Chalica 2013

Today is day 5 of our Chalica celebration.  I had intended to blog everyday with how it’s gone, but as I mentioned earlier, this week has defied all efforts to plan.

I developed some discussion questions to tie our daily activities with our UU principles.  The problem was that our daily activities didn’t necessarily match my plans, so discussions didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped.  But here goes anyway.

Each night at dinner, we lit the chalice and I summarized the principle for the day.  Then we discussed it in relation to the day, hypothetically or literally.

Principle:  All people are important, with inherent worth and dignity.
Question of the day:  Consider why the dignity of an enslaved race might have been ample reason for war.

We have been studying slavery and the Civil War, and even though we did not study the disunion that led to the war that day as planned, we were able to talk about treating all people as humans, how slave-owners treated their slaves as less than even their livestock. With C, we talked about how being nice to others makes us feel nice inside.

Principle: Be kind in all you do honoring justice, equity, and compassion.
Question of the day: Consider the simple kindness that is doing chores for other people. Who else can you help?

We were supposed to do laundry for guests at the cold weather shelter that our church is hosting this week. However, due to the dire weather prediction and unfortunate timing of the arrival of snow, that had to be cancelled. While I was quite happy not to have to leave the house, I do enjoy helping in that small way.
In lieu of using the laundry chore as a starting point for our discussion, I tried to remind the boys of other simple things, like holding the door open, or keeping the floor tidy so Grammy won’t trip, etc. We again talked about how nice it feels to help, and how it might make the helped person feel, and the chance that they might be inspired to help someone else.

Principle: Free to learn together with acceptance and encouragement of spiritual growth.
Question of the day: How does helping other people help us to grow as better people?

We did talk about helping people, and the feedback loop of feeling nice from helping, wanting to feel nice again leading to more helping. But I ended up focusing on accepting friends and relatives with different religious beliefs, and supporting them in their spiritual growth even if we don’t share the same path.

Principle: Search for what is true with a responsible search for truth & meaning.
Question of the day: Do you always agree with your classmates? How does discussing these different opinions help you learn?

Thursday is co-op day, and L has a class on current events. I was able to tie in a discussion this class had in which the class was deeply divided as an example of how discussion can clarify understanding. L said he changed his opinion several times during the discussion and in the end voted opposite of the entire class. I was proud of him for having the flexibility to allow his opinion to be changed, and for sticking with his decision even though it differed from the majority.

Coming Up!,

Principle: All people need a voice, such as the democratic process.
Question of the day: Why not simply put the issue of slavery to a vote?

It has been said that human rights should not be subject to a public vote because no one should have the ability to have their rights voted away [Ayn Rand, for example]. It is my hope that we delve into this idea with tonight’s discussion. It came up last year when Maryland voted on marriage equality. L has a very black and white idea of right and wrong, and he didn’t get why marriage equality was even a question. He similarly doesn’t understand slavery. It’s wrong, and that’s that!

Principle: Build a fair and peaceful world.
Question of the day: How can we continue the work that Lincoln and Mandela began?

Tying in the Civil War and the current event of Mandela’s life and death.

Principle: Take care of earth’s lifeboat because we are all part of the interdependent web of life.
Question of the day: How might the Civil War have impacted the environment?

I imagine the wildlife [flora and fauna] that got in the way of the battles were affected. Also, the amount of lead shot used….?

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