Youth LRE Update for June 24

Who cared if there was really any Being to pray to? What mattered was the sense of giving thanks and praise, the feeling of a humble and grateful heart. — Oliver Sacks

LAST SUNDAY’S SESSION: Faith, Hope & Prayers

The children heard the story, “A Sword of Wood,” about a Jewish man whose faith is tested by a shah. The Jew holds fast to his faith and relies on prayer as he meets various challenges. We talked about prayer as an important practice in many world religions. For the purposes of this session, prayer was presented as a two-step practice: first, naming what is in your heart, and second, engaging in deep listening. We made Unitarian Universalist prayer bead necklaces with each bead representing a common type of prayer: praise (gratitude bead), confession (“I’m sorry” bead), petition (wish bead), and intercession (loving wishes on behalf of others bead). We encouraged the children to think about actions we can take that help make our gratitude be felt by others, our apologies be heard by others, our wishes and hopes to become real, and our loving (healing) wishes to be felt by others. Actions that help care for the Earth, caretaking of animals, and thoughtful expressions of caring toward other people were some examples.
We also talked about “Gems of Goodness” which we’ll discuss every Sunday through the end of the summer. If our jar is full of gems at the end of summer, we’ll have a celebration, planned by the kids!
During outdoor classroom time at 10:00: We’ll play Cooperative Musical Hula hoops.
During indoor classroom time at 11:00: We’ll learn about empathy as a tool for treating others with caring, compassion and respect, and for making moral decisions about how to act in the world. We’ll hear a folk tale from Scotland called “The Wounded Seal,” we’ll play a game called “If you could stand in my shoes” and we’ll share our gems of goodness from the week. We’ll also talk about a potential “faith in action” miniproject (see below!)
It’s really important to me that we go beyond just educating our youngsters, by teaching them to use our feelings to make the world a better place. With that in mind, here’s a little heads-up for something I’m going to run past the kids to see if they’re at all interested. If you have any concerns about this, please let me know before the start of service this coming Sunday, either via email or in person on Sunday morning.
Our story this week is about seal hunting. The commercial seal-hunting industry in Canada does very little to promote economic well being for the fisherman, yet has caused the often-cruel deaths of about one million seals over the past 3 years. If the kids are interested in using this topic to get involved, here are a few ideas of what we might decide to do:
  • Writing letters or cards to government officials in Canada (world’s largest sealing country and exporter), to tell them our feelings about commercial seal hunting and why they should eradicate it.
  • Writing thank you notes to advocates working to end seal hunting.
  • Having a bake sale during a future coffee hour, to raise money for an organization that is working to stop seal hunting in Canada.
  • Acting out “The Wounded Seal” during a future church service, to raise awareness among our adult members.
Thanks so much for all of your continued support! As always, please feel free to share feedback on our LRE program – both the things we’re doing well as well as suggestions for improvement.