The religious community is essential, for alone our vision is too narrow to see all that must be seen. Together, our vision widens and strength is renewed. – Mark Morrison-Reed
IN TODAY’S SESSION…
Our focus this week has been on community, and the gifts that each of us bring when we come together as a community. The children heard the story of Hare’s Gifts, an African fable of the origin of village communities, and they made log drums to make music for dancing, as Hare did. We also passed out copies of the church directory. We looked one over and found our families in there. You and your child might enjoy going through it to look for friends. If your family is not in the directory or your contact information is old, consider contacting our congregation’s office to remedy this.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about…
Our group talked about church as community, but there can be many other communities in our lives. What communities do individuals in your family belong to (such as school or sports teams)? What communities do your family as a whole belong to (such as your neighborhood or a family camp that you return to each year)? Do you feel that, like Hare, you live surrounded by friends, or, like Hyena, are you isolated from others, even if people live right next to you? Are there ways that you could increase your sense of connection, and of sharing your gifts with your communities?
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try…
A Family Ritual
One of the important facets of community is feeling that one’s gifts are welcome and valued by the other members of the community. You can create a family ritual to honor the gifts that each person brings to your family. Around the dinner table, or in a circle at bedtime, go around the circle and have each person say to the family member on their right “Today, you have given me the gift of...” The gift could be anything from listening to a person’s story or laughing at their joke to wider concepts such as love or respect.
A Family Game
The children played animal charades during their class this week. Animal charades can be a fun game to play at home as well (and is good for passing the time waiting in line at the store or waiting for dinner to be served in a restaurant). To play animal charades, one person silently acts out an animal, while the other people try to guess the animal being portrayed.
The story featured in this week’s lesson is a trickster tale from Africa, with Hare and Hyena as the main characters. Africans brought these stories with them to North America. Then Hare became Brer Rabbit and Fox became Brer Fox. Uncle Remus tales are full of stories about these two. You can find out more about Hare and Hyena online. Or, see one of these books:
Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales, by Nelson Mandela (New York: Norton, 2002)
The Tales of Uncle Remus: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit (Puffin, 1999) and Further Tales of Uncle Remus (Dial, 1990), both by Julius Lester and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Also, here are a couple of books about drums. The first is for adults; the second is a children’s book:
Sacred Drumming, by Steven Ash (Sterling, 2004)
To Be a Drum, written by Evelyn Coleman and illustrated by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson (Morton Grove, Illinois: Albert Whitman & Company, 1998)