Activity 3: Story - Yammani and the Soji
Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A copy of the story "Yammani and the Soji"
- A bell, chime, rain stick or other musical noisemaker
- Optional: Paper and pencils/pens for all participants
Preparation for Activity
- Read the story, "Yammani and the Soji," a few times. Consider telling it dramatically, rather than reading it from the page. Practice telling it. Claim the storytelling; for example, try adopting different voices for different characters. The stories here are written for a Story for All Ages moment - part performance, part ministry.
- For storytelling, be ritualistic. Create a mood and time that is different from other moments in the session. For example, turn off overhead lights and use lamps. Position yourself where all can see and hear you. You may wish to wear a storytelling shawl.
- Review the discussion questions. Choose some you think might resonate with this particular group and help them share their interpretations of the story and relate it to their own experiences.
- If the group is large, plan to form smaller groups (no less than three participants) for discussion. An adult leader should facilitate each small group.
Description of Activity
Before you begin, ring the chime (or other noisemaker). Make eye contact with each participant.
Read or tell the story. Sound the chime again at the end.
Invite the children to think silently on their own about the story.
Now we are going to practice listening and discussing skills-both are needed to help us understand the story from multiple perspectives. Let's find out what one another thought about the story.
Remind them not to assume others share their opinions. Ask everyone to use "I think" or "I feel" statements. Encourage the group to listen to each comment and then share some silence. Use the bell or chime to move between speakers.
Begin a discussion by asking participants to recap the story in their own words. What they recall indicates what they found most meaningful or memorable.
Then use these questions to facilitate discussion, making sure everyone who wants to speak has a chance:
- Who in the story could be called "invisible?" In what way(s)?
- Who had the most power and status in this story? Who had the least?
- What kind of power and status did Yammani have? (respect for her storytelling talent, authority of wisdom)
- What kind of power did the chief have? (ruler of the society)
- Did the child or the Soji have power? What kind? (When child cried, someone listened; the Soji took responsibility for essential work of the society and could help the child because they paid attention to others and noticed what needed to be done.)
- In the story, what qualities give power and status?
- How is this arrangement similar to our own world? Are there Soji in our world? Who are they?
Invite the children to think about their answers to the next question quietly, to themselves. If children are comfortable doing so, you may invite them to close their eyes and give a full minute for the group to reflect on this question:
- Think about the worlds in which you spend time-our congregation, your school, your family, your group of friends, or a club you belong to. Are you a Soji, a Yammani, a chief or a child? Why do you feel that way?
You may wish to provide paper and pencils and invite the group to write their responses to the last question privately.
Thank everyone for sharing.