Activity time: 20 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A divided copy or copies of Leader Resource 1, Right and Wrong Skits
- Newsprint, markers and tape
Preparation for Activity
- Identify spaces where small groups of youth can meet to plan skits.
- Photocopy Leader Resource 1, Right and Wrong Skits, and cut apart the skits. Determine how many small groups (each with up to four participants) you can create. If fewer than five, decide which skits you will use.
Description of Activity
Have youth create skits exploring and explaining ways that the same action can sometimes be right and sometimes be wrong.
Say that sometimes when people ask whether or not they should do something, the answer is "it all depends." That answer may not seem very helpful, but it might be the right one.
Give the youth a hypothetical question such as this: "Should I go to the movies tonight?" Then ask what the right answer depends on. Write some of the youth's ideas on newsprint. They may include things like the questioner's age, the time the movie starts, whether there is school tomorrow, and the film's rating. Summarize the discussion with words like these:
Sometimes going to the movie is right. Sometimes it is wrong. It all depends on lots of different things. We often need to think carefully about a situation before we know how to act.
Ask the youth to create some skits showing how right and wrong depend on a lot of different things. Divide participants into five small groups with up to four members each. Give each group an assignment from a divided copy of Leader Resource 1, Right and Wrong Skits. Ask the groups to go into separate spaces, read the instructions, and do what they say. Ask groups to keep their skits to two minutes or less.
Circulate with other leaders to assist as needed. Allow as much time as possible for groups to plan and rehearse. Give the groups a two-minute warning before bringing them together to perform for the whole group.
As the skits proceed, ask how participants can tell right from wrong. When an action is right, why is it right? When it is wrong, why is it wrong? Appropriate answers could include these: An act is wrong when it hurts somebody unnecessarily. An act is right when it fits the Golden Rule.
At the completion of the skits, introduce the idea of "moral absolutism." Say that some people are "moral absolutists." They say that some acts, like stealing, are absolutely wrong no matter what the situation is. Other people are "moral relativists." They say that right and wrong can be different in different situations: "It depends." Which do the youth think they are? Can they think of some acts that are always wrong? What are they?
Ask if youth are familiar with the saying "the end justifies the means." Ask for examples (see the Consequences Skit in Leader Resource 1, Right and Wrong Skits). How do the youth feel about this saying?
Introduce the idea of "white lies," but say that you are going to call them "lesser lies" because we live in a world where "white" and "black" are used to distinguish people with different skin color. It is wrong to describe any kind of lies in a way that sounds related to skin color. Can the youth explain what "lesser lies" are? Can they give an example? One might be trying to avoid hurting somebody's feelings by saying you cannot accept an invitation to a party when you can, but you just do not want to go. How do the youth feel about lesser lies? Can they backfire if other people find out the truth?