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Activity 1: Story — The First Supporter (10 minutes), Session 9: Lean On Me

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

Materials for Activity

  • A copy of the story "The First Supporter"
  • A bell, chime, rain stick or other musical noisemaker

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story, "The First Supporter," 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 a time that is different from other moments in the session. For example, turn overhead lights off and use lamps. Position yourself where all can see and hear you. You may wish to wear a storytelling shawl.
  • Review the questions and choose some you think might resonate with the group and help these particular children interpret the story and relate it to their own lives.
  • If the group is very large, plan to form smaller groups (no less than three participants) for discussion. An adult leader should facilitate each small group.
  • Consider what this story means to you in relation to the purpose of this session. Articulate this in a one- or two-word sentence that you can share with the group at the end of the discussion, perhaps using an example—one this age group will understand.

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.

Say:

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:

  • What did you think about Mohamed and Khadija?
  • Why do you think Mohamed doubted himself?
  • How do you think Khadija's support helped Mohamed gain self-confidence?

Pose these questions and invite a few volunteers to share:

  • Have you ever doubted yourself?
  • Have you shared your doubt with someone?
  • Have you ever asked someone to support you when you needed it?

Conclude by articulating what the story teaches about supporting those we care about during difficult times. Ask the group to think about:

  • Who am I willing to support in my life? (Window question)
  • What do I learn about myself from realizing who I'm willing to support? (Mirror question)

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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