Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our very being. — Mohandas K. Gandhi
This session introduces non-violence as an aspect of goodness which is integrally connected with justice. While children are more ready to understand the expressions of violence and non-violence than the inner conditions that create these expressions, this session address both inner spiritual peacefulness as well as peaceful relationships within the world. As suggested by the 1948 quotation from Mohandas Gandhi which opens this session, you cannot have one peace without the other.
Through hearing a story in which a boy holds the wellbeing of a bird within his hands, and playing a game in which participants are encouraged to think about non-violent responses to conflict situations, the children will be encouraged to be peacemakers. As a reminder of the importance of making choices that are grounded in Unitarian Universalist values, the children will make and take home bracelets with the initials, "WWUUD?" standing for "What Would A Unitarian Universalist Do?"
Reflecting the sixth Unitarian Universalist Principle, which promotes "the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all," this session draws on the Buddhist and Hindu notion of non-harm, or ahimsa. It is written, in the Buddhist Digha Nikaya, "Abandoning the taking of life, the ascetic Gautama dwells refraining from taking life, without stick or sword." This session also draws on Christian scripture: "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword." (Matthew 26:52) The word "Non-violence" will be added to the Moral Compass poster.
The session will:
- Develop participants' empathy and nurture a sense of life as sacred
- Empower participants as peacemakers
- Build participants' ability to take responsibility for their actions and choices
- Deepen participants' understanding of the sixth Unitarian Universalist Principle, which promotes world peace.
- Hear a story in which the fate of a bird lies in the hands of a boy
- Play a game and name non-violent ways to handle conflict situations
- Make a "What Would U.U. Do" bracelet as a reminder of the importance of making good decisions that reflect Unitarian Universalist values.