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God has not called on me to be successful. He has called on me to be faithful. — Mother Teresa

This session emphasizes the virtues of courage and perseverance. To act out of goodness and for justice often requires courage, determination and the will to keep going despite many challenges.

In this session we will hear a Jakata story from the Buddhist tradition about a parrot that carries drops of water in its feathers back and forth from the river in order to save the animals of a burning forest. The Devas (the Gods) initially laugh at what they think is a fruitless effort, but later one Deva is moved by the love and courage of the little parrot. The Deva's tears add to the parrot's drops and the fire is extinguished. We too may act alone, and against all odds, but when we are compelled by conscience and love, our continued efforts can catch the attention of others and cause something greater to happen spiritually and in the world.

In our culture of "everything now," our children need more than ever to learn the value of perseverance when most products and information can now be had with the press of a button or the exchange of money, and there are fewer opportunities to work hard for something. Yet, perseverance is one important key to success in utilizing all other virtues. As Unitarian Universalists we seek to bring our faith to action. Helping our young people gain the skills and confidence to persist for what they believe in will help them to become leaders and people of moral action.

In this session the children will also hear stories about everyday people, children and adults, who have persisted against great odds for what they believed. They will do an art activity inspired by these stories. The Faith in Action project offers the children a chance to emulate the brave little parrot with an effort to gather coins, one by one, to fill a jar and donate the funds for a cause of their choosing. The activities in this session also inspire us to understand the Unitarian Universalist Principles, particularly the inherent worth and dignity of every person and respect for the interdependent web of all existence. "Perseverance" will be added to the Moral Compass poster.


This session will:

  • Foster participants' pride in sharing acts of goodness and justice that they have done (or witnessed)
  • Create a forum for participants to share with one another about acts of goodness and justice
  • Deepen participants' understanding of what it means to persevere when acting from conscience and compassion
  • Help participants identify situations in which they have worked hard for something that was important to them
  • Introduce stories about real people who have worked hard for what they believed in
  • Give participants the opportunity to experience a song which symbolizes the courage and perseverance that fueled the Civil Rights Movement
  • Strengthen participants' connection to and sense of responsibility to their Moral Tales group.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Participate in the Gems of Goodness exercise
  • Hear a story that illustrates courage and perseverance when one is compelled by conscience and compassion.
  • Discuss perseverance and share stories of times when they have worked hard for something important.
  • Learn about a variety of real children and adults who worked hard for what they believed in
  • Engage in visual or verbal expression by creating a comic strip or book about a real-life hero who worked hard for something they believed in.

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