Activity 1: Religious Explorers
Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Puzzle pieces from Session 3, Activity 3
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
Preparation for Activity
- Obtain the puzzle pieces used in Session 3, Activity 3-the pieces on which children wrote their big questions, and the extra blank pieces. For every puzzle piece with a question written on it, you will need two or three blank pieces that can attach to it. Review the big questions children wrote on the puzzle pieces. Think of two or three different answers to each question, reflecting different theologies. For example, for a puzzle piece with the question "Is there a god?" you could write "Yes. God's name is Allah." on a blank puzzle piece, and "No, there is no god. People are responsible for helping each other." Make sure you include diverse theological answers. Keep the question puzzle pieces separate from the answer pieces you are writing.
- Hide the answer pieces around your meeting space.
- Set the question pieces on an accessible table.
Description of Activity
Participants experience a search for answers to big questions, and encounter multiple answers rooted in various theologies.
Show the children the puzzle pieces on which they wrote questions in Session 3. Remind them that the last time the group met they brainstormed big, theological questions-questions about life and how we should live it, the kind of questions religions help people answer. Say, in these words or your own:
Unitarian Universalists believe it is good to ask big questions and seek the answers using many different sources. When we explore our big questions, that is a sign of our UU faith.
We are going to have a chance to search for answers to our own big questions, right now. Some answers from different religions are written on puzzle pieces just like the ones with your questions, and they are hidden. Let's be religious explorers now, and find the hidden answers.
Monitor the search to make sure all children who want to find pieces find them, and that all pieces are eventually found.
Re-gather the children at work tables and invite them to match each question with its answer. The children may quickly discover that each question has more than one answer. If they do not, ask if they think there is only one answer for each question. Give them the hint that they may find more than one answer that could fit each question. Monitor and assist the matching.
Read the questions and answers. Ask:
- If there are three answers to this question, could there be even more?
- Why are there different answers to the same question?
- With so many questions and so many answers, how can anyone know what to believe?
Affirm people with different beliefs answer big questions differently. People in different times, places, and circumstances have believed different answers. Even one person may change their answer as they get older and their life goes along and they come to believe different things.
Post blank newsprint. Brainstorm ways we look for answers when we have big questions about life and how we should live it: How do Unitarian Universalists do a religious exploration? Prompt for answers such as: read books, listen to wise people, and learn from our own experiences. Say that Unitarian Universalists understand that many Sources can have good answers-like other cultures and religions, wise teachers in the past or in our lives, and even the way we feel inside about things that happen to us. Affirm that asking questions is a sign of UU faith and the first and most important step toward finding answers.