Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Construction paper in a variety of colors
- Markers, pens, or pencils
- Staplers and/or tape
Preparation for Activity
- Cut construction paper into approximately one-inch strips.
- Make a sample chain. On individual strips of construction paper, briefly note four to six of your own sources for inspiration or encouragement. Link the strips together. You might note the titles of books whose messages have stayed with you, websites you regularly turn to, role models whose examples inspire you to act for the good of others, documentary films which influenced you, or other sources helpful or inspiring to you.
Description of Activity
Tell the group that just as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. drew on the ideas and example of Thoreau’s civil disobedience to make change and advance justice, we also draw upon the inspiration of others to support our positions and help us make important decisions. Remind the group that, as Unitarian Universalists, we seek inspiration from many sources including wisdom from religious traditions and sacred texts, our own truth-seeking inquiry, and our own direct experience of awe and wonder. Tell the group the inspiration we may find in Gandhi, King, and Thoreau comes from our second Source, “Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.”
Distribute construction paper, writing implements, and staplers/tape on work tables. Invite each participant to take four to six strips of construction paper and, on each strip, briefly note a source they look to for inspiration. Suggest:
- a book whose message has stayed with you and helped you
- a website you regularly visit for inspiration or guidance
- a person–-who you know or have never met–-whose example inspires you to act in good and right ways
- a film which has influenced your values or beliefs
- a song that inspires you.
When they are done writing, tell them to link their strips of paper together to make a paper chain using the stapler or tape provided.
Then, link all the chains together by adding a blank link in between segments. As you do this, remind the group that we also draw inspiration from each other in our religious community. You might read aloud some of the notations on the links without designating whose is whose.
Display the paper chain on a wall in your meeting space or attach it to the Rainbow Wall Hanging. Invite participants to reflect on the experience with questions such as:
- How easy or challenging was it to think about the places you look for inspiration?
- Did people think of different sources of inspiration?
- How might your different sources of inspiration contribute to different ideas you hold?
If someone in our beloved community looks to a particular source of inspiration, how might their choice affect you? How could your sources of inspiration have an effect on others?
Including All Participants
If any participants are unable to write on paper strips or make a chain on their own, form pairs or triads for this activity. Then, a participant can contribute their ideas verbally while another writes the words on a strip of paper and fastens the links together.