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If you look closely at a tree you'll notice its knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully. — Matthew Fox, theologian
Humans are imperfect. We are each uniquely made and live our lives uniquely. Yet we often compare ourselves to others, finding a standard of perfection against which we undoubtedly fail. Lacking a skill or feature we wish we had, we may feel incompetent or inadequate. We forget to value our capacity to learn, grow, and contribute to our communities in our own unique ways.
Unitarian Universalism celebrates the beauty of each individual—imperfections and all. Our first Principle affirms our inherent worth and dignity, and our seventh Principle suggests that we all need one another. This session helps children know they need not be "perfect" to be loved, respected, and appreciated for their own unique gifts.
In this session, a tale from India , "The Water Bearer's Garden," demonstrates that our very imperfections can have corresponding gifts. Children learn about scientific "accidents" that resulted in inventions we enjoy today. The group observes raku pottery and learns the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi—the beauty of imperfection.
In the Window/Mirror panel activity, participants write or draw about their own flaws/blessings using a cracked pot template (Handout 1). Next, Activity 5 invites participants to form their own "cracked pots" with self-hardening modeling clay.
Before distributing modeling clay, explain that participants may make a wabi-sabi pot either with modeling clay or, if the would like to incorporate it onto their Window/Mirror panel, on paper. Distribute modeling clay to those who prefer it. While they are making their "cracked pots," direct them to consider their own imperfections and how these are also gifts to share.
This session will:
- Convey that Unitarian Universalism celebrates our differences and affirms the inherent worth of every person
- Teach children to take note of their unique gifts and their potential to learn, grow and contribute to their communities
- Demonstrate how rigid standards of perfection can impede fairness, happiness and progress
- Demonstrate the concept of the beauty of imperfection.
- Hear a story in which an imperfection was also a special gift that could be shared
- Express, in an art project, their own imperfections in terms of gifts of blessings they can share
- Learn about useful inventions that came about by mistakes or accidents
- Learn that, as Unitarian Universalists, we value the very imperfections that make each individual unique.