Activity time: 3 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
- Moral Compass poster
- A bold marker, or a piece of card stock and tape or a stapler
- Optional: One copy of Singing the Living Tradition
- Optional: Music CD or tape, and music player
- Optional: A guitar, piano or other instrument
Preparation for Activity
- Look at Hymn 414 in Singing the Living Tradition, "As We Leave This Friendly Place," and make sure you can lead the group in singing it. If it is unfamiliar, you might ask your music director to teach it to you before this session.
- If you prefer, choose an alternate song for your closing ritual. Find some suggestions in Session 1, Leader Resource, Alternate Closings. It is recommended that you use the same Closing song in every session.
- If you are uncomfortable leading a song, you can invite a musical volunteer to do it for you. Or, ask your music director to record the song, and use the recording to lead the group. You might even like to record the congregation's choir singing it.
- Write the words of the closing song on newsprint and place it where the children will be able to see it during the Closing.
- Place the Moral Compass poster where all of the children can see it.
- Write the word "Balance" on a piece of card stock to attach to the Moral Compass poster. Or, if you prefer, plan to write the word "Balance" directly on the poster.
- Customize, print out, and photocopy the Taking It Home section for all participants.
Description of Activity
This activity helps the children get used to practicing a closing ritual as a way of affirming their part in the faith community.
Gather the group in a circle. Thank the children for participating and sharing their stories and ideas in this session. Tell them something you liked about the way they worked together as a community.
Point out the Moral Compass poster. Say, in your own words:
Our Moral Compass shows us ways to do good things and make good decisions. Today we heard a story about a time when nature got out of balance because of a mistake made by human scientists. Unitarian Universalists believe that balance is very important in our interdependent web of all existence. We believe that to live in balance and to care for the Earth are acts of goodness and justice. We're going to add "Balance" as a direction on our Moral Compass.
Post or write the word "Balance" on the Moral Compass poster.
Remind the children that the next time they meet they will have a chance to add more gems to the Gems of Goodness jar. Encourage them to write down the acts of goodness and justice they do (or witness). You may like to invite them to pay special attention to times when people, including themselves, interact thoughtfully with nature and perform acts that help to keep the balance.
If appropriate, remind them that when the jar is full of gemstones, you will have a special celebration. You may wish to encourage them to try using forgiveness the other virtues you have posted on the Moral Compass poster.
Lead the children in singing Hymn 414 in Singing the Living Tradition, "As We Leave This Friendly Place." If the hymn is unfamiliar to some of the children, teach it line by line and then sing it once through together.
The song's lyrics are:
As we leave this friendly place,
Love give light to every face;
May the kindness which we learn
Light our hearts till we return.
Distribute the Taking It Home handout you have prepared. If new participants need to take home a Gems of Goodness notebook and parent handout, make sure they have these. Thank the children, tell them you look forward to seeing them next time, and dismiss the group.