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If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person's life, sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This session introduces the concept of forgiveness. In our quest to discover what is morally good and just, forgiveness gives us an invaluable tool for strengthening our relationships and choosing compassion. It helps us identify the actions that we take that will lead to connection with others and those that may foster to bitterness. It reminds us of our similarities with one another and empowers us to keep our covenant with one another in our faith communities. It speaks to the third Unitarian Universalist principle of: acceptance of one another and encouragement of spiritual growth.
This session includes a story about two friends who quarrel. One friend chooses forgiveness, focusing on what is best about his friend, rather than on a hurt his friend caused him. This story introduces a metaphor: If we write our memories of the hurts another has caused us in sand, they will quickly be erased. If we carve the memory of a kindness another has shown us in stone, it will endure.
Art and storytelling activities help participants explore forgiveness of self and others in this session. Forgiveness will be added to the Moral Compass. This session also describes a variety of potential next steps in the long-term Faith in Action project, Protecting Seals, begun in Session 4, Empathy.
This session will:
- Foster participants' pride in sharing acts of goodness and justice that they have done (or witnessed)
- Create a forum for children to share with one another about acts of goodness and justice
- Introduce the concept of forgiveness
- Guide participants to share their own experiences of anger, hurt, love and forgiveness
- Lead participants to experience forgiveness of self or another person.
- Help participants reflect on an act of kindness another person has done for them
- Strengthen participants' connection to and sense of responsibility to their Moral Tales group.
- Participate in the Gems of Goodness exercise
- Hear a story illustrating the act of forgiveness
- Explore the feelings and actions of the characters in the story by retelling key parts of the story
- Make personal connections to the feelings and actions of the characters in the story by using a story theater
- Experience letting go of a held resentment through an exercise with sand
- Share a personal story of an act of kindness done to them through an exercise with clay.