Activity time: 5 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Chalice candle or LED/battery-operated candle
- Lighter and extinguisher, if needed
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
- Tool of the Day - a mirror
- Toolbox of Our Faith poster and clear tape
- Candles and matches or lighter
- Mirrors and other reflective items such as prisms, metal sculpture, glitter
- Pieces of aluminum foil, shiny paper, pencils, and permanent markers for participants to share
- Quiet music CD or tape, and player
- Optional: Drapes for covering windows, as needed, to darken the room
Preparation for Activity
- Print the opening words on newsprint. Post the newsprint where the children will be able to see it when they gather in a circle.
- This Opening begins with quiet meditation and/or play with the reflective materials in the Council Circle space. Prepare a reflective display in the Council Circle space. Try creating a centerpiece of mirrors (or other reflective items such as prisms, metal, or glitter). Candles in clear candleholders will create extra reflection.
- Set out foil, paper, pencils, and markers in the Council Circle space.
- Darken the room, light some candles, and put on quiet music.
Description of Activity
With participants gathered in the Council Circle space, and quiet music playing, tell them the session is starting now. You may say:
Today we will begin our session in a quiet tone that suits a mood of reflection. Reflection is the quality of our Unitarian Universalist faith we will explore today, and the Tool of the Day is a mirror.
Begin quieting the participants as preparation for a time of reflection. The dark and the quiet music should set the tone. While this session provides more reflection time for participants later, this brief experience will help participants find a space that feels reflective and begin to identify internal reflection.
Tell the children they may close their eyes and reflect inwardly, or enjoy the beauty of the flickering candlelight while using a medium that is reflective, such as the foil.
If some participants seem to be having trouble focusing inward or there are some who have attention span challenges, you may wish to guide the group to first focus outward, as you formally begin the session. Engage the group to be quiet enough to hear things around them. Ask them to share what they hear. Then, can they be even quieter and hear things even farther away? Once they have quieted, you can ask them if they can hear their breathing. Then ask them to try to hear their heartbeat. Finally, invite them to listen to the still, small voice inside themselves.
In the quiet, invite the children to open their eyes as you light the chalice.
Indicate where the opening words are posted, for any children who are unfamiliar with them. Lead the group in reciting:
We are Unitarian Universalists
with minds that think,
hearts that love,
and hands that are ready to serve.
Hold up a mirror and tell them it is the Tool of the Day. Pass one or more mirrors around the circle, inviting children to share their prior experiences with mirrors.
Lead a discussion to introduce the mirror as a symbol of inward reflection. You might ask, "What do you think makes this a Unitarian Universalist tool?" Allow participants to share ideas. Affirm that there is no one answer.
Say, in your own words:
The mirror represents reflection. The mirror represents times when Unitarian Universalists listen to their hearts and nurture their spirits. We listen to the still, small voice which is inside of us when we reflect. Unitarian Universalism is a faith that values each person's path of questioning and searching for truth. This is a key part of growing in faith and deepening in religious understanding. One of the Sources of our faith is from each person's sense of mystery and awe - a sense we can exercise in ourselves through reflection.
Ask a volunteer to contribute a piece of foil art they have made before the session began, or invite a participant to choose a piece of foil now, and glue or tape it to the Toolbox of Our Faith poster. Write the word "Reflection" to represent today's theme.
Collect the mirror(s) and extinguish the chalice.