Activity 1: Conundrum Corner
Activity time: 5 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Clock and plant from Conundrum Corner
Preparation for Activity
- Plan to give the group direct orders, in a sterner manner than you usually use.
Description of Activity
Introduce youth to the ideas that everything changes, that everything is always moving from one state to another.
Begin by issuing three direct commands to the group. Use words like these:
Leaders in UU religious education groups do not usually issue commands. We think our job is to help you make up your own mind what to do and how to behave, not just to follow our orders. But right now is different. Right now, I am going to give you three direct orders, and I want you to follow them immediately, without any talking and without any complaint. Just do it! Now, here are the orders: 1. STAND UP STRAIGHT. 2. CLOSE YOUR EYES. 3. STOP CHANGING.
Pause for a long moment. Then say:
Okay, you can open your eyes, sit down, and start changing again. And tell us what that was like. Could you do it? Could you stop changing?
Point out, if youth do not, that nobody can stop changing. In fact, everything is always changing. Ask youth if they agree that even rocks are changing-and that in a million years you might see a real difference. Add that even our ideas about right and wrong often change, as this session will show.
Produce the clock and plant and ask youth why they were in the Conundrum Corner. They are there as further evidence that everything is changing. The clock may seem to stay the same for a full second at a time. But actually, something is changing through that second and building to the point where it triggers the next change. The plant is growing slowly toward death, though it may contain a seed that will slowly become new life.
Ask the youth if people can ever really see what they look like. When somebody mentions a mirror, ask this:
But do you really see yourself as you are? Doesn't it take light some time to travel? So what you see in the mirror is not who you are. It is who you used to be, a fraction of a second ago.
Help the youth apply the idea of constant change to matters of right and wrong. Offer ideas like these:
If everything is changing all the time, it is difficult to be sure about anything. If you and I are different today than we were yesterday, what seemed right to do yesterday might seem wrong to do today. As circumstances and situations change, so do our ideas of right and wrong. How we decide what is right and wrong also can depend on our perception, or our point of view. Sometimes we might change our judgments about an idea or an act just because we look at it differently.
Then move on to a story about how perception affects judgment of what is right and wrong.
Including All Participants
If you have youth who cannot stand easily for any reason, consider ordering the group to sit up straight instead of standing.
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