Tapestry of Faith: Amazing Grace: A Program about Exploring Right and Wrong for Grade 6

Activity 2: Wholesome or Unwholesome

Part of Amazing Grace

Activity time: 10 minutes

Preparation for Activity

  • Arrange a space where participants can move along a continuum (spectrum) from one end of the room to the other, with space to re-gather between questions.

  • Optional: If any participants have mobility limitations, rather than inviting the youth to move along a spectrum ask them to signal their impression of each character trait. For example, provide each youth a set of cards numbered 1 (negative) through 5 (positive) and invite them to rate each trait on a scale.

Description of Activity

This “spectrum” activity allows a bit of movement as participants respond to ten character traits.

Give instructions like these:

I am going to read ten statements. If you believe the statement represents a positive or wholesome character trait, go to one side of the room, if you believe it’s an unwholesome or negative trait, go to the other. If you believe it’s both or neither, come to the middle of the room. After you react to each statement, we will talk about it. Then we will all come back to the center. 

Here are the statements:

  • I fight for what I believe in.

  • I get riled up easily.

  • I look for the best in everyone.

  • I speak my mind.

  • I work hard at school and in my hobbies.

  • I keep my feelings to myself.

  • I’m the first to support a friend in need.

  • I find it easy to forgive others.

  • Once I’ve made up my mind, it’s hard to change it.

  • It’s important to do what makes me happy.

Many of these statements suggest characteristics that can be expressed in ways that are positive or negative. Encourage the youth to specify how these statements can be wholesome or unwholesome, depending on how we act on them and how our actions affect others.

When discussing each statement, ask for examples of times when these traits have shown up in positive or negative ways in their lives or the lives of others (or in the lives of fictional characters, if they struggle to find real life examples). What happened? What behavior or action showed this character trait? What impact did the behavior or action have on another person? Does the example create doubt about whether the character trait is a good or bad one?

Affirm that human character is complex. The same action, or even the same trait, can be a sign of good or bad character, depending on the situation.

Even if you do not have time for all of the statements, raise these two points to conclude this activity:

  • Encourage youth to reflect on what “character” means. You might say, "Character is the real you, the qualities that make you ‘you’." Mention that an educator named Henry Huffman once said, "Character is what you do when nobody's looking." Ask how "character" and "personality" differ or overlap.

  • Reinforce that what really matters with regard to our character is how we show it in the world, that is, our actions and their impact. Most of the time, our actions involve reacting to and interacting with others. That is, our “character” shows up in relationships; it affects people beyond ourselves.

Including All Participants

If any participants cannot easily move around the room, rather than inviting the youth to physically form a continuum, have them signal their negative/positive impression of each character trait. For example, provide each youth a set of cards numbered 1 (negative) through 5 (positive) and invite them to rate each trait on a scale.