Before You Start
These real tools will be needed for the sessions:
Session 1: Faith — Toolbox and Ruler
Session 2: Questioning — Magnifying Glass
Session 3: Integrity — Compass
Session 4: Flexibility — Duct Tape
Session 5: Reflection — Mirror
Session 6: Expression — Paintbrush
Session 7: Democratic Process — Chalk
Session 8: Power — Hammer
Session 9: Spirit of Life — Canteen
Session 10: Courage — Saddlebags (or bike panniers, or backpacks)
Session 11: Listening — Stethoscope
Session 12: Humor — Sandpaper
Session 13: Love — Gloves
Session 14: Justice — Flashlight
Session 15: Atonement — Level
Session 16: Resiliency — Hard Hat
You can keep most of these tools in a real toolbox and bring one tool out at each session. Another option is to simply present one tool at a time. For many sessions, you will need more than one of the same tool — ideally, enough for all participants to use.
The Session 1, leader resource, Introductory Letter to Participants and Families includes a list of the tools needed for the program. You may wish to customize and mail or e-mail this letter to families several weeks before the program begins, to build your inventory of tools well in advance.
Before Session 1, create the basic Toolbox of Our Faith poster. This poster will eventually include a representation of each tool and quality of faith you cover in the program, so leave room for adding on. Black foam core would be dramatic, but plain cardboard from the side of an appliance box is just as good, and lends itself to a hardware store atmosphere. You might cut it out in the shape of a toolbox, or paste an illustration or photo of a toolbox in the center. Hardware store catalogs may provide pictures that can be used as a border.
Find a place to display the Toolbox of Our Faith poster for the duration of this program, or each time the group meets.
Developing children's Unitarian Universalist identity is an explicit goal of the Tapestry of Faith curricula, and represents one strand of every curriculum's purpose along with children's ethical, spiritual, and faith development. As you lead Toolbox of Faith, you will have opportunities to nurture children's Unitarian Universalist identities by helping them understand, affirm, and choose to act on the seven Principles of our faith. In Toolbox of Faith, themes, stories, and activities are linked with particular Principles as well as Sources of our faith. If you are not very familiar with them, review the Principles and Sources before the program begins. This will help you authentically incorporate them — and, by extension, Unitarian Universalist identity development — into the sessions you lead.
Certain sessions require longer-term advance planning:
Session 3 offers several optional activities that require high-powered magnets as components of a compass. If you will need the magnets, order them well in advance.
For Session 8, you may wish to invite a song leader and/or a musical accompanist to teach and lead "If I Had a Hammer."
For Session 11, you may wish to order a listening tool. An auto mechanic's listening tool would be ideal and is available on the web. A medical stethoscope is another option. A toy spy listening device, a seashell, I-pod earphones, or a cupped hand could do in a pinch.
Make sure the meeting space includes worktables for arts expression activities; access to a large, open space for active games; and an area where children can sit comfortably in a circle on the floor (as they are able) for the Council Circle activity that ends each session. You may like to use the Council Circle area for Openings and storytelling, as well.