Religious Education at Home for preschoolers, kids, youth and adults
from material developed by Lauren Wyeth, Director of Children, Youth & Family Ministries at the First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
Respect the worth and dignity of each person.
Listen to our 1st Principle playlist here or build your own collection of songs that remind you of your inherent value. Put it on as you’re starting your day, winding down at night, or anytime you want to fill your home with the reminder that you are worthy and loved.
“Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person.”
[Image description: The words “remember your inherent worth and dignity,” in dark green letters, are superimposed on a background of overlapping circles in a variety of pale greens.]
Questions for reflection, discussion or journaling:
For kids and families
- Who makes you feel like you have more value than the most precious gem in the world? How do they do that?
For middle schoolers, high school youth and adults
- Sometimes we can change our habits by “acting as if.” For example, if we wish to be a talented athlete, we can ask ourselves what talented athletes do. (They practice daily; they find excellent coaches and listen to them; they don’t quit, even when they don’t succeed, etc.) If we “act is if” we are already talented athletes, we may find that we become them.
- In a similar vein, we can think about what people do when they are aware of their own worth and dignity. If we were to “act as if” we understood our own value, what kinds of things would we do? How would we treat and take care of ourselves?
For high school youth and adults
- What are some ways your life reflects the truth of your inherent worth and dignity? In what ways do others – or the larger systems in our society – treat you like the valuable being you are? In what ways do they fail to reflect your value, or treat you like you are expendable?
Suggested Activity: Offer a Blessing
Go On Your Way in Peace is a musical blessing. It’s a blessing in song that reminds us of the sacred spark we carry and encourages to “shine that light” wherever we go. It’s similar to a shorter blessing that parents and caregivers can offer each time they send their children off to school, as many of us will soon be doing again after a long break: May you be blessed. And may you be a blessing.Whatever form it takes, whatever words are right for you, try engaging in this practice of blessing at home. As you wake, as you begin your day’s work, as you move toward bed, it doesn’t matter when so much as it matters that you incorporate it into the daily rhythm of your family. Who doesn’t need this: a daily reminder that we are loved, that we have inherent worth and value, that it matters enough that there is always enough time to pause and say these words out loud? Read or listen to the Rev. Ellen Quaadgras’ reflections on the practice of blessing here.
Learn more about the song here
For younger kids and families
- Make up hand motions or choreograph a dance and sing together. For younger kids, a simpler, alternative song is I’m Unique and Unrepeatable.
For older kids, youth and adults
- Find a quiet time (relaxing on the couch, or tucking into bed) and take turns singing How Could Anyone to each other. If everyone consents to the touch, try placing your hand over your family member’s heart as you sing.
- At another time, try singing the song to yourself, perhaps holding your hand over your own heart while looking at your reflection in a mirror.
For parents and caregivers
- 3 Bids Kids Are Making to Parents During the Pandemic, by Erin Leyba, LCSW, Ph.D., offers help in recognizing how our kids may be seeking attention.
1st Principle Stories for all ages
There are many children’s stories and wisdom tales that illustrate the inherent worth and dignity of all people. Here are a few for families:
Though these stories may sound as though they’re just for little ones, their messages are relevant to people of all ages. For example, after watching The Cracked Pot, consider:
- What personal flaws make you feel ashamed, or cause you to doubt your value?
- Are there ways those “flaws” might be reimagined as gifts, or leveraged as strengths?