Activity 3: Putting Your Advisors in Order
Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Leader Resource 2, Spiritual and Ethical Advisors
- Masking tape
Preparation for Activity
- Decide how to divide the group into smaller groups of two to four participants. Using Leader Resource 2, Spiritual and Ethical Advisors, create sets of cards for each small group. Each set should have a card for each advisor listed on the leader resource, including two that say, "Who else?"
Description of Activity
This activity leads youth to consider what advisors can best help them decide between right and wrong actions.
Begin with ideas like these:
Conscience comes from our deepest, spiritual self and it is often a good guide, even the best guide, to what is right and wrong. However, sometimes our conscience has trouble making decisions, too. First, it tells us one thing, then it tells us another, and we have trouble knowing just what to do. In some situations, it seems that no matter how we act, we are going to hurt somebody. Maybe we help one friend but by doing so we make another friend angry. How are we supposed to know what to do? In such situations, we might need to get advice from somebody else. Fortunately, a lot of people may be willing to help us decide what to do. Unfortunately, they may disagree with each other and some of them might not even have very good ideas. In cases like that, it helps to know which advisors we should listen to most closely.
Point out that youth are not the only people who sometimes need spiritual and ethical advisors. Thoughtful adults need them, too. Sometimes the best decision you can make about solving a problem is where to get help and advice.
Divide the group into smaller groups and give each one a stack of cards or papers with the names of spiritual and ethical advisors. These cards will be made from Leader Resource 2, Spiritual and Ethical Advisors. That resource lists nine potential advisors and includes two more entries that say "Who else?" These allow the youth to think of and add some other potential advisors. Explain that a spiritual advisor is somebody who helps another person grow in spiritual ways. A spiritual advisor could help you see how your faith can help you make good decisions. A minister is an example of a spiritual advisor. An ethical advisor can help you talk about right and wrong in different ways that might have less to do with religion. A school counselor might be a good ethical advisor.
Explain that the small groups should each take its stack of advisor names and put it in order from most helpful advisor to least helpful advisor. If they want, they can add some other advisors to the "Who Else?" cards. Putting the cards in order will be challenging because some youth might have very helpful school counselors and teachers and others might not. Some youth might be home schooled, so they have no experience with school personnel. Each group should talk and just do the best they can to order the cards the way they think will work for most youth. If the group cannot decide between two cards, it can put them just about together. There is not a right or wrong way to do this. The point is not to make all the lists identical but to think about the possibilities.
Explain that when the groups have made their decisions, they should each take a long strip of masking tape and lay it upside down on a table or the floor. It should be long enough so that they can lay out their cards, in order, one after the other with the back of each card against the sticky side of the tape. This way the cards will stay in place while the groups compare their ideas.
Typically, in prioritizing activities like this, youth settle in groups on the floor or stand or sit around tables so they can line up the cards to read them and shuffle them around to try different orders.
Let the activity proceed. When all have their cards in order on tape, ask everyone to stand and walk around to see what each group decided. If you have time, you might let each group state some of the reasons for its choices.
Summarize the activity with words like these:
Here is another case where we all have to make our own decisions. We have to decide when we need help and where we should go to get it. For many of us, parents will be best. For others, it may be school counselors or friends we can trust. We know that adults are not the only people in the world with good ideas, but they do sometimes have experiences and knowledge that can be very helpful to youth.
Including All Participants
Plan workspaces for this activity so that all will be able to assist with moving the cards around. This may mean using tables and chairs so the youth themselves do not need to move.