Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Sing to the Power: A Social Justice Program for Children Grades 4-5

Taking It Home: The Power of Presence

We convince by our presence. — Walt Whitman

IN TODAY'S SESSION... the children heard about Unitarian Universalist Kat Sinclair, who organized a peaceful protest in which participants blocked potentially hateful signs and speech by wearing giant angel wings. We talked about air power as the power of presence, our power to offer our attention and listening as well as our physical presence. In a game, the children tried to sense the presence of another person. They created blankets which can be given as gifts, to offer a tangible expression of loving presence to another person. The group also explored the Quaker practice of "holding in the light," offering prayers in the form of envisioning individuals surrounded by warm, healing light.

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. In what situations it is particularly difficult to be fully present to members of your family? What are situations in which your family is best able to offer one another their gift of presence? How do members of your family offer the gift of their presence to people beyond your family? Discuss with your child who they would like to give the blanket they made, and help them arrange to get the blanket to that person.

FAMILY GAME. With at least three people, you can try a game the children played, and practice becoming keenly aware of another's presence without using one's eyesight.

Choose one member of the family to be the first "angel." Others spread out, and stand with their hands at their sides and their eyes closed or covered. The "angel" chooses one person and quietly moves to stand behind them, stretching their arms over the person's shoulders without touching them. At any time, if a participant believes the "angel" is standing over them, they say "I feel an angel." If they are correct, they become the next "angel." If they are incorrect, the current "angel" continues. If an "angel" stands over a person for 10 seconds without being noticed, the "angel" taps that person on the shoulder and they sit down until a new person becomes the "angel." If one person remains as "angel" for too long, have that person select the next "angel." Play until everyone has a chance to be the "angel."

FAMILY RITUAL. A ritual of presence can be a wonderful grounding experience for the family. At a time when everyone can be together, such as just before dinner, hold hands while each person takes the time to catch the eye of each other person in the family. Take a deep breath and release it together. You may wish to conclude by saying "Thank you for your presence."