In "Building Bridges," a Tapestry of Faith program
Participants experience how externals can distract from things of greater significance.
Without explanation, bring out all the dress-up supplies and invite participants to dress up. Encourage the youth to bedeck themselves. The more extravagant the better!
After a few minutes, say:
The workshop can continue now. Please be seated.
Act normal. Try not to react to their costuming.
Distribute Handout 3, Child Starvation. Invite participants to read the facts presented. Ask for initial reactions.
Invite serious discussion with these questions:
At this point, approximately midway through the discussion, identify two youth at random, ask them to go with a facilitator. Have the co-facilitator leave the meeting space with the youth and help them remove their silly costumes and makeup, put on somber robes, then rejoin the group while discussion continues.
After a few more minutes, stop the discussion and process the experience. What did they notice about their reactions to each other? Was it was hard to take each other seriously with the outrageous outer trappings? If they eventually did have a serious discussion, did it take some time and effort to get serious?
Did youth notice a difference in their reactions to youth in crazy costumes and those in robes? Did the youth in robes notice a difference in the way others reacted to them and their ideas after their change of garb?
Share that this was an exercise to reflect on simplicity, or plainness. Quakers value plainness because they believe fashions distract from substance. In the Quaker view, extravagance and stylishness make it harder to see the heart of something or someone, to see God in them. Ask:
If you have read the book, The Power of Half, you might briefly describe what that family chose to do to simplify and to share in an extraordinary way.
Distribute copies of Singing the Living Tradition and lead the group in singing Hymn 15, "'Tis a Gift to Be Simple." Or, read, or have a volunteer read, the lyrics aloud.
Distribute makeup removal towelettes and involve everyone in clean-up.
Some youth may refuse to put on costumes or make-up; some of these may join when they see others participating. If a youth refuses, do not push. Offer them a role such as distributing handouts, or helping to facilitate the discussion.
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Last updated on Wednesday, September 25, 2013.
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