In "Moral Tales," a Tapestry of Faith program
This activity gives children a chance to remember or anticipate situations that did or could, activate their inner voice or conscience. A hands-on art medium can help convey the experience of conscience. If you think the group may have trouble focusing on role play and discussion to process the story, "The Wise Teacher's Test," you may like to use this activity immediately after Activity 5, Story — The Wise Teacher's Test, in place of Activity 6, Dramatic Exercise — What Happened Next? and Activity 7, Story Sharing.
Invite children to sit at work tables. Invite them to close their eyes, if they wish, and use their imaginations to see themselves. In your own words, remind them about the Buddhist student in the story who did not steal. You may say:
That student said there was nowhere on earth where he would not be seen, because he would always see himself.
You can also prompt children by reminding them that they see themselves when they look in a mirror. Thinking about how they look in a mirror may help some children begin visualizing a situation they have been in.
Now ask the children to quietly think about a time or a situation in their own lives in which they used their conscience. Tell them this situation will probably be one in which they had to make a choice about how they would behave, or what they would do. Tell them the situation can be a real one, that really happened, or something that might happen. Give some examples, such as:
You may wish to ask the children to raise their hands, or lay their heads on the work table, once they have thought of a situation. If needed, visit an individual child who has not thought of something. Help him/her quickly or say you will help him/her think of something in a moment, and come back once the others have started drawing.
Now ask the children to open their eyes, take a piece of paper and crayons or markers, and draw themselves in the situation they imagined.
Remind them that their conscience is part of the story. Say:
See if you can find a way to draw yourself, the situation where you needed or used your conscience, and your conscience itself. You can't really see a conscience or an inner voice, but it can be fun to imagine what it might look like.
If you like, ask some volunteers to share their drawings with the group. Be careful not to praise some children more than others for their art work, or for the ways in which they use their consciences. One way to avoid this is to always, say, "Thank You," after each child shares.
If children do not want to share their drawings, invite them to tell the group about the situations they have drawn. One objective of this activity is for children to hear multiple examples of ways that they do, or can, use their consciences on a daily basis.
Children who cannot manipulate the art materials can communicate their ideas about a personal situation of conscience to another child or a teacher. If the child wishes, another child or a teacher can draw a picture of the situation the child describes.
Some children may have trouble thinking of ideas for their drawings. While others begin drawing, brainstorm with individuals to help them think of scenarios in which their consciences might tell them it would be good to share, to help someone, or to be honest.
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Last updated on Sunday, November 9, 2014.
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