Our story today is about a New England man, Henry David Thoreau who lived almost two hundred years ago. He is known for being many things in his lifetime: he was an anarchist (someone who does not believe in government systems), a naturalist (a person who studies natural history, zoology or botany), a transcendentalist (one who emphasizes the inner intuitive feelings that some call spiritual over that of reason or reality alone), philosopher (a person who offers theories on the great questions of living), abolitionist (one who opposed slavery), and an American author, and many other things.
During his life, he had to learn quite a lot just to wear all of these different hats, so we know that Thoreau not only yearned to learn throughout his life, but put it into action. While he attended school and was a passionate reader, Thoreau was also committed to learning through observation and doing. He was a writer, a factory worker, a surveyor and a teacher during his life. Learning was a focus in his life for all his life not just as a child and young man.
Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817 in Concord, MA. He lived most of his life in Concord. The story of how Henry David Thoreau became a Unitarian Universalist hero and accomplished so much in just 45 short years did not begin in the lap of wealth and social standing. His family was not well off.
Listen to the Henry David Thoreau Podcast: https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-08-09/american-icons-walden
Thoreau serves as one of our Unitarian Universalist Heroes because he lived his beliefs. As heroes go, Thoreau did not wear a cape. He did not save the world. He actually became a hero by example, living and writing about life. He died in Concord MA on May 6, 1862, from Tuberculosis. He made little money from being an author during his lifetime. In spite of all the lectures he gave, his fame came only after he died. Thoreau still challenges people to awaken to their own state of mind to see the world of natural beauty, awe, order and blessings small and large.
Unitarian*Universalists believe in looking to nature for some of the answers to our questions about the Mystery that some people call God.
I wonder if it is easy to learn throughout your life?
I wonder if you like to walk in nature like Henry David Thoreau?
I wonder if you like to write or journal like Henry David Thoreau?
I wonder where you find answers to your questions about the Mystery?
I wonder in what part of this story you see yourself?
I wonder what other principles or promises this story reminds you of?
This is a Yellow Promise lesson.