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In "Moral Tales," a Tapestry of Faith program
This game is about the expression, "If you could stand in my shoes." What do you think that means?
Some children may know the expression. Affirm correct answers. Then tell the group:
The expression doesn't really mean we need to try on other people's shoes to find out how it feels to be them. It does mean that if you can imagine how it feels to be someone else in a particular situation, you can understand the situation better. In this game, we are going to stand in the shoes of some other people, and see if it helps us imagine how those people might feel.
I am going to describe a pretend situation now. I will need some volunteers to stand in the shoes of the characters in the story.
Invite the correct number of volunteers to stand in the center with you. Some of the scenarios include directions for staging with chairs or the paper shoes; have volunteers help you move items, as needed. Assign roles, and read a scenario from Leader Resource, Empathy Scenarios, or one you have added. When you have finished, invite some or all of the volunteers to describe what they think the character they are standing in for would feel, need or want.
You might ask two of the children to "switch shoes" and consider the situation from another character's perspective. Then invite new volunteers to stand in the shoes and express what they feel and think.
After the children have had a chance to share their thoughts and feelings, invite them to sit again. Ask the group:
If there are two or more adults in the room, one of you can write on the newsprint the feelings that the children are expressing. To close the activity, you might go over this list of feelings to reinforce the experience.
The goal of this activity is to help the children to see how any situation can have multiple perspectives, and that our feelings toward someone and his/her situation can change when we take the time to step into their shoes. Another goal is for the children to experience that when they take the time to know what another person might be feeling and needing, they are more likely and better able to care about their needs and feelings, to treat them with greater respect, and to act on their behalf.
If children cannot take the exercise seriously or participate respectfully, ask them to sit away from the activity until it is finished.
A child in a wheelchair can position himself/herself at the spot marked by a pair of paper shoes.
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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
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