Tapestry of Faith: Exploring Our Values Through Poetry: A Program for High School Youth

Taking It Home

The glory of youths is their strength,

but the beauty of the aged is their grey hair.

Proverbs 20:29


We searched for beauty in our surroundings and shared what we found. After discussing a poem by Gibran Khalil Gibran and participating in a guided meditation that was meant to increase our sensitivity to our surroundings, we searched for beauty again to see if our thoughts about beauty had changed.


Through which of the five senses do you absorb the most beauty?


  • Here is the chorus from the song, "Beautiful," by Christina Aguilera:

I am beautiful no matter what they say
Words can't bring me down
I am beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can't bring me down
So don't you bring me down today

(Full lyrics can be found at Lyrics007 and other websites.)

Many of us have experienced hurtful words. Bullies use them, but sometimes we all say hurtful things, often without thinking about how our words affect someone's self-image. Why not make a pact, with your family and friends, to help each other try not to use hurtful words about other people's appearances? Perhaps you can say a code word when someone says something hurtful. The code word will let the speaker know she/he has said something she/he might want to retract or soften. Some UU youth groups say "ouch" if someone says something hurtful, stereotypical, or inappropriate. If you prefer to be less obvious, try a code word like "pudding," a common but not too common word with a meaning that is understood only by those who made the pact.

  • Why not try a feng shui makeover? Hairstylist Billy Yamaguchi wrote Feng Shui Beauty (Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2004), which explains how to use the Chinese principles of feng shui to determine your strongest elements and use this information to design a hairstyle and makeup palette to suit your nature. Author Chao-Hsiu Chen, in her book Beauty Feng Shui (Taos, New Mexico: Redwing Books, 2001), takes a different route. She explains the spiritual and physical meanings of body parts and provides exercises and meditations to help restore harmony. The daily activities that are intended to deepen self-awareness and alter destructive behavior patterns could be used as a spiritual practice with family and friends.
  • In this modern age, we have more ways to access beauty than existed before. One means of access is the computer. Though it is often used for work, there is no reason why the computer cannot also serve as a source of beauty. Consider your desktop wallpaper. Every time you boot up your computer, the image on your wallpaper meets your eyes. Is it a beautiful image? If your family shares a computer, take turns picking beautiful wallpaper. Look for websites that offer free wallpaper. Start a conversation about why you or another family member chose a particular image. Your six-year-old sibling may not pick the same images as your parent, but remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You can also ask your friends if you can see their wallpapers and discuss their choices.
  • You may have heard of the concept random acts of kindness. How about committing random acts of beauty? This could mean either acting in beautiful ways—as did the individuals you discussed in this workshop's Faith in Action activity—or beautifying something. Decorate your friend's locker, just because it's Monday! Help your sibling add applique or patches to his/her favorite jacket. Serve your parents dinner by candlelight.