Activity time: 20 minutes
Preparation for Activity
- Tour your faith home with your co-leader, looking specifically for images of many kinds of families.
- If images of diverse kinds of families are abundant in your faith home, plan a guided tour of these images for the children.
- If your faith home lacks a variety of family images, shape this activity around changing the situation. Gather photographs, posters, magazine illustrations, and other visual resources that portray family diversity (see “Leaders Resources” for suggestions). Identify one or more locations in your faith home where you can create or enhance a display. Make a plan to involve the children in posting new display materials in your faith home. For example, you might bring a catalog of posters to a session and invite the children to help you pick some to order for display in the faith home. Or, you might invite the children’s families to provide or pose for family photographs which the group can then display in a shared congregational space.
Description of Activity
The aim of this activity is to focus children’s attention on representations of diverse kinds of families. It is important for people to experience affirmation in their faith home. Whether the children take a tour of existing images or work with you to create a new display, they will have a chance to recognize family diversity in their faith home and affirm their own families’ places within it, as they engage with images of different kinds of families.
If your activity will be a tour of the congregational space, tell the group, in your own words:
We are going to take a walk together and search for families in our faith home. We will look for pictures of different kinds of families, including some pictures of real people we know. Look for pictures of families in photographs and paintings, on the walls, on bulletin boards, or maybe in a newsletter or brochure about events at our congregation.
If your congregation has a website, plan to stop at a computer with internet access so the children can see pictures of different families posted there.
As you walk, encourage children to call out the images they see. You may want to stop together to examine a few images more closely. Invite children to identify the members of different family configurations you see pictured. Remember, if you do not know the individuals whose images you see, there are no wrong guesses – two adult men could be a couple, brothers, cousins, or friends. Look for images of different family configurations (single parents with children, grandparents with grandchildren, same sex couples, parents with trans-ethnically adopted children, adults with elderly parents). And, look for families whose members do not look alike (different color skin, differently abled, far apart in age).
Whatever way you do this activity, aim to ensure that the children see themselves and their families mirrored in the images of families displayed in your congregation’s facilities and publications.