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The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be measured by the way its animals are treated. — Mahatma Gandhi

This session highlights kindness and altruism in the web of life and encourages participants to act for the welfare of other living beings. Kindness as a central tenet of Buddhism is introduced in the central story, "The Noble Ibex," in which an ibex saves the life of a king who was hunting for sport. The children hear real life examples of animals acting to save the lives of other species and act out the stories out in role plays that foster empathy and kindness.

Note: If you have access to a computer with Internet access, you can incorporate the You Tube and video images of animal altruism suggested in Alternate Activity 1 as part of Activity 3, Animal Altruism Stories and Dramatic Role Plays.


This session will:

  • Demonstrate altruism in non-human parts of the web of life
  • Foster empathy and a sense of connection with other living beings
  • Encourage emotional intelligence, the ability to recognize their own and others' feelings and to respond helpfully when someone is distressed
  • Empower participants as leaders in the group
  • Reinforce the seventh Unitarian Universalist Principle, "respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part."

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Consider kindness among non-human creatures, through real-life stories about animals helping people or one another and a Buddhist Jataka tale in which an ibex models kindness
  • Develop their emotional intelligence, by observing and experiencing kindness and thinking of ways they can be helpful and kind
  • Role play stories based on acts of helping and kindness
  • Experience leadership roles in the group.

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