3rd-5th Grade‎ > ‎

Democratic Process

Toolbox of Faith: Democratic Process

Materials for Council Circle

  • Tool of the Day —chalk
  • Chalice, candle, and matches
  • One tea light or votive candle of a different color
  • Glass bowl, water, and polished pebbles (for all participants, plus one extra) for alternative to council candles in tray
  • Toolbox of Our Faith poster

Description of Activity

Light the chalice and Offer these words:

We are Unitarian Universalists

with minds that think,

hearts that love,

and hands that are ready to serve.

Sharing of Joys and Concerns
Invite participants to share important things in their lives. What they share may or may not be related to the session topic and discussion.
Invite participants to drop a stone into the bowl when they share. End the sharing by adding one last stone for unspoken joys and concerns.
Introduce the Tool of the Day
Hold up a piece of chalk. Tell the children what it is called and that it is the Tool of the Day.
Pass the piece of chalk around, inviting the children to share their prior experiences seeing or using chalk.
Lead a discussion to introduce the chalk as a symbol for democratic process. Ask, "What do you think makes this a Unitarian Universalist tool?" Allow participants to share ideas. Affirm that there is no one answer. Then explain, in your own words or these:
A piece of chalk represents the democratic process.
Chalk can mark a vote. Chalk is also erasable, so that folks can modify their decisions. Unitarian Universalism is a faith that values the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large. We believe that people should have a say in the things that concern them. Voting is one way that people have a say. Whoever gets the most votes wins, because it is the majority vote.
Consensus decision-making is another way to vote. A group might talk about their options until they reach consensus about what to do. Consensus means that most of the people in the group agree. A consensus process gives a way for the group to hear and address any objections of a minority. That helps the group shape a decision that every single person can support.
Call participants' attention to the voting that some of them did before the session (Welcoming and Entering). Invite a few volunteers to tally and announce the votes for "favorites" on the newsprint (or chalkboard) and in the ballot box(es). Allow some discussion as participants react to the voting results.
Tape a piece of chalk � or a dark piece of paper with a vote chalked on it � to the Toolbox of Our Faith poster, and write the words "Democratic Process" alongside.
(copied and pasted from the opening activity)
Read or retell the story attached. Discuss the story using the following questions.

Using the Tool of the Day as a talking stick, invite participants to reflect on the story they heard today. Then invite their reflections on the pros and cons of using voting or consensus-building to make group decisions. You may also offer these questions:
  • Can you think of issues today about which people feel as strongly as many did about women's suffrage in Olympia Brown's time? (Issues may include topics such as marriage equality, abortion rights, or immigrants' rights.)
  • When you think about an issue that means a lot to you, what form of decision-making would you like to see used? How would you use your voice, or your vote?

(copied and pasted from Council Circle)
Read this benediction:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.
— Christian scripture (Romans 12)
Extinguish the Chalice.
Continue with the following activities:

Consensus Snacking

Cloak and Dagger or Apples to Apples