We considered that there are all kinds of stories and all kinds of families who we love. Too often, one single dominant vision of family crowds out the many other forms that families take. Stories help correct that because we don’t just tell stories; stories also tell us. They help us celebrate the many diverse forms of family and affirm the beauty of our own unique family form!
Loving Kindness Metta Meditation or STORY: What Will You Make?
Consider these words~
“Who helped you imagine your story?
Who helped you see your place in the story of the
And what matters the most: who helped you
understand that you could be the author of your
All of which is a way of asking, “Who listened?”
Listen to: We Are Family performed by Various Artists (incl. Queen Latifah & Luther Vandross)
Weekly Chalice Lighting
We light this chalice for mothers and mothering;
to celebrate those who have taken on the task of nurturing a young one-baby, child, or youth-into adulthood;
to celebrate those who have nourished the light of truth and compassion in growing minds and hearts;
to celebrate those who have committed time, money, energy to the growth of others in this world.
We light this chalice to celebrate and hold dear this flame of love.
Discuss: Think about the stories your family shares. What makes a good story? Who’s usually the storyteller in your family? What stories do your family’s favorite meals tell about who you are, where you come from, and what you enjoy?
Making Story Baskets
Some stories will come to have special places in your family. If you have a few beloved stories, begin with those. If you don’t, take a look at this list, which was compiled from many UU religious educators’ favorite and most often told stories, stories that seemed key to understanding some important aspect of UU theology.
What we’re going to do is make our story-sharing experience a little bit richer, a little bit more fun, and a little bit more memorable.
Once you have a story or two you’d like to work with, gather a few objects that might help bring the story to life. Maybe it’s an animal toy, or a few toy buildings. Maybe it’s a length of yarn. Maybe it’s a few smooth stones. Go shopping amongst your child’s toys, find materials out in nature, or check out thrift stores.
For the month, put these objects (and maybe the books, or printouts of the story that they accompany, if you don’t have the stories memorized) in a basket or bag in a place where you often snuggle or casually hang out as a family. Throughout the month, read or tell the beloved story together a couple or a few times. Invite your child to play with the story basket as you do. Some families like to add a little something to the basket each time, too. Our richest stories have so many different themes, lessons, and ideas in them that you could conscientiously choose different things each time in order to lift up a new aspect of the story. Be creative with this, and invite your child to think what could be added with each retelling, too.
Here’s a link that has specific suggestions for how to use your story basket, or you could keep it casual, like fidgets for your child to hold as you read:
Blessing of STORY
Blessed are the playwrights, script writers, poets, authors of all kinds on page, stage, screen, and across airwaves, for through them, we know story.
Blessed are the bookmakers, the pamphlet staplers, the blank notebook fillers, the digital creators and curators, for through them, we know story.
Blessed are the illustrators–painters, drawers, paper and fiber artists, photographers–for through them, we know story.
Blessed are the stage performers–actors, dancers, comics, magicians, singers, acrobats, and musicians–for through them, we know story.
Blessed are the interpreters, the caption transcribers, the audio readers, for through them, we know story.
Blessed are the translators, within and across generations, for through them, we know story.
Blessed are the story keepers and storytellers, those who make space in mind and heart for the stories that teach, that sustain, that warn, that spread wisdom. Like seedbanks, they keep safe the germ of who we once were, and who we may yet be.
And blessed are the listeners, those of us who take the nourishment of stories into our very selves, we who let stories change us, who ask the question that begets all great sequels and other imagined futures: “And then what happened?”
-Teresa Honey Youngblood
Creative Visualization: Loving Kindness Metta Meditation
In the stories we tell about families, there is often a thread of love. Families come in all shapes and sizes, but at the center of them all is love! So to honor the love we get from our families, let’s spread and share it with others through this metta meditation on love.
Centering: Let’s now get into our meditation positions.
- Sit comfortably in your chair or on the floor.
- Put your hands on your lap or on your knees.
- Sit up nice and tall.
- Focus your eyes in front of you or close them.
- Find your breath moving in your body by taking in one breath through your nose and then slowly breathing it out through your mouth.
Loving Kindness Metta Meditation
Repeat after me:
- (“I” round)
- May I be happy/ May I be happy.
- May I be peaceful/ May I be peaceful.
- May I be filled with love/May I be filled with love.
- (“You” round)
- May you be happy…
- (“We” round)
- May we be happy…
Sing it as a song, by Betsy Rose, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RU_Vj0kytFo
Mindful Moments with Lea about STORY: What Will You Make?
- Remind the child(ren) about the importance of calming ourselves so we can better focus on each other and our time together.
- Tell them that a special friend named Lea has written a song for us to learn and it is a song that teaches us something important about this month’s theme: we have the opportunity to write our own stories.
- Center the child(ren) before playing the video.
- After the video, talk and listen with your child to discover all the things you heard together.