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

Activity 2: Sharing Stories

Part of What We Choose

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Journals or notebooks, one for each participant
  • Drawing paper, 9x12 inches
  • Variety of writing and drawing materials, such as pens, pencils, fine point color markers, and color pencils

Preparation for Activity

  • Read this activity and Alternate Activity 1, Telling Each Other's Stories. Choose one for your group.
  • Write on newsprint, and post:
    • Are there enduring values or truths illustrated in the story you shared? Does what happened continue to have an influence on the moral or ethical decisions you make and actions you take in your daily living?
  • Set out drawing materials where all can reach them.

Description of Activity

Invite participants to consider a moral or ethical choice they made. Ask them to choose a decision that is far enough in the past that they have had time to measure its outcome. Give examples:

  • Perhaps you had to respond to someone of a different background or perspective from your own. Perhaps you became aware for the first time of the existence of people with that background or perspective.
  • Perhaps you had to decide how to balance safety against independence or privacy in making decisions about the care of children or elders for whom you were responsible.
  • Perhaps you had to decide whether or not to cheat or break the law for what you considered a good purpose.
  • Perhaps you had to decide how to respond when you became aware that someone else was cheating or breaking the law.

Invite participants to write notes in their journal about the experience and what they learned. Let them know they will be asked to share the story with others. Allow five minutes for them to find their story and make notes. Then, offer paper and drawing materials for participants to go deeper by drawing a representation of their experience. Ask: "What did the experience feel like? What were the moods and contours?" Invite them to give life to that experience, and those feelings, artistically. Be sure to mention that no one will be judged on artistic skills-this drawing can take any form or format they desire. Allow ten minutes for drawing. As the allotted time comes to a close, say participants can continue these drawings at home if they are not yet finished.

Inviting participants to go still deeper, ask how the experiences they have artistically represented affected their ethical sensibility. Ask: "How has this experience affected your ongoing choices, beliefs, and actions?"

Allow two minutes for silent reflection. Then, invite participants to move into pairs and share their writing and/or drawing with one another or simply relate the experience/story they chose. Invite pairs to respond to the posted questions after each has shared their story/experience. Allow ten minutes for paired conversation. Re-gather the large group and have volunteers share insights and observations that emerged from their paired conversations.