Faith Formation News
Family and Parent Resources
These resources help parents as they engage the question: “What does it mean to be a family of belonging?” In addition to families using them at home, you might also use them to engage parents collectively, for instance in a Parent Circle that meets on Sunday afternoon or mid-week.
With Your Kids
(Ideas to engage belonging as a Family)
Stories To Read Together
Blubber (recommended for older elementary)
by Judy Blume (Author)
“This book is narrated by Jill Brenner, a lively fifth-grader. Linda, one of her classmates, gets stuck with the nickname “Blubber “after she gives a science report on whales, even though she is not the fattest kid in the class. Led by Wendy, the nasty class “leader”, the kids make Linda’s life miserable-and eventually the taunting escalates into actual violence. Jill joins in-although not wholeheartedly-and the climax of the story occurs when she is forced to choose between hurting Linda and doing the right thing. This is an excellently crafted story. Ms. Blume accurately catches the speech patterns and actions of everyday kids, and she also creates a counterweight to the disturbing aspects of this story with scenes from Jill’s life. These chapters are very funny; and they are filled with memorable characters. These vignettes keep the story from becoming relentlessly depressing..” – review on Amazon
Theme Connection: Understanding bullying, teasing, and empathy. Bullying is a heartless way to make kids feel they don’t belong.
More Than Bows and Arrows
Watch this together for Indigenous Peoples Day, Oct. 8. It is a bit dated, but it underlines how we need many voices to make a history that is whole.
“Discover the many contributions of native peoples to the development of the United States and Canada. Indian inventions such as sunglasses, snowshoes, and rubber have changed the world! From cliff dwellings and ancient cities to over 200,000 prehistoric earthen mounds that rival the pyramids of Egypt…from early mines to medicine men…to astronomical observatories and Hohokam irrigation canal systems, here is an uncommon and unequaled story narrated by N. Scott Momaday, Pulitzer prize winning author.”
Theme Connection: So many parts of history have been ignored and warped. When we find out more about the marginalized peoples, like the North American Indigenous Peoples, we realize how much more we need to learn to become whole.
Invite a Friend Home after Church
In my (Katie’s) childhood, we made it a practice to invite children home to our house from whatever UU church we belonged to. That way we got to know each other better and make friends.
“In the mid-60’s, we belonged to Kanawha Valley Fellowship, now the UU Congregation of Charleston, W.V. We used to bring friends home to play with us, my sister and I, in 2nd and 4th grade. One of our friends was Meg Riley, now the Rev. Meg Riley of Church of the Larger Fellowship. My mother remembers that Meg didn’t like spaghetti much and so Mom always had a can of chicken noodle soup ready for Meg’s lunch. The UU Fellowship provided a lifeline for our young family which moved around a lot. We felt we belonged.”
Invite a friend home after your church service!
Theme Connection: When belong to ourselves, we know ourselves and can welcome the stranger.
Family Movie Night Ideas
Odd Squad: The Movie (G)
Theme Connection: Belonging to yourself and celebrating teamwork.
(Support for Parents as Faith Formation Guides)
Helping Kids Cope with Cliques
“ How Can Parents Help?
As kids navigate friendships and cliques, there’s plenty parents can do to offer support. If your child seems upset, or suddenly spends time alone when usually very social, ask about it. Here are some tips:
- Talk about your own experiences. Share your own experiences of school — cliques have been around for a long time!
- Help put rejection in perspective. Remind your child of times he or she has been angry with parents, friends, or siblings — and how quickly things can change.
- Shed some light on social dynamics. Acknowledge that people are often judged by the way a person looks, acts, or dresses, but that often people act mean and put others down because they lack self-confidence and try to cover it up by maintaining control.
- Find stories they can relate to. Many books, TV shows, and movies portray outsiders triumphing in the face of rejection and send strong messages about the importance of being true to your own nature and the value of being a good friend, even in the face of difficult social situations.
- Foster out-of-school friendships. Get kids involved in extracurricular activities (if they aren’t already) — art class, sports, martial arts, horse riding, language study — any activity that gives them an opportunity to create another social group and learn new skills.
Devon McClurken Interim Director of Faith Formation