Activity 4: Shared Values and Respect
Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers and tape
- Optional: Copies of the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook Singing the Living Tradition and its supplement, Singing the Journey
- Optional: An assortment of UUA pamphlets
- Optional: An assortment of UU World magazines
- Optional: Posted UU Principles
Preparation for Activity
- Decide how many resources you will make available and gather them. Your congregation might have UUA pamphlets; if not, you can order them from the UUA Bookstore. You can preview them at the UUA webpage on pamphlets.
Description of Activity
Help youth identify shared Unitarian Universalist values and understand the self- and mutual respect those values help to build.
Begin by asking why the youth and their families are members or friends of your congregation. "Why do you and your families come here? What draws you to this congregation instead of another one?"
Through further questions and discussion help the youth understand that Unitarian Universalists gather and are comfortable together because they share the same values.
Divide the youth into smaller groups of three or four participants. Give each group a sheet of newsprint and markers, and ask them to list some Unitarian Universalist values. If you think your group will benefit from some assistance, make available copies of the Unitarian Universalist hymnbooks, pamphlets, and magazines. Youth can look through them to get some ideas of what UU values are.
Allow three or four minutes for the groups to compile their lists. Then bring the full group together and ask each small group in turn to call out values for you or a co-leader to write on newsprint.
Remind the group as appropriate that one excellent example of Unitarian Universalist values is the statement of UU Principles that appears in the front of Singing the Living Tradition and on wall posters. Be sure that your group's lists reflect most if not all of those values.
Continue the activity with questions like these:
- Do you think all UUs share the same basic values? Is that one reason why they are in UU congregations?
- Is it important to keep company with people who share similar values?
- Do you think some people who have never thought of themselves as religious come to this congregation because it has people who share their values?
- What about you-do you share values with others in this congregation?
- Do you respect other people who share the same values?
- What about people who have different values? Can you respect them as well? Or does that depend on what their values are?
- Do your UU values have anything to do with your own self-respect?
- Is it important to you that the groups you belong to have carefully thought out their values?
- Does it matter whether the people in the group have integrity? (If they do not, they may not live up to the values they say they have.)
Help youth realize that respect for the views of others is a Unitarian Universalist value. This does not mean mindless acceptance of and respect for all ideas. Most UUs do not honor people whose values lead them to lives of violent crime. Ask participants how they would distinguish between differing values they respect and those they might actively oppose. One test might be whether the differing values cause hurt to anybody. It is one thing to respect differing ideas about the existence of God, another to respect values that cause intentional harm.