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In "Moral Tales," a Tapestry of Faith program
In addition to generosity and compassion, the children also experience the spiritual practices of gratitude and humility. Encourage them to notice their own blessings, as they give to others.
Children in second and third grade are often very compassionate and concerned when they recognize injustice. Participation in a concrete service project provides them with an outlet for their concern and empowers them as agents of justice. Guide them to see how their actions express our Unitarian Universalist Principles, which promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, as well as justice, equity and compassion in human relations. Through participation in this or similar projects, children will learn that one aspect of a religious life is serving others and being responsive to their human needs.
To introduce this project, say, in your own words:
In the story you heard about Uthman ibn Affan, he gave away a caravan's worth of food, for free, to people who did not have enough to eat. In our community, there are children who do not have enough toys and books. We are going to learn more about what these children need, and gather toys and books to give them for free, just like Uthman ibn Affan.
Tell the children about the toy and book drive and the people and organization who will receive the donations. Encourage the children to go through their own toys and books and choose a few gently used or never-used things to give away to a child who does not have so much.
Future Planning: Decorating Signs and Collection Boxes
Set up a table during coffee hour for the children and adult volunteers to make and decorate signs for the toy drive. Make signs to publicize the drive as well as signs to identify the boxes where you will collect items.
Be sure the signs identify the agency or organization that will receive the donations as well as your congregation, and particularly the children in Moral Tales, as the organizers of the drive. You can also include a list of items the charitable agency or organization has requested.
Future Planning: Children's Announcements
Recruit a few children as volunteers to stand up during worship and announce the toy and book drive. Coordinate with parents to be sure the children will be in attendance and can arrive a few minutes early. Show the volunteers where the microphone is, if your congregation uses one. Give the children speaking pointers, such as facing the congregation when talking. One possibility would be to have each child volunteer name a favorite toy or book and encourage the congregation to contribute to the drive so that all children can enjoy playing and reading.
Future Planning: Field Trip
At the conclusion of the toy and book drive, you may like to arrange a time for the children to visit the agency or organization to deliver the donations. Obtain any needed permission forms from your director of religious education and recruit adult volunteers to help with transportation and supervision. Arrange for an adult worker or volunteer to receive the gifts at the agency or organization site, lead a brief tour (if appropriate), and thank the children.
Avoid situations where the donations can become competitive, for example, a public sharing that could highlight different levels of giving and embarrass some children. As long as you are sensitive to the varied economic situations that may be reflected in the group, every child should be able to participate in and learn from this activity. No matter what our circumstances, we are all capable of the spiritual discipline of generosity.
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
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