Tapestry of Faith: Families: A Jr. High School Youth Program that Explores the Diversity, Commonality, and Meaning of Families


Part of Families

According to reports from the Census Bureau, a majority of all households in the nation are now headed by unmarried adults. There are now more one-person households (28.7 million) than there are households containing married couples with minor children (24.1 million). Family diversity has become the norm.

- UnmarriedAmerica.org

For the first time in the 210-year history of its existence, the U.S. Census 2000 allowed Americans to identify themselves as multiracial. This is important because the multiracial community of children, who now account for four percent of all children under age 18, is continuing to grow. Most multiracial, bicultural/biracial, or mixed-race children have, from birth, been intimately exposed to more than one lifestyle, speech pattern, cultural norm, and racial group.

- Northwest Regional Education Laboratory


This session explores families, with particular emphasis on uncovering stereotypes and realities about what constitutes a family. The central activity of this session focuses on the film That's a Family!, which introduces the lived reality of many shapes and forms of family through the voices of children and youth. Procure the film in the weeks before this session (see Activity 2, That's a Family!). This film is not as age appropriate as is ideally desired; however, the interviews present a wide range of families, which is not found in other films. Acknowledging that the film is not as age appropriate as you would like before showing the film will help participants feel less as if the film is "talking down" to them. Other activities in this session engage participants in examining how we and the media recognize different family structures.


Participants will:

  • Broaden and deepen their understanding and definitions of families, including the roles and functions of families
  • Explore the meaning of healthy families in a diversity of forms
  • Understand and appreciate the emotional, affective, and spiritual dimensions of family
  • Grow and deepen their naturally compassionate souls
  • Begin to understand how the living tradition of the UU faith and its Principles interpret and guide families

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Inspect the prevalence and content of stereotypes about families
  • Examine their own knowledge and preconceptions about families
  • Understand the notion of "family" as culturally embedded
  • Discuss how what matters to a family defines the character of the family
  • Appreciate that families come in diverse forms