Family Resources for Sunday November 10

The details about Sunday morning:

Babies – 4 year olds

  • chalice lighting, children’s covenant, joys & concerns
  • play inside in our very popular wooden kitchen.

Kindergarten- grade 5

What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured. — Kurt Vonnegut

Background info:

We will consider the importance of the communities to which they belong, especially their congregation. We will identify the communities to which we belong, including our UU congregation, and will think about what makes a community strong. We will play a game called “Find the Simorgh” and may plan a ritual for our Signs of Our Faith community to use.

What you can do this week at home:

If you are unable to join us, feel free to use these links and resources to create a faith formation opportunity in your own home this week.

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. As a family, choose an intentional action to welcome new congregational members. Invite them to a meal or an outing. Ask if you may sit with them during a worship service. Remember that the congregation is not the building—it is the people who come there to be together.

Family Adventure. How is your family involved in your neighborhood or city? What new ways could your family support and engage in the community where you live? The American Planning Association website for children about communities includes Crazy City Stories and a scavenger hunt that guides children to explore the place where they live. Find local projects through your congregation or a civic institution such as your city/town hall, community center, or public school district.

Family Ritual. Have you ever meditated on or prayed for world peace? How about peace in your neighborhood? If your family prays, meditates, or says grace, include your local community in meditations or prayers.

Teach your family and friends to play Find the Simorgh (Activity 3).

Leadership Suggestion. It is important for leaders to be well informed. Find out more about Sufism, an aspect of Islam. Start with an article on the History for Kids website, or with a book of poetry by Rumi.


Grades 6-8

When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space. — Pema Chodron, American teacher of Tibetan Buddhism

What you can do this week at home:

If you are unable to join us, feel free to use these links and resources to create a faith formation opportunity in your own home this week.


Right Association Journal

Keep a journal about your relationships. Record significant events, both good and bad, and how they make you feel. Take special notice of any times you behaved in ways that in hindsight you did not like. How did others react to your behavior? Did they encourage you, drawing you further from your values, or did they discourage you? See if there are any patterns. Are there people who consistently move you toward your higher self? Are there others who consistently provide encouragement in the direction you do not want to go? You do not have to dump your friends if you recognize they are not as good for you as some other people. But, you could consider adjusting the time you spend with them so you give more of your time to people who help you move in the direction you want to go.

Say It Right

All families have their own styles of interacting: some tease, some are funny, some are serious, some are loud, and some are very quiet. But when you are with people a lot, it is easy to become careless or disrespectful—sometimes less respectful than we are to total strangers. How strange is that, to speak less respectfully to someone we love than to someone we do not even know? If, as in many families, this is something that is going on in your family, by doing something about it you can create a more loving environment.

Since knowledge is power, the first thing to do is recognize the situation and talk about it. If you and your family decide this is something you would like to pay attention to, make an agreement. You can call it a covenant, contract, pact—whatever appeals to you. Be specific. For example, your agreement might be:

  • No name calling.
  • No yelling.
  • No lying.
  • No sarcasm during important conversations.

Be sure everyone is clear that this is not about having more rules; it is about living your values of kindness and generosity. Be kind when people break the agreement, but remind them about it, as gently as you can. Do not treat this as a chance to tell someone they failed, but rather an opportunity for better relationships.

The Mindful Community

Is there something you could do to remind your town or city of its higher values? Perhaps the recycling program could be expanded or made mandatory. Perhaps homeless shelters could have longer hours, or, if there’s no shelter in your town, perhaps a shelter could be built—an existing, unoccupied building could be made over to use very inexpensively, for example. Or, does the animal shelter offer free or low cost spaying and neutering, the best way to keep homeless animals off the streets to begin with?

Identify something your wider community could do more of or do better, and advocate for it through the proper channels. For example, you could write to elected officials and employees, create a formal petition and collect signatures, create an organization to support work you think is important for your community to do to live its values, blog about it, enlist friends to help, conduct an e-mail campaign—even stage a protest, if you feel strongly enough! (But make sure you involve your parents and find out all the pertinent local regulations.)

Reading and Writing

There are many Buddhist writers and many good Buddhist readers. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Tibetan monk, is very popular. Try his book Peace Is Every Step (New York: Random House, 1995). His Holiness, The Fourteenth Dalai Lama, the world’s foremost Buddhist leader, has also written many books; his latest is How to See Yourself As You Really Are (New York: Atria, 2007). American Alan Watts has produced a few classics, including The Way of Zen (New York: Pantheon Books, 1999) and The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (New York: Vintage, 1989).


I hope to see your family on Sunday!  Let me know if I can be supportive to you in any other way!  I am here for you.

All my best with blessings,