Faith In Action: Long-term - Living Simply That Others Might Simply Live
Activity time: 20 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers and tape
- A copy of Leader Resource 1, Living Simply Ceremony
Preparation for Activity
- Discuss with your minister, director of religious education, and/or social action committee what justice organization you could raise money for. Give priority to organizations that focus on providing the financial, educational or material tools very poor people need to improve their economic situations and lives. Possible organizations include the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, the Heifer Project International and Global Envision. Kiva is a micro-granting/micro-lending organizations that works internationally.
- If desired, schedule an informational gathering and invite a member of the congregation or a guest speaker to educate the congregation about the organization you have selected.
- Read the Leader Resource, Living Simply Ceremony. It guides you through planning and executing a celebration to honor the work of the children and other, multigenerational participants in this project.
- Post the newsprint where you can write on it and children can see it.
Description of Activity
Say in your own words:
In our story today, the king had to give up some of his food in order to make sure everybody in the kingdom was fed. For the next month, some of the adults and children in our congregation are going to give things up, just as the king had to do to make the dog stop barking. People will give up things like chocolate, going to the movies, or eating potato chips. We will save the money that we would have spent on those things and we will give it away.
Briefly tell the children about the organization that has been selected and how it helps make things more equitable and fair. Or, or have them vote democratically to choose an organization and a project.
Spend a few minutes having the children brainstorm things that they can give up. Write their ideas on the newsprint. The Items or activities should be important and special, but not necessary for children's wellbeing, health or survival.
Keep this list to use in a Living Simply Ceremony of Commitment, which you can hold with this group or an intergenerational group at a later date. Encourage them to continue thinking about giving up something so others who have less can improve their lives.
Also encourage children to talk about this Faith in Action project with their parents, who might be able to help them decide on something to give up and calculate the savings that can then be donated. For this activity to work, parents need to be on board. Include them with a letter that explains that the children are learning how a sense of justice can propel acts of kindness, and that this Faith in Action activity offers children a hands-on experience of living with less so that others can have a fair share.
Including All Participants
It is important to remember with this activity that there is likely to be economic disparity within the group, with the possibility of extreme disparity such as a particularly wealthy child alongside a child who is living below the poverty line. Be careful to avoid language that assumes one financial situation for all participants, such as "In our town we all have lots of food to eat." That said, except in extreme cases, every child is likely to have something they can give up for a month's time.