One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade. – Chinese proverb
IN TODAY’S SESSION…
The group talked about ancestors – both family and faith ancestors – and the legacies they leave for future generations. The children heard a story, “The Farmer’s Legacy,” in which a farmer coaxes his adult children to continue farming the land he plans to leave them, by telling them as he dies that a treasure is buried in the land. You can find the story on the Tapestry of Faith website. Select this curriculum, Creating Home (Living Faith, Kindergarten/First Grade). Click on Session 9: Our Ancestral Home. Go to the Session 9 Resources section; look under “Stories.”
As part of our discussion of ancestors we talked about the legacies of UU faith ancestors Hajom Kissor Singh, Susan B. Anthony, and Charles Dickens. Learning more about their faith ancestors may be very useful to children, particularly if you live in an area where few people are familiar with Unitarian Universalism. It will help them see how deep our roots go.
We also created an altar and performed a body prayer to help connect us to our Unitarian Universalist faith ancestors. The body prayer is to the song, “Spirit of Life,” Hymn 123 in Singing the Living Tradition. See if your child can sing it with you.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about…
Not all legacies are treasures worth a lot of money. Family traditions that your child knows quite well may contain legacies from your family ancestors.
Talk together about the traditions you share as a family. How do you mark birthdays, national holidays, cultural holidays, or religious holidays? Are there traditions peculiar to your family, such as planting window boxes together each spring, or attending an annual reunion of extended cousins? Which of your traditions reflect a legacy from previous generations? Which break with, or modify, your ancestors’ ways? If your children are adopted, this is an excellent opportunity to talk about their birth ancestors and cultural legacies from the country(ies) of their birth family.
You may want to share with your child the importance of certain family traditions to you. Find out which are important to your child.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try…
A Family Ritual
In today’s session, children created an altar to acknowledge our shared Unitarian Universalist faith ancestors. Does your family home have an altar that honors and remembers your family ancestors? Perhaps you display photographs or other items that recall your forebears. Consider what it might feel like to gather these items as an altar.
A Family Game
UU of the Month. Your family might like to choose a different Unitarian Universalist to talk about every month. At a shared meal, have an adult or an older youth present a fact about a Unitarian Universalist ancestor. Then, invite everyone to chime in with their observations about how this ancestor’s life has affected their own. Is the UU of the Month a scientist? Maybe your child loves science, too. History becomes more real and much more fun when a personal connection is made.
Some well known Unitarian Universalists were born into and raised in Unitarian, Universalist, or (more recently) Unitarian Universalist congregations. Many others came to our faith later in life. Peruse the Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography to learn more about Béla Bartók, e. e. cummings, Julia Ward Howe, Linus Pauling, William Howard Taft, and many others.
The KidTalk page from the (UU) Church of the Larger Fellowship also features a person from Unitarian and/or Universalist history each month. You can look back through the archives to find a variety of Unitarian Universalist heroes.