowd around you is acting on principles you don’t appreciate or believe in?
This past Sunday we had a whole congregation service based on being present together. For the Time for All Ages we read Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry Lee MacLean. Following the Time for All Ages we read an excerpt from Thich Naht Hanh’s You Are Here. The point of both? Be present, be aware of your breathing. Be calm and focused on the here and now.
Can you guess what we did next?
We breathed in and out.
A minute seems like a very long time when you are focused on your breath.
And yet we did and we did it together. Several times. You could feel the energy in the room. And in the quiet, there was the sound of us gathering in. That sound is very special. I suspect it is that sound of gathering that is what keeps people coming back every Sunday whether they know it or not.
Then we tried a walking meditation while singing the The Plum Village song I have Arrived which you can hear here. I say we tried because so many people got up to walk that it was actually hard to move! What a good problem. Next time we will move in two circles to help us get going.
Thanks to all.
It is a new year. A time when people often set goals and resolutions. Last Sunday in RE, Lesley Smith helped our UU children do two mindfulness exercises. The first was to imagine themselves in the future. What would they be? Who would be with them? What would they be doing? The children’s answers varied between the magical and the real. A writer for fairies, a hovercraft driver, a princes in a castle with a unicorn, a historian. The second activity focused on what it would feel like to be this you. What would it smell, taste, look and sound like?
The third activity was an art project that involved embossing on tinfoil with sharpie pens. Very satisfying. The designs were supposed to represent their intentions for the year to come. The results were beautiful.