Monday, October 16, 2006

Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on the blog. Life just goes on, one foot in front of the other, and nothing seems especially blog-worthy. We’re all busy and working hard; I find myself thinking “Is this topic worth someone else’s time?” Maybe this one is…

Yesterday was our second intergenerational service of the year. We are doing one for each of the seven UU principles, as the children begin their five week unit on each principle. Yesterday’s was the second principle: justice, equity and compassion in human relations. Or in the children’s version: "we believe in kindness and fairness for everyone." (Drop me a note if you’re interested in how we are doing children’s religious education this year; it’s an experiment, and it seems to be working beautifully so far.)

I thought it was a good service, and many of the adults did, too. My criteria for a successful intergenerational service are (1) were the children paying attention? And (2) was there anything in it to feed the adults?

I had two girls act out a children’s book called The Other Side, in which a fence divides the black and white neighborhoods of a town. A black girl and a white girl have each been told by their mothers not to go over the fence, because it’s not safe on the other side. So they make friends through the fence, and spend the summer sitting on the fence talking and dreaming of the day when the fence will be taken down.

My homily talked a little bit about the civil rights movement and how Unitarian Universalists—both black and white—were deeply involved. Then I told them about the famous “blue eyes, brown eyes” experiment done in a small-town third grade Iowa classroom on the day after MLK Jr’s assassination. (You can read more about it here.) (A Google search under "blue eyes brown eyes" will get you lots more information.) I was surprised to see many heads nodding in the congregation; lots of our folks knew about it. I asked the kids “Who is in third grade this year? Who is in second? Who is in fourth? This story that I’m going to tell you happened with children about your age.” That seemed like a good way to get their attention. I’ll be very interested to hear what the kids had to say about this. It seems to me like a very hard and painful lesson.

I ended with a Berry story. I have been telling stories about my dog Berry for two years now, and I have quite a collection of them. A year from now, when I will be on a short sabbatical, I hope to get them published by Skinner House, the in-house publishing arm of the Unitarian Universalist Association. They are all stories suitable for telling in UU churches to UU children to illustrate UU principles. (Is this a best-seller in the making?)

Most of my Berry stories involve Berry and other real dogs; the only made-up ones are Bob and Rover, a gay couple. Yesterday’s story was about Cherie and Angel, miniature poodles who live next door who are very yappy and unpleasant. Berry can’t stand them, but despite his dislike for them, he can tell when they aren’t being treated with fairness and kindness.

Today was a real day off: gardening, laundry, eating dinner out (where we ran into a Presbyterian colleague and her husband) and a lot of knitting.

I still hope to make this into sort of a knitting blog as well as everything else, but we have to work out the camera issues first. Stay tuned. Now I’m off to knit socks.


Anonymous Sue said...


12:58 PM  

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