A Pocketful of Principles – 2

A Pocketful of Principles – 2

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

Explore the other Principles

2nd Principle
Offer fairness and kindness to one another.

2nd Principle Playlist
Listen to our 2nd Principle playlist here or build your own collection of songs that remind you of the balm of kindness. Put it on as you’re starting your day, winding down at night, or anytime you want to fill your home with the reminder of the good we can bring one another.

“Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote justice, equity and compassion in human relations.”

Read a reflection on our 2nd Principle from the Rev. Emily Gage on the UUA website.

[Image description: The words “justice equity + compassion,” 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 school-age kids and families

  • At school, what are some reasons someone might not show up and offer kindness to a classmate who needs it?
  • What might encourage you to be kind to kids you don’t know?
  • What if you needed a little kindness at school? How could you find it?

For middle schoolers, high school youth and adults 

  • We all have stories of times we needed kindness and were met with indifference or cruelty. Sometimes, these experiences make us feel ashamed, so we hide them away, never talking about them with people who might care and understand. But shame doesn’t go away when it’s hidden; it gets worse. Shame is healed by light and air and room.
  • Reflect on such an experience in your own life. What happens when you tell yourself it wasn’t your fault that you were neglected or mistreated? You might journal on this topic, perhaps even writing out the compassionate words or response you wish you would have received at the time. And if there’s someone in your life with whom you feel very safe and loved, you might consider asking them to listen to or read your story. In this way, we give kindness a point of entry into the story, so that it might banish the shame and heal our wounds.

Watch the video above, Let Us Give Thanks

Suggested Activity:
Ritual of Gratitude
Gratitude wells up when we bring our attention to kindness. Pausing for gratitude is a powerful practice. It teaches us to see the good that people do, it deepens our understanding of the impact of acts of kindness, and it encourages us to be more compassionate, too.Before a family meal, light a chalice or a candle. (Find suggested chalice lighting words at the top of this page.) Hold hands and sing Let Us Give Thanks. During the meal, invite everyone to share one kindness someone showed to them, and how it made them feel to receive it.

Listen to Mr. Rogers’ speech, above
from the beginning through 1:10, at least

Suggested Activities:
For older kids, youth and adults

  • After listening to the video, reflect and journal or draw in response to Mr. Rogers’ question: Who loved you into being?
  • Consider sharing your reflections with a close friend, spouse, co-parent, parent or child.

For parents and caregivers

  • How are you loving your child into being? What parts of their personality, which interests and passions, what unique challenges and gifts are you nurturing, on purpose? Which aspects of your child need more attention and compassion?

Watch the video above, or find links to read stories, below

2nd Principle Stories for All Ages

There are many children’s stories and wisdom tales that illustrate the power of fairness and kindness. Here are a few for families:

For older kids, youth and adults
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 Invisible Boy, consider:

  • Which of the characters in the story do you relate to most?
  • Who has helped you “become visible,” and how?
  • When has someone you thought you knew surprised you by revealing talents, gifts or qualities you didn’t realize they possessed?

For parents and caregivers
Read Room on the Rug. Then consider:

  • Is your child included and appreciated at school and at home? Do “one size fits all” policies and practices tend to work well for them, or do they have to work extra hard to meet what might be unfairly characterized as “reasonable” expectations? If their unique needs and contributions aren’t being taken into account, how might you create or advocate for a more equitable and inclusive environment for your child?
  • Can you extend your awareness and circle of concern to include children outside of your family? How might you advocate for school policies and practices that are equitable and inclusive of all children?

[Image description: A photo of The Dalai Lama taken from the side, against a black background. He is wears a red robe and bows, slightly with his hands together and palms up. His quote is printed in white text, “When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”]


Explore the other Principles