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Nature has given [people] one tongue but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.

— Epictetus, the Greek Stoic philosopher

A stethoscope, seashell, or other listening tool symbolizes listening. In this session participants reflect on and practice the skills of listening and consider the impact of embracing listening as a quality of our Unitarian Universalist faith.

Emphasize that listening skills take practice. Help participants articulate how they have felt at times when they weren't listened to, and how they can become better listeners. Allow time for participants to engage with the difficulties of listening. Let them explore some of the reasons people have trouble listening.

An auto mechanic's listening tool would be ideal for the Tool of the Day and can be purchased online (see "Find Out More"). A medical stethoscope is another option. A toy spy listening device, a seashell, audio headphones, or a cupped hand could do in a pinch. Make sure you have a small listening tool or a picture of a listening tool to attach to the Toolbox of Our Faith poster.

Goals

This session will:

  • Help deepen participants' Unitarian Universalist identity, ethical discernment, and understanding of Unitarian Universalist faith through reflection and discussion
  • Introduce listening as a quality of Unitarian Universalist faith and the idea that, as Unitarian Universalists, we develop and practice listening skills
  • Connect listening with the Unitarian Universalist Principle which affirms and promotes acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations (third Principle)
  • Present listening as a method Unitarian Universalists use when we seek wisdom from the world's religions in our ethical and spiritual lives (third Source).
  • Engage participants in rituals of chalice lighting, voicing of joys and concern, and intentional discussion to nourish them and help them grow spiritually.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Use listening skills to identify sounds
  • Connect the meaning of listening to the development of a strong faith
  • Learn about a time when listening to one another helped Unitarian Universalists make difficult decisions together
  • Practice listening skills through games and play involving noises, rhythm, songs, and/or chant
  • Focus on listening to each other with special care in this session's Council Circle
  • Reflect on times they listened well and didn't listen well, and what they can do to continue developing and practicing listening skills.

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For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.