The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens with a love like that.
It lights up the whole sky. — Hafiz, Sufi poet
IN TODAY’S SESSION… The children explored Sufism as a window into our third Unitarian Universalist Source, expressed in child-friendly words as “the ethical and spiritual wisdom of the world’s religions.” The group learned about responding to meanness with love, using a Sufi story, “The Dervish in the Ditch,” as a starting point. The group also experienced a dancing meditation, not to replicate the dance of Sufism’s Whirling Dervishes, but to find their own movement. Then, we transitioned into a quiet meditation.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about… the Sufi belief in love as the path to God, and how we can respond with love when faced with a difficult situation. Offer your child some “what if?” scenarios. Discussion may open the topic of bullying; your child may tell you about being bullied, witnessing bullying, or bullying someone else. Be ready to take advantage of a “teachable moment” and talk with your child about ways to apply a Sufi lesson about kindness. Answering bullying with love is a very difficult, highly mature response. In some cases, it may not be an appropriate or safe response. It will be important to discern if your child is explaining a situation that needs adult intervention.
Ask your child about:
- The dancing meditation they did
- How the Sufi in the story responded when he was thrown in the ditch. (“May all of your deepest desires be satisfied!”)
- A time they responded with love
- A time when someone responded to them angrily, and how that felt.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER…
Consider some of these books as a way to begin a conversation:
- The Meanest Thing to Say by Bill Cosby and Varnette Hon Eywood (Cartwheel, 1997)
- My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig and Abagail Marble (Tricycle Press, 2005)
- Just Kidding by Trudy Ludwig and Adam Gustavson (Tricycle Press, 2006)
- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor (Dial Books for Young Readers, 1976)
- Let the Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred Taylor (Dial Books for Young Readers, 1981)
A Family Ritual. Unitarian Universalism is not just for Sundays. Make or purchase your own chalice and light it before family dinner. Say together:
We light this chalice to remind ourselves to treat all people kindly because they are our family, to take care of the earth because it is our home, and to try to live a life full of goodness and love because that is how we will become the best people we can be.