I want to be a dogfish
and catch a leaping catfish
with whiskers as long as the stream.
And I want to be
the rain trinkling down on the world
telling it it's springtime. — Noah Frank, Grade 2, Lakeshore Elementary School, California
IN TODAY'S SESSION... Children listened to a magical, bedtime story by Kim Stafford, "We All Got Here Together," which offers a mystery-filled explanation for beginnings. Drawing on the story's bubble and rain themes, the children imagined their own story and made rain sticks. The children learned about our first Unitarian Universalist Source—in child-friendly words, "The sense of wonder we all share."
When you read the Source, it is easy to see why it needs simplification:
Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life.
Children heard these words:
Today we talked about things we see, hear, or touch in nature that can make us feel awe and wonder. Our own, personal feeling inside of awe and wonder is one of our Unitarian Universalist Sources that points us to love.
And we read together:
Our Unitarian Universalist beliefs come from the sense of wonder we all share.
By opening children's minds to spirituality, we hope they will develop spiritual traits we cultivate in ourselves: love, compassion, and service; connection with the earth; and a sense of purpose and place in the universe.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. We used the word "awesome" to suggest the transcendence of life and how nature's wonders sometimes strike us. Consider using the word "awesome" as you share moments of awe with your child. You might ask:
- Did anything awesome and wonderful happen at school today? Something that took you by surprise and made you glad?
- Are you ever just amazed at how leaves come out on a tree every spring? Do you think that's awesome? (Of course, you may get a very practical and scientific response to this.)
A Family Game. Play "I Spy" outdoors: One player says "I spy, with my little eye, something... (say the color of the item you are looking at).". The others guess the item. If you live in an urban setting, go to a park and try to spy items from nature as well as human-made items. If you have a backyard, try to spy items that are not usually noticed, such as a small bird—even a squirrel, a nut, or something else seen so constantly that you may take it for granted. Perhaps try to find a nest or a small hole in the ground that might be used as a burrow for a small animal. Use this game to promote awareness of awesome nature around us.
A Family Ritual. If you do not already do so, light a chalice (which can be as simple as a votive glass) before your family dinner. Use simple words to set a theme for each meal. "Give thanks and praises" (Bob Marley) is a good example. Or, have children write their own.