Activity time: 30 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Handout 2, Teachers, Mentors, and Role Models – A Letter of Thanks
- Pens or pencils
- Clock, watch, or timer that shows seconds
- One copy of Singing the Living Tradition, the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook
- Optional: Cordless microphone
Preparation for Activity
- Copy Handout 2 for all participants.
- Find and mark Reading 447 in Singing the Living Tradition.
Description of Activity
Open the activity by offering Reading 447 by Albert Schweitzer in Singing the Living Tradition. Explain that each of us has cause for gratitude to those who have been teachers, mentors, and role models for us-those who have helped us become who we are today. Say:
In this activity, you will have the opportunity to express gratitude to your teachers, mentors, and role models. Expressing gratitude is a spiritual practice, even when this gratitude is not communicated to the recipient.
Distribute Handout 2. Invite participants to read the directions. Participants should fill out the front first, and then write their personal "thank yous" on the back. Explain that participants will share their writing with a partner after the reflection and writing time has ended. This is important to note, so that participants do not write something that is too private to share. Allow fifteen minutes for participants to reflect and write.
After fifteen minutes, ring the bell. Invite participants to find a partner, preferably with someone they do not know well. If you have an odd number of participants, invite one group to form a triad. Say:
You are invited to take turns sharing your letter of thanks, while the other(s) listens attentively. After each speaker finishes, let there be a moment of silence between you When you have each (or all three) shared, express gratitude to one another and rejoin the group.
Allow three or four minutes for pairs or triads to share. When the whole group has re-gathered, initiate discussion with these questions:
- What was it like to reflect on and express gratitude in this way?
- How is gratitude a spiritual practice? In what ways did you feel a spirituality in the act of focusing on your gratitude to teachers, mentors, or role models?
- How can expressing our gratitude affect our sprits? How about receiving someone else's gratitude?
- What will you carry forward from this activity?