Tapestry of Faith: What We Choose: An Adult Program on Ethics for Unitarian Universalists

Alternate Activity 2: Values Mapping

Part of What We Choose

Activity time: 25 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Construction paper
  • Writing implements in various colors, including pens, pencils, crayons, and/or markers

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the Description of Activity; then, make your own values map as an example.
  • Arrange work tables for drawing and set materials where all can reach them.

Description of Activity

Introduce the activity using these or similar words:

This activity provides a visual and spatial opportunity to examine how our personal beliefs and values are derived from, or rest on, other, more general, core beliefs and values. This kind of visual mapping helps us understand the logic that guides our ethical decision making.

Invite participants to take a sheet of construction paper and list, in the center of the paper one, two, or three values or beliefs that are core for them. For example, a core value might be the inherent worth and dignity of every human being. Invite them to draw a bubble around each core value.

Continue with these instructions:

Think of ethical and moral positions you hold that are derived from those core values, and write these near the core values from which they are derived. So, for example, if a core value for you is the inherent worth and dignity of every person, then you may derive from that the moral position that you will not condone or participate in bullying. Draw bubbles around these moral positions as well, and, draw connections between bubbles, as appropriate.

Invite the group to continue until they have listed all the values and moral stances which are important to them, and connected them to one another. Tell them they will have about ten minutes for this exercise.

Then, invite participants to share their value maps to the degree they are comfortable. Encourage them to indicate the core values they identified and the moral stances and actions that emerged from them.

Lead the group to reflect on these questions:

  • What surprises came out of this activity?
  • Did intersections between different bubbles emerge easily?
  • Were there some areas that were harder to work with than others? Why?