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In "Moral Tales," a Tapestry of Faith program
Tell the children that you are going to replay certain parts of the story so that they can ask questions and share experiences they have had that were similar to those in the story. Introduce each part you want to revisit by saying:
Let's go back to the place in the story where...
Let's go back to the place in the story where... Nagib slapped his friend Mussa.
Guide a discussion using these questions:
Stop here and tell the children that it is not wrong to feel anger. When someone hurts us or someone we love, anger is a natural reaction. Talk to them about how sometimes anger causes us to act in ways that we regret. But sometimes, if we are careful like Mussa, we can choose a way of responding that will make us feel good in the long run. Remind them that Mussa made a choice to forgive.
Let's go back to the place in the story... where Mussa wrote in the sand.
Lead a discussion with these questions:
Let's go back to the place in the story... where Nagib saved Mussa from drowning.
Let's go back to the place in the story... where Mussa wrote in stone.
Remind the children:
It feels good when we keep track of things others do to help us. And, although it can be hard to do, it also feels good when we let go of things others did that hurt us.
It is important to say that forgiving does not necessarily mean that we forget how someone else has hurt us. Sometimes if there is a person who is unkind to us we need to remember what they can be like so that we don't get hurt again. You might ask the children if they have any examples of this. If you need to prompt, say:
Tell the children:
We can still treat people kindly if they have hurt us before. But we don't have to lend them things or trust them with our secrets.
If it sounds as if any children have been bullied, do not single out a child who has mentioned this. Remind the group that there are times when you just need to stay away from someone, but it can help you to practice forgiveness rather than holding hate in your heart. If a child mentions a situation that you think represents a safety issue for any children, shared your concern in confidence with your director of religious education.
You may also wish to tell children about Unitarian Universalism's third principle, "Acceptance of One Another and Encouragement of Spiritual Growth." The story demonstrates how forgiveness means accepting that others are not perfect, just as we are not perfect, yet are still worthy of our love. In your own words, say:
In the act of forgiving others we are keeping our hearts open, practicing compassion, and keeping a relationship with others which is an important part of spiritual growth and being in a community.
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
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