Summer 2019: The Power of "We"

The Families insert in the Summer 2019 UU World brings home this year's UUA General Assembly theme, The Power of "We." Download the insert (PDF, 4 pages) for a story for all ages (Fox and the Geese); a feature on Levi Draheim and Charlotte Stuart-Tilley, two UU Kids Who Care for the Planet We Share; and ways to discover the Power of We as a family.

Parent Reflection: Penguins Have the Power

By Rev. Marisol Caballero

In Antarctica, Emperor penguin dads, with their young tucked snugly under them, waddle into tightly packed huddles to keep warm during the coldest months. While the female penguins are on a long voyage for food, the male penguins must endure a climate so harsh, Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center of the University of Colorado, Boulder, told National Geographic, “It’s a place where Earth is so close to its limit [of coldness], it’s almost like another planet.”

Kids, adults, everybody! Discover how Antarctica’s male Emperor penguins huddle to protect their chicks and take turns keeping the group warm in this three-minute PBS clip.

Like all of us, these penguins must make the best of their circumstances and find ways to thrive. Also similar to people, the only way Emperor penguins thrive is in community. They shuffle while they huddle, in spectacular group movements that look like dances, to ensure that none remain on the toasty inside of the huddle nor on the cold outskirts for too long. Believe it or not, the penguins are in danger, both individually and collectively, if any get too warm or too cold.

Similarly, our human family suffers, individually and collectively, when forces of power and privilege shuffle the same folks to the margins or disconnect them from community, time and time again. Think about your community. Who gets support and resources? Is it the same people all the time? Might you have spent too much time in the warm center? Could this be harming your family or someone else?

Why don’t human communities instinctively choreograph ourselves for equity and common good? We know what happens when some choose not to move, or when some are “frozen” by fear or circumstance. Truthfully, we endure harsh conditions in this world. A well-choreographed huddle is crucial. Shuffle on, human family! Shuffle on.