Tapestry of Faith: Love Connects Us: A Program on Living in Unitarian Universalist Covenant for Grades 4-5

Activity 3: Rope Ladder Helping Ritual

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Two four-foot lengths of rope
  • One-foot lengths of rope (all the same length)-one for each participant plus two extra
  • Large basket to hold all the one-foot lengths of rope

Preparation for Activity

  • Lay the two long pieces of rope parallel to each other on the floor. Make a long rectangle by tying a short rope across each open end.

Description of Activity

Gather participants in a circle on the floor around the rectangle of rope. Pass the basket around the circle. Ask each person to take one piece of rope in their hands and pass the basket along.

Tell participants you will invite them each to share a time when they were helped by someone in their life. Ask them to think of a time when the help they received made a real difference in how things turned out. Invite them, as they share their story, to come forward and tie their rope to both of the long ropes, parallel to the short ropes on the ends. Soon, you will begin to see a rope ladder.

After each participant secures their rung of rope to the ladder, encourage the group to say in unison:

In helping others we grow stronger ourselves.

Once everyone who wishes to share verbally has done so, encourage the others to tie on their ropes in silence, while holding in their mind the name of someone who helped them. Then, invite the children to each take a part of the rope ladder in their hands and together raise it high above all their heads. As they lift the rope ladder, encourage them to join you in saying one last time:

In helping others we grow stronger ourselves.

Including All Participants

Respect that some children may not want to tell the group about a time they were helped. Make it clear they can fully participate either by verbally sharing as they tie a rung to the ladder or by mindfully holding someone's name in their consciousness as they tie their rope.

If any participants lack the mobility or dexterity to tie their rope to the ladder, have a few volunteers tie on the rope rungs for all the participants.