Unity and Division Group Guide

Volume X, Number I

Artwork by Fajr Alam

What binds us together? What keeps us apart? How can we bridge divides to communicate across boundaries? KidSpirit contributors from all walks of life consider the lines that connect and separate our communities, families, and selves. Take a deep dive into their expository writing, personal narratives, artwork, and poetry, then continue the discussion off the page to reach a better understanding of one of the crucial topics of our time.

1. Each issue of KidSpirit revolves around a Big Question, and this quarter the editors ask “Are the Lines that Divide Us Real or Imagined?” In a thought-provoking response, Maya Mesh takes a closer look at the ideals and reality of American life. While differences can make a society stronger, she posits, they too often become excuses for discord and isolation. However, Maya also offers an antidote for this trend: open dialogue. Turn to your neighbor and discuss two things you have in common. Then, find two ways in which you differ. How can you further explore the ways you are dissimilar? Come up with at least one authentic, thoughtful question for each item on the list.

2. Heer Cheema offers a moving Interfaith Connections piece on how the effects of a major conflict have rippled through generations to alter her family history. Read her piece “No-Man’s-Land” and reflect on your own experiences or traditions. Can you think of a time you or your ancestors were separated by rifts between families, friends, or neighbors? How did the event change you or your community? How does it impact your life today?

3. This issue’s PerSpectives article comes from Benjamin Jealous, a civil rights leader and community organizer. He writes, “diversity is good because it makes us better people. When we come into contact with cultures and ways of being that challenge our perspective, we become more reflective people. By engaging with people who disagree with us we are forced to inspect our own beliefs, prejudices, and assumptions.” We all take certain beliefs for granted. Have you ever made assumptions about another person that turned out to be unfounded? How did you realize your error? What did you learn from the experience?