Anyone who can solve the problem of water will be worthy of two Nobel prizes—one for peace and one for science. — John F. Kennedy
IN TODAY'S WORKSHOP... The group experienced, through a guided meditation, needing a drink of fresh water when none is available. We learned about the Earth's water resources, how these resources have become polluted and what that means for people who lack fresh, clean water. We heard a story about the river god from the Masai culture of Kenya and added to our River Scene.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about... the Native American saying "The frog does not drink up the water in which it lives." Talk about what the saying means. Is everybody in your family always good like a frog? Or do you sometimes use up or mess up things that you need? Can you learn from the frog and stop doing that? Can humans really learn from frogs? From other animals?
Discuss the water needs and problems of your area. Do you need to be very careful how much water you use? If so, what are you doing to conserve?
What if you had to carry water on your head for six miles every day? That's what many women and girls in Africa and Asia must do. Some carry 40 pounds of water at a time. How would doing that change your lives? How would it feel? Experiment (very carefully) with carrying things on your head. Find something that weighs about 40 pounds and think how it would feel to have so much weight on your head for six long miles.
Is your congregation doing enough stewardship of water resources? If not, can you help it do more?
What do you wish to have that you don't have? Is anything on your list as basic as water or food? Or clothing you need just for protection? Do your wants qualify as needs? Or are they all "nice-to-haves"?
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try...
A FAMILY RITUAL
Visit a natural, fresh water site near your home—a place that is new to you, if possible. Walk around it, or sit near it. Be silent. Feel yourself connected with the water, with its life. Wonder where the water comes from, and where it will go. Talk about this as a spiritual moment. Maybe this place will be a new place to love.
FAMILY SCAVENGER HUNT
Chose a body of water near your home. It can be an old favorite or it can be the new one you chose for your family ritual. Make a drawing or a photograph of the body of water. Or, write the name or description of a plant that grows nearby. Bring your picture or writing to share at our next meeting.
FAMILY FISH VISIT
Go to an aquarium in your area. Spend plenty of time, and think about your connection to the life forms you see there. Don't just walk by the tanks. Stand or sit in front of them and really watch carefully.
Try The Once and Future King by T. H. White—the story of King Arthur. In chapter 5, Merlin leads the young Arthur on an adventure to experience what it is like to be a fish.
See who can write down the most water words. Consider working in mixed generation teams. Whose list makes people feel the wettest?
FA MILY CONSERVATION EXPERIMENT
How do you usually get a cold drink of water? Run the water in the sink until it is cold enough to drink. But first—put a stopper in your kitchen sink. When the water is cold enough to drink, measure the water you have collected. Then use it for watering plants. Now fill a container with water and place it in the refrigerator so it will be cold when you wish to drink it. The amount of water you used to water the plants is the amount your refrigerator can help you save every time you want a cold drink.
Do Internet research on seeding clouds to make rain. Start by finding out how it is done in the State of Texas.
FAMILY WATER PROJECTS
Re-use a plastic bottle and look underwater. The Instructables website offers a way to recycle a two-liter plastic bottle as an underwater viewing scope. Be careful of sharp edges—you may want to cover them with duct tape.
Try the Family Fun website for more ideas.
FAMILY STEWARDSHIP COMMITMENT
Join the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Help with its projects to protect water resources.
Lend money to somebody poor in another country. In 2005, Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Price for microfinance in Bangladesh. It does not take much money to help someone start a small business. Start by visiting the Kiva website to see how to really help someone in a developing country for $25. Projects you support might not be directly water related, but they could be important.