Taking It Home
Riches that leave another poor I do not want. — Andre Gide
IN TODAY'S SESSION...
Today we talked about the importance of fairness and justice, including the necessity of taking action in the face of injustice. We heard a story about a kingdom wherein many people are hungry because a greedy king hoards the food for himself. A huge dog is brought to the kingdom and it barks continuously until all people in the kingdom are adequately fed. We practiced being allies for justice through barking at unfair situations in a game. We also demonstrated unfairness through the concrete example of our snack. Some children received an abundant amount of a variety of foods, while others were served small portions of one food item only. Everyone took turns acting as "watchdogs for justice," barking as long as the situation remained unfair. We worked to make the situation fair and afterwards talked about the experience together.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER . TALK ABOUT... Ask your child to tell you about our unfair snack experience. As a family try to answer some of the following questions, being sure to include everyone, regardless of age:
- What do we have lots of that we can share with other people? This can be material goods, money, time, or talent.
- Does anyone have an example of a time when he or she stood up for justice?
- Does anyone have an example of a time when someone stood up for justice on his or her behalf?
- Are there any examples of injustice we can think of that we should take action upon?
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. TRY...
A FAMILY RITUAL
For a period of a week or a month, have each family member give up something that costs money which he/she enjoys, but which is not necessary for general health and well being. For example, give up chocolate, potato chips, going to the movies, buying toys, cable TV, text messaging or eating out at restaurants. Set aside the money that would have been spent on this item or activity. Donate it to an organization that works for economic justice such as: the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (www.uusc.org), the Heifer Project International (www.heifer.org) or Global Envision (www.globalenvision.org). Kiva is a micro-lending/micro-granting organization that works internationally.
Ritualize your commitment in a ceremony. Have each person decorate a rock to represent the item or activity he or she is giving up. Sit in a circle and say something like, "As long as there are people in the world who do not have enough food to eat, clean water to drink, a home to live in, and access to education and medicine, all people must work for justice. In small ways we can change our lives so that others can create better lives." Have each person put his or her rock into a decorative container and state, "I will live simply that others may simply live. I promise to give up ____ for one week/month." If desired, you can allow time for each person to explain why he/she has chosen to give up that particular item or activity.
Place the decorative container filled with rocks in a central, visible location in your home. Place a jar or piggy bank near the rocks and use it to collect the money you would have spent on the item or activity you have given up.
At the end of the week or month, gather together again to discuss the amount of money you were able to save for donation and your experience of giving up an enjoyed activity or item. Have each person light a candle of hope, expressing a wish or prayer for the people of the world.
A FAMILY GAME
Adopt the practice of "barking" whenever you are aware of injustice. Make it a family signal that something unfair has occurred. Although this is not a game in the traditional sense, it can serve the purpose of bringing some levity and humor to a tense situation, while also bringing attention to unfairness and encouraging all family members to take responsibility for acting in the face of injustice.
Learn about the make-up of our world with this picture book that makes population numbers more concrete and is informative for people of all ages:
- If the World Were a Village: A Book About the World's People by David J. Smith (Kids Can Press, 2002)
Learn about the global distribution of wealth with these books which use respectful photographs from around the world to visually demonstrate levels of wealth as displayed in material possessions and differing food habits and expenditures:
- Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel; text by Charles C. Mann (Sierra Club Books, 1994)
- Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio; (Ten Speed Press, 2005)
Learn about classism online.
Learn about ways to reduce world poverty through the global free market system on the website of Global Envision.
- Emphasize sharing with this popular picture book about a fish that is covered in beautiful scales and learns to share them with the other fish, Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister (North-South).