I who love you shall be near you, all through the night. —"Sleep, My Child," Hymn 409 in Singing the Living Tradition
IN TODAY'S SESSION... We celebrated Mothers and Fathers today, as well as all those who care for the children, with flowers. We were sensitive to the fact that not all children live with their parent(s) and there are many different types of families, all based on love (for example, some children may live grandparents, other relatives, or a foster family). We recognized that some families have a single parent, a step-parent, same-sex parents, and more—just to name a few of the beautiful diversities called family. Our message to the children on this day was that there are lots of different kinds of families and they are based on love.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Share together... the books suggested for this session:
- Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild! by Mem Fox and Marla Frazee, 2000. Harriet doesn't mean to be pesky. Sometimes she just is. And her mother doesn't mean to lose her temper. Sometimes she just does. But Harriet and her mother know that even when they do things they wish they hadn't, they still love each other very much.
- Who's in My Family? All About Our Families (Let's Talk about You and Me series) by Robie H. Harris and Nadine Bernard Westcott, 2012. Trusted New York Times best-selling author Robie H. Harris looks at the many kinds of families that make up our world.
- The Family Book by Todd Parr, 2010. The Family Book celebrates the love we feel for our families and all the different varieties they come in. Whether you have two moms or two dads, a big family or a small family, a clean family or a messy one, Todd Parr assures readers that no matter what kind of family you have, every family is special in its own unique way.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Consider bringing the Family Diversity Exhibit of photographs to your congregation.
A Family Adventure. Does your congregation promote an event like the "Moms Against the War" Peace Rally? See the UU World article. Attend a "moms rally" or another rally promoting social justice and peace.
A Family Discovery. Learn about Mama's Day. Mother's Day was originally founded as an antiwar rallying cry by Unitarian Julia Ward Howe. Find out on the UUA website ways to give our contemporary Mother's Day more meaning:
With 'Mamas Day,' we hear a call to honor all those who mother, especially those who bear the brunt of hurtful policies or who are weighed down by stigma in our culture. We celebrate trans mamas, immigrant mamas, single mamas, lesbian mamas, young mamas, poor mamas, and others. It's opportunity to take action to create the conditions so that all families can thrive.
A Family Game. Sing "Happy Loving Day," to the tune of "Happy Birthday":
Happy Loving Day to you,
Happy Loving Day to you,
Happy Loving Day, dear mommy/daddy/[name]
Happy Loving Day to you.
Take turns inserting the names of people you know who love each other.
A Family Ritual. Try a Buddhist meditation for Mother's/Father's Day or another occasion. Find a flower meditation on the Buddhanet website. Or, use the "pebble for your pocket meditation" from Planting Seeds, by Thich Nhat Hanh. Each person holds four pebbles in a pocket and takes them out, one at a time, saying these words:
[1st pebble] I am fresh like a flower
[2nd pebble] I am solid like a mountain
[3rd pebble] I am still like a lake
[4th pebble] I am free like space around me and inside me.