Activity 2: Values and Virtues
Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Sticky notes, about five or six for each youth
- Pencils or fine-tipped washable markers
- Optional: Newsprint, markers and tape
- Optional: Large outline of a human figure on newsprint
Preparation for Activity
- Prepare a large space on a wall where participants can place sticky notes. If you cannot put sticky notes directly on the wall, hang a sheet of newsprint on the wall or on an easel.
Description of Activity
In this activity, youth create the outline of a "virtuous" human figure by hanging sticky notes on which they have written personal values they consider important.
Ask the youth what the word "values" means to them. Help them understand the concept with ideas like these:
Values are personal characteristics that people think are good. Honesty and truthfulness are examples. You may go to a school where people think school spirit is a value. Boy Scouts say that loyalty and friendliness are two of twelve important character values. Other organizations often talk about different values and families have values, too.
Add that virtuous people, or people with good characters, have good values. Say that now you want the youth to create a list of values that make somebody a virtuous person.
Pass out sticky notes and pencils or markers; see below to determine the number of notes to use. Each youth should take some notes and write a different value on each one. If they are at a loss for ideas, suggest participants think of people they know who they think of as virtuous. What characteristics would they say describe that person? When they have finished, at a signal from you, they will bring the sticky notes to the wall and hang them together in the shape of a human figure.
The number of sticky notes you give each youth should depend on the size of your group and the time you have available. The more you have, the better the chances are that the group will create a good human figure, but more time will be required for writing.
Ask the youth to work separately so that the virtuous person they create will have many different values. Say that as they make the figure, they should think of cooperation as a value and work together until they get a reasonably accurate shape. If they do not have enough sticky notes to cover the full figure, they can build just an outline.
When the figure is finished, ask the group to stand back and read the notes. Are many of the words the same? Does everybody agree that the words reflect values commonly believed to be virtuous?
In the course of discussion, you might mention integrity, if youth have not already done so. One definition of integrity might be "living up to or honoring your own values." You might also add that integrity itself is a value.
Summarize the activity with words like these:
Good values make good characters. Good characters make virtuous people. Virtuous people do good things to make the world a better place. So it pays to think about our own values-what they are and whether they are making us the people we really want to be.
Option: Hang a large newsprint outline of a human figure and let participants attach their sticky notes to that.