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Why look for truth in distant lands? Seek it in the depths of your own heart. — Buddhist saying, adapted

In this session, children are introduced to their own conscience as an inner voice that can guide them to make choices that effect goodness and justice. The quote that opens this session comes from Kindness: A Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom for Children and Parents by Sarah Conover (Boston: Skinner House, 2010). The children will hear a Buddhist story about a boy who recognizes that whatever action he takes, he will be watching himself, and questioning whether it feels right or wrong. Through the story, the children explore times in which they listened to their inner voice and acted on their conscience. They will also explore why it is sometimes hard to hear or follow our conscience.

This session introduces a Moral Compass poster. Make the poster using Leader Resource, Moral Compass Poster. Use the poster, as guided, in this and subsequent sessions to visually represent a variety of "directions" we can go in pursuit of goodness and justice. In this session, children learn that listening to their inner voice is one way to move toward goodness and justice. In other Moral Tales sessions, children will explore other ways to point themselves toward goodness and justice, such as faith (Session 3), forgiveness (Session 5), generosity (Session 9), and perseverance (Session 15). Another way to talk about these "directions" is to describe them as "virtues."

This session also introduces the Gems of Goodness Project. In Activity 1, children receive a notebook and the invitation to document their own acts of goodness and the acts of goodness they witness between Moral Tales sessions. Each subsequent session in Moral Tales provides an opportunity for children to tell the group about these acts of goodness. The children see goodness accumulate as they place plastic gems for each act of goodness into a glass jar.

This session includes an opportunity for the group — children and co-leaders — to affirm the group behavior covenant drafted during Session 1 by signing it together.


This session will:

  • Introduce the concept of having an "inner voice" or conscience
  • Identify the conscience as one of many tools that Unitarians use to search for truth and make moral decisions
  • Strengthen participants' understanding of the concepts included in both parts of the fifth Unitarian Universalist Principle, "right of conscience and the use of the democratic process"
  • Guide participants to notice and document their own acts of goodness and talk about these acts each time Moral Tales meets, in the Gems of Goodness project
  • Strengthen participants' connections to their faith community
  • Strengthen participants' sense of responsibility to the community.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Hear a story about a group of children that learns about conscience
  • Practice recognizing and sharing about times when they have been guided by their consciences, and times when they did not listen to their consciences
  • Articulate an experience they had in which they demonstrated or observed goodness or justice in action
  • Apply multiple perspectives to a moral dilemma by engaging in a role-play
  • Learn each other's names in a name game activity
  • Experience a cooperative clean-up exercise
  • Experience democratic empowerment by signing the behavior covenant they wrote together in Session 1, We Are All One.

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