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In "Faithful Journeys," a Tapestry of Faith program
This activity will help children discover and implement ways they can use the democratic process to lobby government officials for a change their conscience tells them is needed. Say, in your own words:
Unitarian Universalists believe in the democratic process. For the democratic process to work, people have to get involved.
Ask the children for ideas of how to get involved in a democracy. Affirm voting for a president, a mayor, or another official; campaigning for the election of a leader you believe will make good decisions; or working to make changes in our laws or make new laws.
When you are older, you will be able to vote for leaders who, in turn, can work for change by improving our laws. But people of any age can get involved in a democracy by telling our leaders and decision-makers what we want and what we think.
Ask the children for examples of leaders and decision-makers — people who have power to change or make laws. Affirm the
president; your state's governor; a mayor, selectman/woman or city council member; a senator or representative. Affirm that your congregation uses democratic process and has leaders (e.g., minister, director of religious education, music director, board president and lay leaders).
NOTE: In a child's experience, school and family also have "laws" and leaders (principals, teachers, parents) who make them. Be ready to clarify that there are situations where adults have power and responsibility to make decisions for children. However, because we live in a democracy, most schools, communities and families have rules that promote both safety and fairness. These groups provide, or could provide, ways for children to contribute their ideas about good, safe and fair rules. You might say:
As Unitarian Universalists, we believe children have both a right and responsibility to contribute their ideas about matters that concern them, especially when their conscience tells them something isn't right or fair.
Tell the group about the action campaign you have chosen. Brainstorm to generate a list of leaders who have power to make change; record ideas on newsprint. Then, brainstorm actions the group can take to communicate to those leaders about the issue. Discuss messages or pictures they might want to send. For example, to promote protection of polar bears from global warming, the group could send postcards with artwork about polar bears, telling state and federal legislators why an icy environment is necessary for polar bears to survive. Write key words or phrases on newsprint for children to copy.
Gather participants at work tables and invite them to create messages that express their thoughts and feelings about the campaign issue. Actively circulate to help children organize materials and articulate their ideas.
Collect finished products and prepare for mailing or delivery.
Children this age show a wide range in writing ability. Give children the option of dictating their thoughts for an adult or another child to write.
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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
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