Tapestry of Faith: Riddle and Mystery: A Program on the Big Questions for Grade 6

Faith In Action: Teaching Fairness

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers and tape
  • A computer with Internet access and/or copies) of Teaching Tolerance magazine.

Preparation for Activity

  • Obtain a copy(ies) of Teaching Tolerance magazine. Your religious educator or members of your congregation may receive it. You can also download it from the Teaching Tolerance website.
  • Post a sheet of blank newsprint.

Description of Activity

Remind the group that Unitarian Universalists do more than admit "life isn't fair;" we work to make life fairer. Faith in Action is an opportunity to do just that.

If the group has begun an ongoing Faith in Action project, continue work on it.

Or, consider this short-term Faith in Action project:

Teaching Fairness. Introduce the youth to Teaching Tolerance, an organization that gives children and youth ways to recognize injustice and ideas for working for fairness. Ask youth if they think we live in a country that values fairness. Most will probably agree that we do. Point out, if youth do not, that our country sometimes fails live up to its own standards of justice. Remind participants that though we have a Constitution that was written to establish a fair country, this document is not an airtight guarantee of justice for all in the U.S. and furthermore, the Constitution doesn't function on its own-it needs people to enforce it.

Ask if anyone is familiar with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). It was established by two lawyers, Morris Dees and Joe Levin. Morris Dees happens to be Unitarian Universalist. Here is a quote from their website:

Throughout its history, SPLC has worked to make the nation's Constitutional ideals a reality. The SPLC legal department fights all forms of discrimination and works to protect society's most vulnerable members, handling innovative cases that few lawyers are willing to take. Over three decades, it has achieved significant legal victories, including landmark Supreme Court decisions and crushing jury verdicts against hate groups.

If the meeting space has Internet access, explore the SPLC's website. Follow its link to Teaching Tolerance, which provides resources for K-12 educators to teach anti-bias as well as web pages for parents, youth and children. If you have a copy(ies) of Teaching Tolerance, look through the magazine(s) with the youth. Invite them to find an activity they would like to do, e.g., designing CD covers to create an anti-prejudice message.

Youth might find an activity for younger children that they could lead. If there is interest in this, determine which activity the youth prefer to lead and make a plan to approach your religious educator about scheduling a joint session of the Riddle and Mystery youth and a younger group. You might adjust the CD cover activity for younger children by asking children to think about the word "fairness" and designing book jackets to reflect their thoughts.

Use newsprint to list what the group wants to do and the immediate action steps to get the plan started. List any materials needed. When will the group hold the activity? During Sunday religious education time? On a weeknight? At a congregational retreat? Who needs to approve and help arrange the plan? Who will contact them?

After you implement the teaching activity, process it with the group. Ask:

  • What do you think the younger children gained from this activity?
  • What did you gain?
  • If you did it again, would you do anything differently?
  • What was it like to be the leader/teacher instead of the participant? Did you enjoy helping young people explore "fairness?"