Tuesday, May 14, 2019

May 12, 2019 -- Curiosity in many forms

Sunday May 12, 2019

In the Children's Chapel we introduced the theme of Curiosity and went several directions with it.  The kids knew a lot about curiosity.  We talked about wondering how to do something that you've never tried before.  They knew about asking someone who does know a lot about whatever you're curious about.  That picking good questions to ask is an important part of curiosity.

In general, curiosity is a really good thing that helps us learn.  Sometimes we have to be careful about what we say or do to act on that curiosity.

We read the book Don't Touch My Hair by Sharee Miller.  The kids were captivated as the main character explains how she loves her fluffy, big, curly hair but so does everyone else.  People are always commenting on it and always touching it--usually without asking first.  We talked about if you're curious about someone, get their permission before just touching.  This applies to hair, skin, clothing, wheelchairs, babies, etc.

Continue the conversation at home:  

  • Have you ever had something that everyone is curious about and wants to touch?  How did it feel?  How did you respond?
  • Can you think of a time you were so overcome with curiosity you touched someone or something without asking first?  What might you say if you had a do-over?  

Since it was also Mother's Day, we followed up with some ways to celebrate our own mother or some mothers who we care about even if they are not our mothers.  We were making gift certificates and curious to brainstorm what things we might be able to do for our mothers / parents / friends to make their day special.  Ideas included: just helping out more, cuddling them during a thunderstorm, making them a cup of tea or coffee, helping make everyone's beds around the house, making them breakfast, helping to clean the house.

During the 9am Spiritual Exploration time, we brainstormed hand motions to go with a song for next Sunday's worship which celebrates Lifespan Spiritual Exploration.  The song is "From You I Receive."  If your child was there at 9am, ask them if they remember the hand motions and you can learn it early.  Music here.

During the 11am Spiritual Exploration time, we had enough extra volunteers that we added a choice option of going outside to pick-up litter--thinking of Mother's Day on a big scale of caring for Mother Earth.  Our tie into Curiosity was, how many cigarette butts might we find.  What would you guess?  We were about 10 of us going out for 20 minutes, just around the church yard, and the library yard across the street.  Our guesses were between 25 and 59 or so.  Scroll down to find out the total!

That's right, we found approximately 232 cigarette butts during our brief time outside.  Thank you to the amazing litter picker-uppers and the mathematics team work to figure out the answer to our question.  Our estimate was far too low.  It led us to ask other questions, like "Why do people who smoke throw out the butts?"  "What are they made out of?"  "Could more places put out large cans like we do at the church, to concentrate where the butts get dumped?"

An example of some of the Mothers Day appreciation that some kids chose to focus on.  (We did have copies with blank gender pronouns, for mothers who may use other pronouns besides she/her/hers.).

April 14, 28, and May 5, 2019: All Species Day

Sunday April 14 and Sunday April 28 were in part spent preparing for All Species Day--an opportunity to celebrate the WHOLENESS of the web of life of which we are a part.

May 5, 2019 was an actual Multigenerational Service completely dedicated to All Species Day.  Click here to listen to the story that Rev. Joan and I wrote, which wove through the entire worship service.

Spiritual Theme: As Unitarian Universalists, the 7 principles are a guide for how to live.  The 7th principle is to honor the interconnected web of life.  What can we do at church to honor that web?  

1. We talked about what animal energy was living inside of us on that day and moved as a group like those animals that were mentioned as we went around the circle.  

2. All ages were given a chance to make masks or other animal / plant props either for themselves on May 5th, or as loaner masks.  

On April 14th, kids who wanted a different option made pudding for the free Monday Community Lunch that we serve at the church.  

Both groups showed great teamwork and honoring of our covenant in how they shared materials and tasks.  

Thank you to all the kids, youth, and volunteers who helped make this Multigenerational Worship Service come to life!

Continue the conversation at home:

  • What animal or plant energy is living inside you today?  (Enegetic = bunny? tadpole?  Shy = kitten?) 
  • Go for a walk and look for signs of plants and animals that are interconnected.  (ex. insects pollinating the flowers, food chains, etc.). 
  • Can you think of a lesson you've learned from nature?  (ex. a soaring hawk might remind us that sometimes relaxing can actually help us get where we want to go, or a loud pair of nesting birds reminds us to speak up and work hard to protect or defend that which we care about)

                        Below: Great flier made by 3rd grade artist Elena Guadagno.  Thank you, Elena!


Sunday, April 7, 2019

April 7, 2019 - Forgiveness as a Key to Wholeness

Sunday April 7, 2019
  • Names & Gems of Joy and Concern (just like the adults do Candles of Joy and Concern). 
  • Introduce this month's theme of Wholeness. We guessed at the American Sign Language for Wholeness, and turns out we were pretty much right:  ASL for Whole.  
Today's focus: "Forgiveness as a part of Wholeness"
Spiritual Theme: We all make mistakes and hurt people sometimes.  Knowing how to ask for forgiveness and to give forgiveness is an important part of accepting the whole of our friends and families.  

1. We read the book Horrible Bear! with good stomping to accompany it.  
2. Like the characters in the book, we talked about saying you're sorry is 1) saying "I'm sorry," and 2) offering to fix it.  "Fixing it" can take many forms.  We acted out scenarios of things that might happen at church and what more you could do besides just saying "I'm sorry."  Examples include:
  • bumping someone so they spill a drink --> getting paper towels to help clean-up
  • knocking a block tower over --> helping rebuild it
  • stepping on someone's toe --> offering them some tea or a special treat

1. Many kids also heard the story Mussa and Nagib.
2. We drew things we want to let go of on the Budda Boards or on the scrap paper, and recorded the kindnesses our friends give us in our Gratitude Books, like Mussa records Nagib's kindness by carving it in a rock.  

Continue the conversation at home:  
  • Why did the girl in the book stop being mad at the Bear?  (she broke her stuffed bunny's ear and realized accidents can easily happen, and it wasn't his fault)
  • Can you think of a time when you accidentally broke something special to someone?  Did you say you were sorry?  Did you offer to fix it somehow?
  • Read the story of Mussa and Nagib as a family.  Try to think of some things you would each write in the sand, and others you would carve in stone.  Add these to the Gratitude Book (stone) or scrap paper to get recycled (sand).  

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Mar. 31, 2019 -- Celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility

Sunday March 31, 2019

Today's focus: Celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility 

Welcome: Welcome In song and chalice lighting
Introductions: Names and "Where would you like to journey to?"
Movement activity: Different ways to journey around the room (kids came up with ideas like flying, hopping, sliding, twirling, and more).  

  • We followed up on the book Introducing Teddy.  We talked about how it's important to dress and act how you want, and that being a good friend is the most important.  (We talked about how some boys may like to wear nail polish or fancy jewelry or dresses, but still feel like a boy and they are not transgender.) 

  • I introduced the terms gender and transgender.  We did talk about how sometimes a boy might wear a skirt or dress and that doesn't necessarily mean they are transgender, just they like wearing dresses.  

  • We talked about how some people don't feel like genders we usually hear talked about.  If someone doesn't feel like a boy/man or girl/woman, or if they feel like BOTH genders, they may use they/them pronouns, or others like xe, xem, xeirs (x pronounced like a z).  It's good to ask someone what pronouns they use, just to make sure.  We talked about the pronoun stickers for name tags at church, at the Welcoming Congregations table.  

Gender stereotype sort: Kids had fun sorting a pile of toys, books, jewelry, clothes and other items into three piles...   Boys, Girls, and Both (during the 11am I realized "All genders" would be more inclusive that 'Both' and changed it).  

At the 9am, most kids agreed right away that nothing was JUST for boys or JUST for girls.  They had good reasons for each item.  

During the 11am the kids put many things in 'Both' but enjoyed sorting some things based on who USUALLY likes those things the most.  They were clear that it was FINE if someone from a different gender wanted to dress in a princess dress and that you could step in if you heard a kid saying, "That's only for boys" or "That's only for girls" and mention that all toys, clothes, colors, and even make-up can be for anyone!   

Two older kids during the 9am looked at the current restroom signage in the vestry and made a recommendation for a more gender inclusive sign.  They made a display for coffee hour.  We discussed this as a whole group during the 11am service (in the 9am we watched the dance portion of the service instead).  

Continue the conversation at home:  
  • Try a role play at home, of someone telling a kid that "boys can't be princesses", or "girls can't be firemen."  What would be a kind way to help teach them?     
  • What are some gender neutral words for: fireman (firefighter) mail man (mail courier), police man (police officer), stewardess (flight attendant), waitress (server)   
  •   Read (or watch these video links) of these fabulous books:
  1. I am Jazz   by Jessica Hershel and Jazz Jennings
  2. Jacob's New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman
  3. Red by Michael Hall

Monday, March 18, 2019

March 17, 2019 - Stewardship Work and Play Party

Recap of Kids/Youth Spiritual Exploration

We had a great turnout of kids yesterday.  Thank you!  It really makes the experience richer for everyone to have more of us here more of the time.  I know it isn't easy, but as much as you CAN make it happen, consistency is really helps in so many ways. 

It was also Tristan's first time back in the Children's Chapel (11am) since he's developed vocal tics.  I was really impressed with how the other children were able to focus on whatever we were doing, and not make Tristan feel self-conscious.  He seemed pretty comfortable and we'll hope he comes back again soon!  Please congratulate your child on focusing on the time together, not on the tics.      

Sunday March 17, 2019

Today's focus:​  Work and Play Party​ 
​We followed up with last week's focus on being a steward of places we care about--sharing of our time, talent, and/or treasure (money).  Since kids don't have much money, we focused on having time to donate to taking care of the building. 

Main takeaway: ​Giving of our time to a place we care about feels good, especially when everyone is pitching in together.  

1. We began with the welcome song​ then s​hared names and ​a gem of ​either a Joy/Concern. 
2​. Reviewed that you can be a steward of home, church, your local community, or the Earth/international community.  

3. Despite some dubious looks at first, the kids did a wonderful job cleaning and most got really enthusiastic about it.  They cleaned the marker and paint stains off the tables (9am) and dusted the molding in the Children's Chapel and (at 11am) we broke into small groups and dusted many other parts of the church too.  Preschool and K took care of their classroom--including organizing the supply shelf.  At each service we made time for some games too, including Telephone, Going on a Journey and I'm Bringing... (9am), song withe motions (11am PreK and K) Simon Says (11am 1st-8th)​. 

4​. Rev. Joan joined us at the very end of the 11am time to talk about her journey to Honduras.  

Continue the conversation at home: 
  • ​Did you share a Joy / Concern?
  • What did you do as a steward for the church?  How did it feel to work hard and leave the church cleaner than before?
  • Could our family be stewards together and host the Snack table?  

    Snack volunteer sign-up sheet here.  
    Most kids LOVE helping with this, especially if you let them really help. 
    Details here: How to Host the Snack Table.  
  • For 11am: How did you do ignoring the vocal tics Tristan was having?  What did you notice?  Do you have questions?  (Attached below is a picture of our brainstorm around tics.)
Besides the fabulous hard work of the kids, many thanks to the youth, parents and adult volunteers who helped the service project happen!  

Upcoming Sunday (March 24) ​Tanzania: A Journey of the Heart ​UCM Member, artist, and educator, Irina Markova, will share highlights of her journey to Tanzania in early winter.  She spent several weeks volunteering in a one-room school in a rural village.  She'll share her photos, some objects she brought back, but mainly the joyful stories of connecting with others.  There will be several times for small group interactions to engage the kids.  Small group charades to experience how you communicate without shared language.  What are a few of the most important words to learn in another language when on a journey?  We'll also make rhythms using percussion instruments, which need no words!  
With ​appreciation,


May 12, 2019 -- Curiosity in many forms

Sunday May 12, 2019 In the Children's Chapel we introduced the theme of Curiosity and went several directions with it.  The kids kne...