Credo Writing

What I believe

One of the main activities that the Coming of Age group was involved in during our time together was credo writing, based on the UU curriculum, Words to Live By. A credo is a concise statement of one's beliefs and values. While the hope was that the participants would end up writing their own credos by the end of the program, it doesn't appear that they actually reached this point, which is fine; it's not like you can't 'come of age' without having written a credo!

However, because clarifying and articulating what one believes is an ongoing process, we thought you might find it interesting to have some background on the credo-writing activities your son or daughter participated in. Feel free to discuss any of the questions listed below with them. You might end up writing your own credo, or it could be a summer project for the whole family! :-)

We started with a guided visualization of the participants' lives to dates, to help them reflect on the key events and experiences that had contributed to what they value; building on that, they drew a life map which included their future hopes and dreams as well as their past. The second week we talked about the 'big questions' in life, like "Why am I here?" and "What happens when we die?", and had a good time sharing possible answers! We also had fun with a couple of 'belief quizzes' at www.beliefnet.com: 'Belief-o-Matic' and 'What's Your Spiritual Type?'. Check these out and you can compare answers with your son/daughter.

The third session was at Shekinah. Participants were given the list of questions I've included below, from which they could pick any that they found useful and interesting to write about. They also had the opportunity (but probably not enough time) to make a collage representing themselves and their values.

Credo writing suggestions

A personal credo should be clear and specific. When you read it, it should provide you with a stronger sense of self and a stronger sense of purpose. A personal credo helps us be true to ourselves, to live with integrity.

Draft a written statement that expresses, from your heart, what you stand for. You may use straightforward language or you may choose to be poetic. Your credo statement may simply be a list of what you believe and value, it may be a quotation of someone else's words, or it may be a combination of things. Your credo should be written in a way that is meaningful to YOU.

The simplest way to begin is by completing the following: "I believe . . . " or "I am committed to . . . "

Below is a list of questions from several sessions, any or all of which may help you get at the core beliefs and values that you might want to include in your credo statement.

Beliefs and values

  • What have your primary caregivers (parents, other important adults) taught or conveyed to you, through word and through action, about what matters most in life? (Try to think of three to five things.) Are these things also important to you?
  • What do you believe is the purpose of life?
  • What helps you experience a sense of purpose and meaning? When do you feel most happy and fulfilled?
  • What generates in you a sense of wonder and awe about life and the universe?
  • What are some basic beliefs, positive or negative, that you hold about human nature?
  • List some (up to 10) basic core beliefs or simple truths that you live by. Core beliefs are those that represent your deepest beliefs about life, or principles by which you live.
  • What qualities do you most appreciate in the following people?
    • Your parents or primary caregivers.
    • Your ideal life partner.
    • The friends you most admire.
    • The public figure or role model you most admire.
    • The historical figure you most admire.
    • The religious leader you most admire.
  • What core beliefs or values have the most meaning to you, from your own faith tradition? What about other faith traditions that you admire?

Can you notice any patterns from answering these questions, certain qualities and/or values that keep coming up?

- Kathryn Green, 2008