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Activity 1: Story - Henry David Thoreau and the Still, Small Voice

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story and prepare to share it with the group.
  • Read the discussion questions. Choose those that will best help the children share their interpretations of the story and relate it to their own lives.

Description of Activity

Read or tell the story to the group.

After the story, invite the group to be silent for a moment to think about the story.

Then, ask participants to recap the story in their own words. What they recall indicates what they found most meaningful or memorable.

Say something like:

It's easy to think of things being powerful when they are big, loud, and impressive, like tornadoes and earthquakes and riots. But sometimes big change comes from quiet forms of power. For instance, Henry David Thoreau, who so loved the quiet of nature, not only changed the way Americans thought about our relationship with nature through his writings, he also wrote an essay which introduced the idea of civil disobedience, which inspired and influenced both Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lead a discussion using these questions:

  • How do you feel when everything around you is quiet?
  • Do you ever choose to spend time by yourself to experience stillness? If so, where do you go?
  • How does practicing stillness make you feel?
  • What does prayer mean to you?
  • Can you think of a time when something small or quiet that you did made a big difference for someone else?

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