New address: 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210-1409.
In "Moral Tales," a Tapestry of Faith program
Have the children sit in a circle or around a table near where you have the newsprint and markers. Choose a problem from the list the children made in Activity 5 and, if you have not done so in advance, write it in the "Problem" column.
Then, revisit the solutions that students brainstormed for that problem. Engage the children to help you refine the solutions they have already suggested into three specific action. Write these in the three "Small Steps" column of the grid. Add your own ideas for small steps, if necessary.
Repeat this process for as many of the problems as you have time for.
This Faith in Action activity gives the children an opportunity to increase their sense of responsibility for problems they have already identified, and to identify ways they can express their responsibility and make a difference.
You may like to choose a group activity that requires individual, specific action from each person. Or, you can help each child identify small steps he/she will commit to take to make an individual contribution to solving a big problem.
Here are some examples of projects that might benefit from individual or group actions to provide something someone else needs or to take a stand and be heard about an issue:
If several children, in Activity 5, identified the same problem, you might suggest working on that one together, if it is feasible. If you are working on a problem together you can continue the planning and work in an additional session. Meanwhile, you may need to do some research to identify a specific project and some actions the children can realistically take to move the project along.
If the children have agreed to work individually, doing small steps on their own, all aimed at the same problem, use your newsprint grid to articulate the problem and at least three "small step" solutions. Invite each child to decide which small step he/she will do.
Or, you may allow each individual child to choose his/her own action(s) to help solve a problem of his/her choice. If children show passion about helping to solve particular problems, allow them to choose their problem and their small steps.
For each child, record the small steps he/she agrees to do on both an "I Made a Difference" Commitment to Act sheet and an "I Made a Difference" Certificate. Give the children the Commitment to Act to take home as a reminder, and be sure to mention this Faith in Action activity to parents, in person, via email, and/or in the Taking It Home handout for this session.
Tell the children that once their small steps are completed, they may bring the handout back to you, tell you what they have accomplished, and receive an "I Made a Difference" Certificate that you, and they, will sign. Make sure to keep each child's "I Made a Difference" Certificate and that their names are on them. You may choose in a future session to make a time for children to share the small steps they have done and receive their certificates from you. This follow-up activity is described in Session 13, Faith in Action.
To reinforce participation in this voluntary activity, and particularly to provide an incentive for children to do the small steps on their own, present the "I Made a Difference" Certificate or a special snack as a completion reward. You may wish to schedule a time for children to receive the signed certificates in a brief group ceremony when parents come to pick up their children, during a future session's Gems of Goodness activity, during congregational worship or at coffee hour. During the final ceremony or party it would be important to help the children to talk about how it felt to make a difference, and to connect this feeling with the idea that people actually doing something about a problem is an act of love, which is better than magic because it is real and makes the world a better place.
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Last updated on Friday, September 6, 2013.
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