Dear Toolbox of Faith families,
I spent a little time with our 4th and 5th graders, trying hard to walk through an obstacle course backwards, using only a mirror. It was NOT EASY!!! Have your child recreate the obstacle course at home, and have a family contest to see who can do the fastest without touching any obstacles or turning around to peek over their shoulder (this requires vigilant judges, I cheated several times myself, usually accidentally!)
That was the active part of the class, but the lesson was about listening to the still small voice inside each of us. One of the ideas below is to have a reflective conversation at dinner or bedtime. My additional suggestion is to use the monthly themed bookmarks to have a weekly question to reflect upon. We distribute them each month at the first Sunday multigen service. If you miss the service, you can always pick up a bookmark at the greeter table or from the brochure rack downstairs right inside the UUCC glass doors.
Yours in faith,
Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sounds of silence.
— Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, “Sounds of Silence”
IN TODAY’S SESSION . . .
The children explored the physical reflective properties of mirrors. We used a mirror as a symbol to teach about reflection as a tool we find in our Unitarian Universalist faith. We talked about using reflection when we have difficult questions and need to think about the answers. And, we talked about when, where, and how we take the time to listen inside ourselves for a still, small voice.
The children learned that we often think of our own “still, small voice” as our conscience and that some people think of it as the voice of God. The group heard the story, adapted from Hebrew scripture (I Kings 19:11-12), of the prophet Elijah and his experience hearing a “still, small voice.”
We learned about reflection to illustrate that:
- Unitarian Universalism is a faith that will help you nurture your spirit through reflection
- Unitarian Universalism encourages a free and responsible search for truth and meaning (fourth Principle)
- Unitarian Universalism learns from direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life (first Source)
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about . . .
When are times that different people in your family find it easy to be reflective? Around a campfire? on a mountaintop? at night?
Talk about the kinds of things each of you think about when you are being reflective. Does reflecting give you fresh ideas? Calm you down? Help you solve problems?
What does your “still, small voice” say to you?
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try . . .
Talk about ways you have used, or could use, reflection to help find meaningful, truthful answers to difficult questions in your lives.
Many cultures and faiths use meditative practices to foster inward reflection. Explore forms of meditation that members of your family could learn together. Research online about Zen meditation or yoga meditation and locate meditation centers or classes in your area. You can hear guided meditations for children and adults on websites such as Learning Meditation.
A FAMILY RITUAL
Try setting a time, such as during a family meal or before children go to sleep, to be deliberate about reflecting on events and issues. Ask each other to reflect on something unusual about your day or something that happened which made you think. Share your reflections with one another.