In "Moral Tales," a Tapestry of Faith program
Making "Good Neighbor Coupons" generates opportunities for children to put their learning into action. As you distribute Good Neighbor Coupons (from Leader Resource) and pencils, pens and markers to participants at to work tables, explain the activity. You may say:
We're going to brainstorm to help each other think of some people in our community (or school, family, neighborhood or congregation) that each of you could help or visit or do something nice for. We'll try to think of people who may need a helping kindness, people who we haven't thought of helping before.
Ask the children to think of ways that they could help someone in their community (or school, family, neighborhood, or congregation) whom they might not have thought about helping before — for example, an elderly neighbor, a school crossing guard or custodian, a younger sibling, or a new child in their school classroom or on their street. Suggest children think of something they could do to help that person that would take a half hour or less. Engage the children in sharing their ideas.
Tell the children to write the name of the person they want to help on the coupon. They can give the coupon to that person and let the person decide what kind of help they want. Or, the child can think of a helping kindness they want to do for that person. Some suggestions might be:
A kindness might be sharing a new toy with a younger child or taking brownies to someone who is new to the neighborhood. If children have a specific idea, ask them to write it on the coupon. Invite children to take the coupons home and share them with their parents who can help them carry out the act of kindness. Be sure to mention the Good Neighbor Coupon project in your Taking It Home handout for this session.
Materials for Activity
Preparation for Activity
Description of Activity
This long term Faith in Action project guides you to help the children reach out with kindness to local neighbors whom you do not personally know and who may be in need of inspiration and support.
Gather the children in a circle. Tell the group that the Golden Rule and “Love thy neighbor” are ideas they can put into action by reaching out to neighbors in your community.
Share briefly with the children the stories you have chosen about children who performed acts of kindness and compassion. Tell the children that there are people in your own community who may be in need of a show of kindness. If you have researched local institutional options as described above (Preparation for Activity), you can suggest a few actions of kindness that they could realistically make. Invite them to discuss the various options.
Write the ideas of each child on the newsprint. Help the group consider each one. If some of the actions do not seem realistic, thank each child for their ideas.
Suggested projects might be:
Sending greeting cards at holiday times. An example would be sending handmade valentines to a local hospital or prison and asking the institution’s workers to put one on each patient’s breakfast tray.
Collecting flowers, arranging them, decorating plastic vases and delivering the bouquets to long-term patients in psychiatric or veterans’ hospitals or nursing homes who infrequently receive flowers. (Note: Do not use glass vases.)
Collecting a new pair of socks from each family and donating these to a homeless shelter.
Follow-up steps for these three projects are presented in Session 9, Faith in Action: Outreach to Local Neighbors – Long-term.
Once you have several ideas that could work, ask the children to vote on which they prefer Discuss how the group can make their chosen act of kindness happen. Again, brainstorm a list of actions and write down the children’s ideas.
An example of a project would be send valentines to prisoners. A good plan would be for you to call to see how many inmates are in the local prison or one part of the prison, and how the valentine delivery might be arranged. You would then obtain materials and arrange a time for the children to make the appropriate number of valentines. Help the children discuss what they want to say on the valentines or if they just want to send hearts.
See Session 9, Faith in Action: Outreach to Local Neighbors for the next steps in this project.
Materials for Activity
In this non-local long-term Faith in Action project, you reinforce the idea that all people are our neighbors even if they live in another country, even if they are involved in a war, and even if our government is at war with their country.
Tell the children that the Golden Rule and “Love thy neighbor” are ideas they can put into action. Ask them to remember that our neighbors are everyone on the planet Earth, not just people who live on our street or community or belong to our congregation or go to our school.
Invite the children to help you brainstorm about some neighbors in different parts of the world who may be in need of a show of kindness or support. Tell them you have some ideas for kindness to neighbors far away, and want to know what they think. Share briefly the information you have gathered about organizations and programs you have researched, and what they do. If you have identified projects through which children could reach out to people their own age – such as the Heifer Project International – mention that, to help children identify with the recipients of the kindness they will undertake to do.
As children respond to your information and contribute their own ideas, write each idea on the newsprint. Thank each child for his/her idea and discuss every one. If something is not realistic, gently explain why it might be hard to do.
Once you have several ideas that could work, ask the children to vote on which they prefer. Once you have chosen a Golden Rule project, discuss how the children will be involved in making it happen. On a new sheet of newsprint, brainstorm a list of actions that need to be taken. Examples could be gathering new or gently used books, school supplies, or clothing, sponsoring a child, sending holiday greetings and or calling cards to soldiers or doing a bake sale to raise money for an organization.
Session 9 provides next steps in this Faith in Action project.
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.
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