□ 4.1 Four Types of Strength
Explore four different kinds of strength: physical strength; mental strength; emotional strength; moral strength (sometimes called “integrity” or “strength of character”—the ability to do the right thing). Ask someone over age 65 how these different kinds of strength have been helpful over their lifetime.
How does your experience compare to the experience of the person you interviewed? Which strengths have you used in your life so far?
Lead a discussion with friends or family members that addresses each of the four areas of strength:
- Physical strength: What can you do to build your physical strength? (HINT: Good health is a kind of physical strength.)
- Mental strength: What can you do to make your brain stronger and more flexible?
- Emotional strength: What are some things you can do to help you feel better or get through sad, disappointing, or frustrating times?
- Moral strength: What are some books, stories, and movies that you would choose to help someone younger understand and practice doing the right thing?
□ 4.2 Courage and You
Choose A or B.
What is courage? Find three quotes about courage. Which one do you like most? Now think of four situations in which courage was needed: two from fiction (e.g. from a book or movie) and two from real life. How are courage in real life and courage in fiction the same? How are they different?
Think about a time when you were afraid to do something you needed to do and still managed. How did you find the courage to do what you needed to do?
Explain to your advisor or another adult how one of the quotes you found relates to a real-life situation requiring courage.
List several parts of your identity (what makes you you!) For example, Girl, Korean and Irish heritage, living in a single-parent household, tall, Unitarian Universalist, jeweler, Girl Scout, soccer player, dog lover…keep going!) Consider what strength(s) you get from each part of your identity.
Which parts of your identity give you the most strength? What kinds of strength do they give you? Are there some things about you that have a downside, but also give you strength?
Make a list of at least 10 strengths you have. If you like, get creative with colored pencils, calligraphy, or a drawing program on your computer.
□ 4.3 Meditation and Prayer
Many people find meditation and/or prayer to be a source of courage and strength in difficult times.
Choose A or B.
Ask your religious educator for written or recorded material about Unitarian Universalist meditation and/or prayer and review it.
“Letter to Nancy,” a minister’s response to a seven-year-old girl’s question about prayer, may be a helpful place to start. Notice whether or not the materials your religious educator gives you suggest particular words to pray or meditate with. Do the materials mention any special objects people use for praying or meditating, like candles, mats, incense, or objects to hold? Find a few meditations/prayers that are already written or try making up your own prayer/meditation. If you have never tried praying before, find a quiet time and try it, using a written prayer/meditation or words that come from your own heart. You might also simply sit in silence for a while.
How is reading about prayer and meditation different from actually doing it? What does it feel like? If this is something new to you, how do you think it would feel different if you did it more often and got used to it? How could prayer and meditation give someone strength?
Share a prayer that is meaningful to you with a friend, a parent or caregiver, or your advisor.
Learn about two of the following prayer traditions: 1) the Lord’s Prayer in the Bible (Matthew 6: 9-13), a prayer offered by Jesus as a model for his followers, and used in many Christian churches and with self-help groups; 2) chant in pagan worship; 3) Buddhist loving kindness meditation; 4) Muslim prayer; 5) Roman Catholic prayer with rosary beads.
How are the two prayer practices you learned about similar? How are they different? Many people find these practices help them deal with difficult times and keep them feeling “balanced.” Think about what makes prayer and/or meditation work for people.
Describe what you learned about prayer and/or meditation and how prayer practices relate to courage and strength.