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

Taking It Home


We read a few poems about people's experiences during difficult times. We thought about our own tough times. We heard a song about hope and wrote a poem based on all the reflections of the day.


We all have times when we need help to stay hopeful or to act courageously. What have been the sources of that help for you: music, people, or inspirational words?


  • Create a board game that serves as a metaphor for something else (as all board games do, really). Perhaps it is a metaphor for working to end racism or bringing just and peaceful solutions to countries torn apart by political unrest. Think out such things as how to "move forward," what the pieces will look like/be, and what winning will look like.
  • Ask your family and friends about their favorite hymns. Do they like them because of the music, words, or both? If they like the words, what is it about the words that they like? Ask if there are other hymns that inspire them.
  • The poems in this workshop touched upon situations that many UU congregations are involved in improving. For example, your congregation might support advocates for prison reform, justice for political prisoners, animal rights, and racial justice. Talk to a few of the people doing such work. Ask them what brings them hope and what gives them courage?
  • Emotional Contagion, by Elaine Hatfield, John T. Cacioppo, and Richard L. Rapson (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1993) is a body of research that supports the belief that emotions can be spread from person to person. This and other research suggest that if you surround yourself with positive people you will have a more positive outlook on life. Make a list of the people with whom you spend the most time. Are you surrounding yourself with positive, hopeful, and supportive people? If not, you might consider seeking out friends who fit this description. You might need to also ask yourself if you are a positive influence on others.
  • The PBS series Independent Lens has an extensive list of protest music, categorized by era on the series site's web pages called Strange Fruit (named for the famous song about lynching, performed by Billie Holiday and written by Lewis Allan). CounterPunch newsletter has an article on protest music. Highway Is Alive Tonight: A History of American Protest Music, by Marc Leverette (New York: Praeger Publications, 2008), is a current book on the subject. Julia Ward Howe is included in the Strange Fruit web pages. How many other UUs can you find?