Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Windows and Mirrors: A Program about Diversity for Grades 4-5

Activity 2: Brainstorm Survival Needs

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers and tape

Preparation for Activity

  • Post newsprint where everyone can see it. Draw two columns with the headings "Needs" and "Who Provides?"

Description of Activity

Invite the group to brainstorm the resources they need to survive. Write their ideas on the newsprint in the "Needs" column. Needs might include food, clean water, shelter, clothing, love, transportation, sanitation, schooling, recreation, safety, burial, hospital services, etc. Affirm all ideas that relate to basic quality of life needs all humans share. Gently deflect contributions that are "wants" more than "needs"-for example, telephone service might be a legitimate need, a new cell phone is not.

When the "Needs" list looks full, fill in the "Who Provides?" column. Help children identify people who meet the needs they have named. You might include parents, teachers, bus drivers, police officers, coaches, garbage collectors, public officials, funeral directors, doctors, EMTs, nurses, etc.

Engage the group to think about the different ways service gets done: When is service a paid job? When does service mean constant vigilance? Some needs are met by caregivers and family; adults in a home provide food, shelter and love. People whose jobs are to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year may meet some other needs on the list; law enforcement, medicine and utilities management (water, gas, telephones, electricity) always have someone on duty to keep us safe, mend our wounds and keep our day-to-day routine flowing. People who enter military careers embark on a regimented life; they must follow a strict code of conduct that includes wearing uniforms and taking orders from higher ranking officials.

Conclude with the observation that we depend on many people, some whom we will never meet, to do service jobs that ensure our survival.

Say, in your own words:

Every day there are people in our lives who do tasks that are unpleasant, stinky, scary or painful because they have accepted responsibility to protect and care for us. Unitarian Universalists are called to show appreciation and gratitude to the people who choose a path in life that benefits all of us.

Leave the newsprint posted for children to use as reference/inspiration when they work on their Window/Mirror Panels in Activity 3.

Including All Participants

Be mindful of children who may have a relative in some kind of service profession. Give participants the opportunity to share their experiences of these family members.

Make sure conversation about all service jobs remains respectful. Model the appropriate acknowledgement that service work is sometimes difficult or unpleasant, and often unseen or unappreciated by those who benefit from it.