Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Copy of the story, "The Mish-Mash Heart"
- Sample mish-mash heart (see Activity 2)
Preparation for Activity
- Read the story several times so you are comfortable telling it to the group.
- Make a sample Mish-Mash heart to use for storytelling, by taking a simple heart shape and adding an assortment of fabric, other colored card stock, and some ribbon; tear or punch a small hole in the heart.
- Review the discussion questions and choose those that will best help the children share their interpretations of the story and relate it to their own lives.
Description of Activity
Read or tell the story to the group. Show the participants the Mish-Mash heart you have pieced together at appropriate parts of the story, perhaps pointing to areas which are jagged or torn at the right times. Read or tell the story to the group. After the story, invite the group to be silent for a moment to think about it.
Begin a discussion by asking the children to recap the story in their own words. What they recall indicates what they found most meaningful or memorable.
Lead a discussion using these questions:
- Why did Emily think there was something wrong with the woman's heart?
- Why did Emily give the woman a piece of her heart?
- Do you believe we give away a piece of our hearts when we truly love someone? Why or why not?
- Can something be a happy time and a sad time all at once? Why or why not?
- What might your heart look like if it was visible, and people could see how happy times and sad times affected it?
- How might you have affected someone else's heart by your actions?
Including All Participants
Be aware that talking about sharing parts of our hearts may bring up painful experiences for some children. If any child who usually participates in discussions and activities like this appears withdrawn or uncommunicative, you might want to speak with your minister and/or religious educator after leading this session. Any participant who appears to joke around inappropriately or laugh at the responses of others may also be experiencing something painful but having trouble expressing feelings about it. In this case, it may be helpful to remind all participants that sometimes we laugh in order to cover up uncomfortable feelings, but it is not appropriate to laugh at the comments of others; everyone deserves to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas in our community. Both sorts of instances may be worth a discussion with the religious educator and/or minister.