Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Toolbox of Faith: A Program That Helps Children Discover the Uses of Faith

Taking It Home: Flexibility (Duct Tape)

The bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you refuse to take the turn. — Anonymous


Duct tape was explored as a symbol for flexibility, a tool we find in our Unitarian Universalist faith. The children manipulated duct tape to discover how its flexibility makes it a useful tool. The group explored the Unitarian Universalist expectation of change and flexibility in one's understanding and beliefs. We reflected on the value of developing an open mind, a flexible faith, and an ability to live with changeable answers. We emphasized the importance of being informed and flexible decision-makers.

We learn about flexibility to illustrate that:

  • Unitarian Universalism is a faith that will grow and adapt with you as your life changes
  • Unitarian Universalism values acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations (third Principle)
  • Unitarian Universalism comes from a flexible, living tradition that includes direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life (first Source)


As a family, share examples of times when flexibility has appeared or has been needed in each of your lives. Talk about how flexibility can be a tool of one's faith. You may like to use these questions:

  • How have you changed this year?
  • Describe a time when you felt you changed the most?
  • When was a time when it might have been helpful to be flexible, but you were not able to be? Why were you not able to be flexible?

Ask everyone to think of ways in which your family is flexible. For example:

  • Do different people take on different roles and responsibilities at different times of day, on different days, or during different months of the year?
  • How do shifting needs and priorities determine how you allocate family resources (such as a car, a computer, or a parent's attention)?
  • When does flexibility come into play in family decision-making? What happens when all family members are affected by a choice, such as what to do in free time or what to eat at a shared meal (as in the story, "Answer Mountain," which children heard in this session)?
  • How may the balance of freedoms and responsibilities shift among individuals, or for each individual, as children in the family mature?



For a hands-on exploration of how flexibility makes duct tape versatile, try some Duck Tape Club projects such as a picture frame, a rose, a bookmark, and a bracelet.

Two books with more duct tape crafts are:

Got Tape? Roll Out the Fun with Duct Tape! by Ellie Schiedermayer (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2002). The author, a high school student in Wisconsin, suggests twenty-five duct tape projects including a tie, a picture frame, and a crown and tiara.

Ductigami: The Art of the Tape by Joe Wilson (Toronto: Boston Mills Press, 1999). This book provides a brief history of duct tape and instructions for fourteen projects including an apron, a tool belt, and a wallet.


Find a flexibility message in "The Oak Tree and the Reeds," in the book, Once Upon A Time: Storytelling to Teach Character and Prevent Bullying; Lessons from 99 Multicultural Folk Tales for Grades K-8 by Elisa Davy Pearmain (Greensboro, NC: Character Development Group, 2006). The author provides guidance on how to tell a story, along with activities for a group of children — or a family — to do together.

See if your congregational library has or wishes to order the book A Lamp in Every Corner, A Unitarian Universalist Storybook by Janeen K. Grohsmeyer (Boston: Unitarian Universalist Association, 2004). This is a collection of twenty-one short stories that amplify and explore the seven Principles through Unitarian Universalist history and traditions, including stories about famous Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist men and women. It includes helpful suggestions for the novice storyteller and a list of further storytelling resources. Take turns reading or performing the stories in your family.

A Lamp in Every Corner A Unitarian Universalist Storybook

By Janeen K Grohsmeyer

From inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop

Collection of 21 short stories about UU history and traditions, famous UU men and women and the 7 Principles.

Buy This Book