To understand how individuals in our Unitarian Universalist history have acted faithfully, children need to understand the obstacles these people faced. As the group unpacks the stories of Harriot Kezia Hunt, Christopher Reeve, Fannie Barrier Williams and others, they will encounter difficult justice issues related to gender, skin color and physical ability. Be sensitive to children who may identify with a person who has experienced injustice, perhaps due to their own gender, mobility limitations or skin color but perhaps for another, invisible reason such as a learning disability or something in their family story. However, avoid assuming any child identifies with a particular group or injustice. All children bring a unique perspective to stories about unfairness. Do not put any child on the spot as a spokesperson.
Be ready to talk privately with children who begin to describe situations at home that suggest a safety concern. Speak to your religious education director to ensure your congregation and state safety policies can be followed.
As children learn what it means for actions to express faith and beliefs, some may feel shame or guilt for times when they believe they have acted in ways that do not reflect our Principles. Throughout the program, remember to speak about good choices versus bad choices, rather than good people and bad people. Frequently assure the group that everyone makes mistakes, and our faith encourages us to make things right again and try to make better choices in the future.
Aim to create a learning environment that reflects the Principles you are teaching in Faithful Journeys. Communicate that everyone is welcomed and honored. Model treating everyone fairly. Identify and praise actions that reflect the Principles, as these actions take place in the group. Encourage children to resolve any conflicts by following the "directions" on the Faithful Journey signposts; when they do, mark the occasion by posting a new footprint on the path. Help participants learn experientially to apply the concepts they are learning to their own lives and choices.
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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
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