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Activity 3: Story — Teaching a Thief (15 minutes), Session 4: Building A Community Of Forgiveness

In "Windows and Mirrors," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • A copy of the story "Teaching a Thief"
  • A bell, chime, rain stick, or other musical noisemaker

Preparation for Activity

  • Consider telling the story rather than reading it from the page or read it dramatically.
  • Practice telling it or reading aloud. Try adopting different voices for different characters.

Description of Activity

Read or tell the story. Carefully review the questions and choose those that you think might resonate with your group. These questions are meant to help these particular children interpret the story and relate it to their own lives.

Explain that now we are going to practice listening and discussing skills. As we find out what one another thought about the story, both skills are needed to understand the story better from the multiple perspectives in the room.

Encourage children to pay attention to what they found meaningful in the story. Begin by asking the children to retell the story in their own words, briefly. What children recall and relay tells you what they consider most meaningful or memorable.

  • What happened in this story?
  • Have you ever been like the other students—angry when it seemed that someone got away with breaking the rules?
  • Refer to the list of punishments the children created in Activity 2; what kind of punishment do they think the thief should have received?
  • Have you ever been like the thief—breaking a rule of your family or group?
  • How were you treated when your "crime" was discovered?
  • Does that ever happen in this room?
  • When should people be forgiven and why?
  • Are there acts that are unforgivable?
  • Are there people who are unforgivable?
  • What would happen if you forgave them?
  • In our congregational community, do we have a special obligation to forgive one another?

You may wish to pose to the group a mirror and a window question:

  • Mirror: How do I apologize for breaking a rule of the group?
  • Window: Who do we forgive? Why?

Conclude by briefly sharing what this story teaches you about forgiveness and how it can help you and others remake the world. You can say:

Our Unitarian Universalist faith calls us to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person. One way to do this is through the practice of forgiveness when someone has hurt us.

Thank everyone for their observations and sharing.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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