Nor need we power or splendor, wide hall or lordly dome;
The good, the true, the tender – these form the wealth of home. – Sarah J. Hale
IN TODAY’S SESSION…
Today we talked about families. Children heard the true story of Roy and Silo, two male penguins who partnered and raised a chick, Tango. This was our starting point to discuss how families come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. We not only discussed what makes families different from one another, we talked about what makes them the same. We shared ways people in families care for one another.
We also discussed our faith family: the people who are part of our Unitarian Universalist congregation, our faith home.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about…
You can expand on the discussion about families that we had today by sharing stories of your own family. Children this age generally love to hear stories about how their parents met, and how they decided to form a family. In families where divorce and/or remarriage is part of the story, sharing memories and feelings can be a helpful part of processing the ways families can change, as well as reinforcing the lesson that families come in different shapes and sizes. This is also a good opportunity to repeat stories with children who have been adopted that both honor their birth families and reaffirm their place in their forever family.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try…
A Family Ritual
We talked in our class about the different roles or jobs that people have in families, but you can also honor these roles through a family ritual. Around the dinner table, before bedtime or at another calm period in the day you might want to light your “hearth fire.” Then, focus on one family member at a time, having each other person in the family say “I honor you for the way you…”, completing the sentence with the different things the person does for the family. These could be tangible efforts, such as earning money to support the family or taking out the garbage, but they could just as well be roles like “making us laugh,” “giving great hugs,” or “appreciating my banana pancakes.”
You might prefer to do this ritual over the course of days, so that before dinner each night a different person is honored.
A Family Adventure
In the story of Roy, Silo and Tango, the children heard how a penguin makes an offer of “marriage” to another penguin by presenting a specially selected pebble. During a trip to the beach, the river or simply in your own backyard you can go on a hunt for special pebbles. You may be amazed how, if you look closely, there are pebbles of surprising colors, shapes or textures. Encourage family members to choose one very special pebble that they’ve found to give as a gift to another family member.
For children’s books with illustrations that reflect family diversity, visit the UUA Bookstore. You will find And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole (Simon & Schuster, 2006), which tells the story of the penguin family we discussed in this session.
Also check out the books offered by the Global Fund for Children.
Lee & Low Publishers specializes in multicultural books for children.
Many resources can be found by searching online, talking to librarians, inquiring in bookstores, or looking through book lists available from schools and libraries.
A wide variety of books and other resources on family diversity are listed at Bay Area Mosaic.