The natural response to genuinely-felt gratitude is generosity. — Rev. William Metzger, UU Minister, from a sermon, "Gratitude and Generosity," First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, March 4, 2007
IN TODAY'S WORKSHOP... We talked about the two-part cycle of gratitude and generosity. A person feeling gratitude may respond with a generous act. That generosity generates new gratitude, and so on. Together, gratitude and generosity may brim over enough to be a "two-G force" for good. In this workshop we applied gratitude and generosity to stewardship of Earth's water resources.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about... Do you feel gratitude and generosity working together in your own lives? When somebody does something for you, do you want to do something for them, or do you just think you should? If you do not feel an impulse to generosity, consider whether you are truly feeling gratitude. How can you be more aware of the experience of gratitude on a daily basis? What happens if you are generous to somebody and they are not grateful or generous in return? How does that feel? Does generosity need to have a reward?
Is Christmas a two-G day for you and your family, a time when gratitude and generosity work together? If your family does not celebrate Christmas, are there other two-G days in your lives? Do you want to schedule more of them?
What about a home water day? Should you have one? What will you do? You could try some of the ideas below, for example, search on the Internet to find ways you can easily help with the stewardship of water.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER . Try ... to find new ways your family can help with water resources. Try the Earth Easy website, the Green Venture website, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website and a website dedicated to the vulnerable Mono Lake and Mono Basin which supplies water to people in Southern California.
Water Inventions. Can you think of something clever to help people in lands with too little clean water and too little money? Your invention should be inexpensive to make and transport (or buildable locally) and easy to use.
Water Scavenger Hunt. Try a new watery drink, food or recipe. Maybe it will be a new kind of gelatin desert, or a new kind of melon.
FAMILY SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
Say "thank you". Make words of gratitude part of your daily routine. Say a blessing at dinner, or at special meals. If you pray, include statements of thanks in your prayers. If you meditate, bring in the knowledge of all that is given to you, and feel your gratitude; reflect on all the gifts which go willingly from you to others, and know that you are generous. Be conscious of the two-G force, and help to build it whenever you can.
Experiment with water in its three forms—vapor, liquid and solid. Which takes up the most space? If you wanted to carry all the water you could, what form would you choose? What happens when you fill a container to the brim with water and put it in the freezer? What happens to the lid on a pan when you boil water and it turns to vapor? Note: Be careful. Don't experiment with boiling water without an adult to help.
Do Internet research on dowsing, or water witching, and see if you want to try it. Dowsing means looking for water with a forked stick or a similar tool. Some people believe that if they walk around holding the stick in their hands just right, it will point down when they are over water. Some use this approach to know where to dig a well. But don't expect too much. There is doubt that dowsing really works.
FAMILY SPACE SEARCH
Is there water on Mars? Until recently, scientists thought water existed only on the Earth. Some have begun to change their minds. Why? What does this mean? You can check this out by visiting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration online.
FAMILY STEWARDSHIP COMMITMENT
Act in stewardship by "adopting" an endangered whale or other marine creature. That means paying money to help with stewardship of the resources the creature needs. You can start by visiting the website of an international organization such as the World Wildlife Foundation.