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Activity 4: How Would You Want To Be Treated (10 minutes), Session 8: Do unto Others

In "Moral Tales," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Set up chairs in a semi-circle, leaving an open area for children to perform role plays.

Description of Activity

A review of the story and engagement with questions and scenarios help the children apply the idea of helping or getting help from a "neighbor." The goal of this activity is to cement the story sequence, help the children to more deeply understand the concepts of neighbor and compassion and, to make personal connections from the story to their own lives.

To keep children engaged, you may wish to move back and forth between questions that help them review the story and scenarios that engage their application of the story concepts. Both are provided in Leader Resource, Golden Rule Role Play Scenarios.

If you have told the story, "The Good Samaritan," in a participatory manner with some of the children taking roles, draw out the volunteer actors' experiences.

Gather children in chairs set in a semi-circle. Review the story, "The Good Samaritan," with these questions:

  • Who did Jesus think was the lawyer's neighbor?
  • Did Jesus mean that everyone is our neighbor? Did he mean that everyone should be treated with care, no matter who they are?
  • A commandment in the Hebrew scripture says to "treat your neighbor as yourself?" I wonder what this means?
  • Does anyone know what the "Golden Rule" says? Who in this story practiced the Golden Rule?
  • Why do you think the first two people in that story who passed the wounded man did not help him? (Possible answers: They thought that he was from a different religious or ethnic group. He was a stranger who they didn't know. They didn't consider him to be someone they had to help. They were afraid — maybe robbers were still nearby, or maybe the man himself was faking it to attack them. They didn't think he was hurt that badly. They were too busy.)

If you have done the participatory version of the story, ask the two children who played the people who didn't stop to help, "How did it feel to be acting out this part and not to help the wounded man?"

  • Why do you think we are willing to help some people more than others?
  • How do you think the man felt after he had been hurt and robbed?

If you have told the participatory version of the story, ask the child who played the wounded man how he/she felt.

  • In what ways did the Samaritan help the wounded man? (Make a list that includes giving his time, wine, strength (walking while the man rode on his donkey) energy, food and money.)
  • What did the Samaritan expect to receive in return for helping the man? Discuss the fact that sometimes helping others involves sacrifice on our part. In other words, it involves generosity, sharing, and giving up things that we wanted to keep or wanted to do. Do you think the Samaritan man regretted sharing all of these things? Why, or why not?

If you have told the participatory version of the story, address these questions directly to the child who played the Samaritan.

Choose one or two scenarios to suggest to the group. You may lead a whole group discussion of a scenario, or ask for volunteers to role play. Use the sound maker to start and stop role play action so that you can interview each child participating in the role play.

Introduce the role-playing by saying:

Situations like the one in "The Good Samaritan," where someone needs help and we have to decide whether to help or not, happen all of the time. I will describe a situation to you and you tell me how you would like to be treated if this happened to you, and how you could act with caring and compassion if it happened to someone else.

Choose one or more of these scenarios for children to discuss and/or volunteer to act out in a role play.

  • What if you fell off of your bike on the side of the road? How would you want to be treated? What if you saw it happen to someone you didn't know very well in your neighborhood?
  • What if someone at school was bullying you? What would you want other people to do? (You may want to get more specific here: What if someone were spreading mean gossip about you, or someone else? What if a group of children surrounded you on the playground or at the bus stop and threatened to hurt you? What if you saw this happening to someone else?)
  • What if you dropped your lunch in a puddle, on the way to school? What if it happened to someone else? What if it happened to someone who had been mean to you before? How would it feel to share with someone who had been mean to you?

Ask the children if they can think of other situations in which they have had to help someone they didn't know very well, or have been helped by someone they didn't know very well. Ask how these situations felt.

To close this activity, remind the children that, like empathy, compassion is relating to how another person or living being feels and opening your heart to their need.

Including All Participants

The children will probably prefer role-playing these situations than talking about them, but may not treat them as seriously. Shift the mode of this activity between discussion and role-playing, as needed.

There may be children in the group who have special needs and often require others' help, or children who are frequently bullied. Try to be sensitive to how this discussion may feel to them, particularly and how exposed it may make them feel. Try to choose examples that could happen to any child in the group.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

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