February, 2017

In these surreal, often toxifying times, I hope you are taking good, good care of your heart and spirit. 

My gratitude to Tiffany Tillman for writing this month's lead article while I was on vacation!

In faith and with love,

- Martha

Cultivating a Family Stewardship Ethic
By Tiffany Tillman

This month we kicked off our Stewardship Campaign with Mara encouraging all of us to examine our perceptions of who can give and how much giving we are capable of.  The Stewardship Campaign's theme of "Now More Than Ever" rings true on so many levels. For parents and educational institutions, it's vital we cultivate an ethic of stewardship in our children- now more than ever.  

So, how do we do that?  The book Growing Up Generous:  Engaging Youth in Giving and Serving summarizes a few factors that contribute to the likelihood that youth will volunteer and/or give:

1.  Early, ongoing involvment in a religious group or other voluntary organization.
2.  Role models at home and in the community that give or help others.
3.  Direct experience in serving others.
4.  Being asked to give or serve.  

Growing Up Generous elaborates on the above factors by saying that when youth move away from the idea that they are receivers of a program to resources for a program, they begin to see the importance of giving and their role in making a difference.  So as we move away from a focus on youth programs, towards youth having meaningful relationships with members of the congregation and their faith journey, youth will begin to see themselves as having a role and thus become confident in their own capacity to make a difference.  

Just by being active members of FUUSB your children are well on their way to being generous and altruistic.  But, is there something more we can do?  How can we engage our youth and children in giving financially as well as of their time?  Is this even a possibility?

Maybe, we can encourage our children to take a percentage of their allowance, or birthday money, and give to the offertory basket each week.  Or maybe each year we encourage our children to pick an organization or cause to donate to.  Maybe we also engage our children in conversations about consumerism and challenge them to ask grandparents and other family members to give in their name instead of buying gifts for them.  

Now, more than ever, we need to instill a stewardship ethic in our children so that they can begin to create a healthy, just and sustainable future.
YUUth Service Trip Survey
Please take a moment to fill out this survey regarding the future of service trips for our High School YUUth Group.  We are looking at formalizing a rotating schedule of service trips that includes an International Trip every four years.  

We want input from current and upcoming youth families.  Soon your children will be going on a service trip and we want to be sure they are relevant and interesting to your family.  

Every family that fills out a survey will receive a coupon for a free BEN and JERRY's Ice Cream!

Thank you!

"Wanna Be" Nametags
Adapted from Families:  Weaving a Tapestry of Faith, Winter 2016

Sometimes we perceive ourselves to be something we are not.  We may think we are a certain way which might limit ourselves from being all that we want to be and changing.  Try out this activity at home with your families.  There are lots of opportunities for rich conversation to come from this activity.  You can discuss perception, change, identity, hopes and dreams and more.  

1. Find a blank name tag and a pen. 
2. Have everyone use a mirror to look at themselves.  Tell your kids to look at themselves, and really look! Tell them to look until they discover a seed of something wonderful that could grow. 
3. Ask them if they want to be more kind? More brave? More peaceful? And have them name that seed!  Write it on their name tag. 
4. Then have them greet themselves in the mirror with that name: "Hello, Peaceful!" 
5.  Try referring to each other with those names for a day or two and see how their perception of themselves grew and changed.  Did they feel more peaceful?  Brave?  Did it change their mindset?  How about yours?

What's YMAT
Pam Laser and Jonathan Sands

YMAT, the Youth Ministry Advisory Team, is comprised of UU members/parents who foster youth ministry in our congregation. It "seeks to nurture a more vibrant, inclusive, multi-generational faith community in which youth are encouraged to grow in spirit, service and leadership by sharing of their voices, gifts, and journeys within a diversity of programs and opportunities."  (YMAT Mission Statement)  

This year YMAT is focusing on opening multiple pathways for youth to be involved in our congregation as well as develop a spiritual practice and faith formation.  YMAT is also working to provide opportunities for youth to connect socially in order to encourage participation in FUUSB after 8th grade.  

Members currently include Sharon Leach (YUUTH parent and 7th grade parent), Wren House (YUUTH group member), Jonathan Sands (Graduated YUUTH parent), Pam Laser (8th grade parent), Tiffany  Tillman (Youth Ministry Coordinator), Rebecca Grimm (9th and 7th grade parent), and Martha Dallas (DRE).  

Ping Pong reminder
Martha Dallas 

I love how loved our ping pong room is on Sunday mornings!

Unfortunately, zealous enthusiasm has resulted in damage to some paddles and many balls. 

Parents, if your child goes in there to play, please keep a gentle eye on things. 

And remind your ping pong-loving children to keep their energy respectful, so that all can enjoy for Sundays to come.

Thanks so much!
Safety at First UU
This month's highlight:

With our children's and youth groups, we require a minimum of two adults present who must be unrelated to each other. If a related couple will be working with the children, a third adult must be present. 

Martha Dallas

In This Issue

Questions to explore:

Talk with your children about the idiom, "You can't judge a book by its cover."

Talk about how "appearances can be deceiving," and go beyond that to explain what assumptions and stereotypes are. 

See if they can identify assumptions based on appearance or perception that they have made about others, or that others may have made about them.

Most importantly, discuss the danger about making assumptions and ask, "How can we get beyond initial perceptions and what is good about doing that?"

Handy Links
Parenting Resources

Have a book, TED talk, podcast, or blog to recommend? Let me know and we'll share it here!

First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington, Vermont 
152 Pearl Street
Burlington, VT 05401