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Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our very being. — Mohandas K. Gandhi
IN TODAY'S SESSION...
We talked about the importance of making choices that bring peace and do not harm others. After hearing a story in which a boy holds the fate of a bird in his hands, we played a game in which the children had conflict scenarios "in their hands," and were challenged to name non-violent solutions. We also made "WWUUD" bracelets. These initials stand for the question, "What Would a Unitarian Universalist Do?" as a reminder to make choices that reflect our Unitarian Universalist values.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. TALK ABOUT... Talk with your child about times when a conflict situation in your family has been resolved peacefully. Point out times when he or she has been a peacemaker, or share a story about a time when you handled a conflict non-violently. Talk about the strategies you each use to calm down and keep your temper under control.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. TRY...
A FAMILY RITUAL
Post the initials "WWUUD?" in various places around your home. Whenever a conflict situation or a morally questionable action arises in your home, ask one another, "What would U.U. do?" or, in shorthand, "WWUUD?" In order to help answer that question with Unitarian Universalist values in mind, take time as a family to learn about the Unitarian Universalist Principles and Purposes. Set aside one evening a week and discuss each principle in turn at dinner time. Try to include everyone in a conversation about what the principle means, as well as how it should inform our choices and behaviors.
A FAMILY GAME
Make your own family version of the board game, Scruples. Using index cards, write down situations that require ethical thinking, such as whether or not to share your favorite dessert, whether or not to admit that you flushed the rubber ducky down the toilet and caused the overflow, or how to react when given a gift you do not like. Be sure to have situations that children might face. To play the game, turn the deck of index cards over and have each family member in turn choose a card and speak about how they would behave in the given circumstance. You can also bring the cards along to pass the time on long car drives or while waiting in restaurants. Encourage everyone to think about how Unitarian Universalist values influence their answers.
Learn about peacemakers who have worked for justice using non-violent means. Study the lives of such great men and women as Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Lucretia Mott, and Albert Schweitzer.
Read this Caldecott Honor book that tells the story of how Rosa Parks' bravery and perseverance inspired others to take up the cause of desegregation and brought about the Supreme Court ruling that segregation was illegal in the United States: Rosa by Nikki Giovanni (Henry Holt and Company, 2005).
These collections include many folk tales that reinforce peace:
- Spinning Tales, Weaving Hope by E. Brody, et al. (New Society Publishers, 2002)
- Peace Tales by Margaret Read MacDonald (Linnet Books, 1992)
- Kindness: A Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom for Children and Parents by Sarah Conover (Boston: Skinner House, 2010)
Read a picture book that teaches that war is not a game: Playing War by Kathy Beckwith (Tilbury House Publishers, 2005).
Listen to Holding Up the Sky: Peace Tales for Kids (2003), an award-winning CD of stories from around the world read aloud by New Mexico storyteller, Sarah Malone (2003).