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

Alternate Activity 1: Telling Each Other's Stories

Part of What We Choose

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Journals or notebooks, one for each participant

Preparation for Activity

  • Read this activity and Activity 2, Sharing Stories. Choose one for your group.
  • Write on newsprint, and post:
    • What enduring values or truths are illustrated in the story you shared?
    • Does what happened continue to influence your day-to-day moral or ethical decisions? How?

Description of Activity

Invite participants to consider a moral or ethical choice they made. Ask them to choose a decision 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 balance safety versus independence or privacy in making a decision on behalf of children or elders for whom you were responsible.
  • Perhaps you had to decide whether or not to cheat or break a 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 in their journals about an experience and what they learned from it. Let them know they will share the story with others. Allow ten minutes.

Have participants to turn to a partner to share their story. Encourage listeners to pay close attention to their partners' story because the listener will share it with the large group. Invite the person telling the story to provide details and context that will paint a word picture for the listener, making recall easier. Allow ten minutes for pairs to share stories, inviting them to change roles about half way through the time.

Re-gather the larger group. Invite each pair to share each other's stories. Pause a minute after the story is told and allow the person whose story it is to correct any misinformation or missed details that might help others understand. After all the stories have been told, invite participants to speak about what it was like for someone else to tell their story. What was it like for the person telling the story? How does this task affect the interactions between the participants? Did the exercise illuminate the ways the narrative shaped their ethical understandings?