Taking It Home
I wear garments touched by hands from all over the world
35% cotton, 65% polyester, the journey begins in Central America
In the cotton fields of El Salvador
In a province soaked in blood,
Pesticide-sprayed workers toil in a broiling sun...
Third world women toil doing piece work to Sears specifications
For three dollars a day...
And I go to the Sears department store where I buy my blouse
On sale for 20% discount
Are my hands clean? — Bernice Reagon
IN TODAY'S SESSION...
Our Unitarian Universalist belief in every person's inherent worth and dignity tells us that everyone, no matter their occupation, has a right to dignity of work—the ability to earn a livelihood (a living wage), a work environment that supports their self-respect and the respect of others who acknowledge their work as bringing value to society. Yet, as a society we tend to value some work more than other work. When someone's work is disrespected, undervalued or taken for granted, both that person and their community suffer.
Children identified their own work, whatever it consists of, and worked on a Window/Mirror Panel to express the universal dignity of work. They heard a story, "Beautiful Hands," about a child ashamed of her work-worn hands, until a teacher articulates how her hands show the beauty of physical work. Children saw and talked about photographs of children at labor. Faith in Action engaged them in an advocacy project promoting a fair minimum wage and universal dignity of work.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER . Talk about ...
What do the adults in your family do for their jobs? Tell your child about jobs you have had—what you did, where you worked, what tools you used, what you wore. Tell some things you liked about your jobs including ways you were successful, satisfied and appreciated, financially and in less tangible ways.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try...
Research careers with your child in bookstores and libraries, online and by guiding your child to talk with a variety of working adults about what they do. Find out about the training needed for jobs which may exist when your child reaches adulthood. A federal government web site, Kids.gov, spotlights an array of jobs and includes annotated links to career-oriented web sites for children. The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (Washington State) offers career discovery workshops, described online.
A FAMILY GAME
Play Monopoly or Life as a family, noticing the ways the game confers status and power on players. When a player achieves or loses wealth or power by a roll of the dice, what message is implied? How are these games like, and unlike, real life?