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Alternate Activity 3: Divinity Quote

Activity time: 5 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint and washable markers

Preparation for Activity

  • Write and display on newsprint the Alexander Pope quotation at the beginning of the session.

Description of Activity

Point out the Alexander Pope quotation you have written on newsprint. "To err is human, to forgive divine." Ask your youth what they think of it. Have they heard it before? Do they agree with it? What does "err" mean? Could you replace it with something else, such as "make mistakes," or the religious word "sin"? What does "divine" mean? (It is related to "deity," which means a god. One definition of "divine" is "godlike"; another is "heavenly.")

Ask participants to apply the quote to their own lives. When somebody forgives them, is that somebody acting like a god? Do they themselves feel godlike when they forgive somebody else? Or is forgiving just a good, human thing to do? Can the youth think of a way to rewrite the Golden Rule using the word "forgive"? (See Session 4, Activity 4. One possible revision is: "Forgive other people the way you would want them to forgive you in the same situation.")

Ask participants if they ever have had to forgive themselves for doing something wrong. If forgiving other people is divine, what about forgiving yourself; is that divine, too?

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