Thirty Days of Love is our annual celebration that runs approximately from Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January through Valentine’s Day in February. It is an opportunity to lift up the ways Unitarian Universalists and many of our partner organizations are building and organizing by taking bold, courageous action for intersectional racial justice.
In 2021, 30 Days of Love will focus on four themes from a recently published report called Widening the Circle of Concern, which was developed by the Commission on Institutional Change, a UUA Board commissioned group charged with researching, reporting, and making recommendations for transforming white supremacy and other oppressions in the institutional history and practices of the UUA and its 1,000-plus congregations and covenanted communities.
5 WEEKS of fUUn!
WEEK ONE: GROWING THE ECOSYSTEM | VISIONING
- Have a family pajama party to write a family mission/vision statement. Display it creatively. We often think of families as trees (as in, “family trees”). So, let’s think of the family mission as the seed from which your family grows! Check out Want to Give Your Family Value and Purpose.
- Take a car or bus tour of different areas of your town. Think back to your family mission. How can you apply the values your family holds to your larger community? Does your vision of increasing love in your family have anything to offer the needs for justice in your community? Talk about it. Share ideas.
- Listen to Episode 21 of the podcast, Short and Curly, “Do You Have to Love Your Sibling?” and chat about it together. What about our larger, “human family” of all people, everywhere? Must we love everyone?
- What’s one thing your family can do differently to better live your mission both at home and in your community? Is there a role every member of your family can play in making this change? Brainstorm and make a list of ways the talents and interests of each of you could contribute to making a lasting change.
- Make a seed-to-fruit habit-change calendar. It is said that it takes 21 days in a row of repeated action to change habits. If a family is to start a new practice of increasing love in the world, the change must be nurtured and the responsibility shared by all. On poster board, make a chart of the life cycle of a tree, from seed to sapling, to tree, to fruit. Post it on a wall next to your displayed mission statement. Next to the seed stage, write dates Jan. 20-24. Next to the sapling stage, write dates Jan. 25- 30. Next to the tree stage, write dates Jan. 31-Feb. 5. And, next to the fruiting stage, write dates Feb. 6-9.
- Your 21 days of getting into the rhythm of making a change begins today! Everyone has a role to play. Starting today, check off a day on your seed-to-fruit calendar each day your family meets this goal. On days that you miss, don’t be mean to yourselves, just talk about why the goal was hard to meet and think of ways to solve the problem(s).
- Look up Lewis McGee together. Read about him and talk about why we should remember him in our day-to-day justice-making. Add a picture of him (printed or drawn) to your tree chart to nourish the roots of your work.
WEEK TWO: GOOD SOIL, GOOD SEEDS | GENERATIVE CREATION
- Day 3 of missional change! How is it going? What is fun, challenging, rewarding about this experiment, so far? Talk it over while you make acorn necklaces or charms (out of anything, including real acorns, if you can find them ) to wear so that you can always be reminded of your family’s shared mission.
- Print out the poster of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and learn about it together: Are there any examples of these rights being denied in your town, state, or country?
- Watch this video from Soul Pancake: If You’ve Never Heard of the Homework Gap, This Video Will Shock You and talk about how some kids have more advantages than others. How is this unfair? Do the kids with fewer advantages in your town have anything in common with one another? Do the kids with many advantages and opportunities tend to have anything in common?
- “Is it ever ok to break a rule? ” Are some rules unfair? Listen to episode 10 of the podcast, But Why? And read more about this question on the UUA’s Growing Young Justice-Makers page.
- Watch this episode of Little Kids, Big Questions about Purpose. What do you think the purpose of being a human is? If you were a superhero, what powers would you have and why? How would those powers spread love and justice? Draw a picture and write a story of your superhero.
- Strengthen your ties with your community. Download and print “love notes to organizers:” Decorate the notes as postcards and send them to staff and volunteers of organizations that your congregation has built alliances with.
- Look up Whitney Young together. Read about him and talk about why we should remember him in our day-to-day justice-making. Add a picture of him (printed or drawn) to your tree chart to nourish the roots of your work.
WEEK THREE: ENDURING THE DROUGHT TIMES | ENDURANCE AND COMMITMENT
- Increasing love when there is so much meanness and hate in the world is sometimes exhausting. Watch this video from Soul Pancake – How to Fight Empathy Burnout & chat about how you lean on your friends and family for support in your day-to-day justice-making. When is it ok to take a rest from justice-making?
- Place a small “home chalice” on the dinner table before you share a meal as a family. Before eating, invite each person to say one thing that happened today which was challenging, and one thing that was a success.
- Day 12 of your family’s change of habits to better live your mission and spread the love! If you’re tired or frustrated, that’s ok. Check out this link from Love Resists Spiritual Practices for Challenging Moments and scroll to the bottom to try some of the self-care tips, spiritual practices, prayers, and inspiring, fun music to keep you going!
- Check out your local library or bookstore for any of this list of 12 Books That Teach Perseverance from Self Sufficient Kids. How did the characters keep going toward their goals, despite challenges? How do you?
- Not all role models are grown-ups. Learn about Janna Jihad, the world’s youngest reporter, who reports from Palestine: Watch this video from Vice.
- Trees can teach us many important lessons. Learn about the wisdom they offer and take time to admire their beauty: Read Wisdom of Trees from National Geographic Then, think about the mission tree that your family is working to grow. What do you hope others can learn when they see your family living its mission each day? What examples do you hope to set?
- Look up Florence Luscomb together. Read about her and talk about why we should remember her in our day-to-day justice-making. Add a picture of her (printed or drawn) to your tree chart to nourish the roots of your work.
WEEK FOUR: A RENEWING HARVEST | SPIRITUAL SUSTENANCE
- Wednesday 2/5: We cannot play hard if we don’t eat healthy foods, and we can’t love hard if we don’t feed our soul on a regular basis, either. Read this prayer together, Prayer for When You Want To Do A Spiritual Thing But Are Really Nervous, and then write your own prayer that reminds you of all you have in your life that gives you strength brings you joy, and helps you feel truly loved.
- Thursday 2/6: Listen to episode 2 of the podcast, This Podcast Has Fleas, “Vet Escape” and talk about how each of the characters: relied on the community, learned to cooperate, exercised compassion, and adapted to a change in plans, when necessary.
- Friday 2/7: During the winter, many trees lose their leaves and rest. They must rest in order to flower and fruit again when it warms up. Imagine you are a tree and write a story about how you spend your winter, but be aware that trees do not live solitary lives. They talk to each other and take care of each other: Check out this video: Trees Can Talk to Each Other. Seriously from Fusion
- Saturday 2/8: What is “self-care?” Read these two moms’ blogs for inspiration and try a few suggestions as a family to gain physical and spiritual renewal. Read 10 Ways to Practice Self Care With Kids from Carla Birnberg Check out this link from Blessing Manifesting with a great graphic on Self-Care with Kids that you can share with your kids.
- Sunday 2/9: Day 21 of the challenge! Go celebrate around your favorite trees! Snack on fruit! Give hugs with consent! Most importantly, keep up this new habit of living your mission and spreading the love at home and in your community.
- Monday 2/10: Read “One Flower in a Field.” How did everyone in your family do their part to help make your 21 day challenge successful? What would it have been like to do it all on your own?
- Tuesday 2/11: Look up Fannie Barrier Williams together. Read about her and talk about why we should remember her in our day-to-day justice-making. Add a picture of them (printed or drawn) to your tree chart to nourish the roots of your work.
WEEK FIVE: LESSONS FOR THE NEXT SEASON | PRAXIS
- Wednesday 2/12: Watch this video of an experiment done to see how helpful people are in groups vs. alone. Do you ever feel like you should help out but feel weird about stepping up when people are around or don’t because you hope someone else will? Were there any moments that maintaining your seed-to-tree chart; keeping your practice going was difficult? What did you do to get back on track? From Soul Pancake – The Bystander Effect: The Science of Empathy
- Thursday 2/13: Look at the ancestors that are nourishing the roots of your family tree as you learn to live your mission each day. Who else could you add? Think of both famous justice-makers and people you’ve known, both living and dead, who inspire you to live your family’s mission. Tell your reasons why you are choosing to add each one.
- Friday 2/14: You’ve completed 30 Days of Love! Have a Side With Love family pajama party! Bring snacks, play music, dance, & talk about ways you can carry your family mission into more areas of your lives.