Take time before the session and find a quiet place for reflection. Imagine the journey of caring and acceptance that you have walked. How has your own acceptance of others and understanding of differences changed during your life? What has caused you discomfort? What has brought you comfort? What insights have you gained over time? Imagine your own feelings of difference. How might it feel to be accepted for who you are and to be encouraged to be your authentic self?
Consider this excerpt from a sermon by Sally Patton, titled "God Makes No Mistakes: Creating Beloved Community for All Our Children," and complete the exercise she suggests:
[On an index card] write on one side the word "deficits" and list 2 to 3 things you do not like about yourself. On the other side write the word "gifts" and list 3 to 5 things you like about yourself.
Hold the deficit side facing out against your chest. Close your eyes and take a few minutes and imagine that everyone you meet only sees this side of you. They only talk to you from this perspective. What would the conversations be like, how would you feel. When you want to talk about something you feel good about, the person only responds to what they see on the front of your piece of paper. They only see the deficits and they probably will try to fix you. How do you think you would re-act and treat them? Now release these thoughts to the Universe.
Now hold the gift side facing out next to your chest. Take a few minutes to imagine that the people you meet can only see this side of you. They only talk to you from this perspective. What would the conversations be like, how would you feel. They see all your strengths and gifts and think you can take care of yourself. They do not try to fix anything. How do you think you would re-act and treat them?
Part of a spiritual journey is to find the people and places that allow us to spread our wings and be ourselves. How can you make your congregation such a place? How can you encourage the preschoolers to be themselves during your time together?