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In "Toolbox of Faith," a Tapestry of Faith program
Tell the group you have a treat for them, but first they must reach a consensus about which of several treats to have.
Explain in these words or your own how consensus differs from voting:
In a vote, the majority wins. In consensus decision-making, the whole group considers the objections of the minority as well as the wishes of the majority to shape the most agreeable decision. Consensus seeks a decision that is at least acceptable to everyone in the group.
Ask if anyone has experienced consensus decision-making in a group. If no one volunteers, ask the children how a group of friends decides what game to play or what movie to watch together. Allow some comments.
Tell the group:
Consensus decision-making can be an effective way for a group to pursue its common goals. Consensus takes more time than voting, but it has advantages for groups that want to do their best to address the needs of every single person in the group. Groups that use consensus might be a group of friends, people who own a small business together, a church committee, or an intentional community such as co-housing, where families or adults live together by choice.
A good consensus requires open discussion, but the discussion has to move toward a timely and sound decision supported by everyone. It cannot go on forever. One process for moving to a consensus decision uses color cards.
Distribute the color cards to all participants. Explain how they will use them to discuss the decision they will make about the snack.
Announce the three snack choices, and tell the group you will facilitate their discussion. Invite them to use their green, yellow, and red cards and try to reach consensus on which snack to have.
When you perceive the group coming to consensus, help them articulate a proposal. (You may want to set a time limit for discussion.) Invite the children to show their cards as follows:
If you are also using orange and blue cards, explain:
In the Uniting Church of Australia, orange and blue cards are used to mean "I am warm toward this" or "I am cool toward this." The use of orange and blue allows people who have difficulty distinguishing red from green to participate in the discussion.
Facilitate discussion until the group reaches consensus. Then, serve the snack.
Find out from parents or the religious educator about foods to avoid due to allergies before choosing snacks for this activity. Also find out if the group includes any participants who have difficulty distinguishing colors. If so, use a bold marker to differentiate the green, yellow, and red cards with different, large symbols, such as an asterisk, a triangle, and a solid dot, in addition to their colors.
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Last updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.
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