Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Heavy paper or card stock, one for each participant plus a few extra
- Yarn or string, scissors, and hole punch(es)
- Washable markers
Preparation for Activity
- If you have skipped the Welcoming and Entering activity or the early arriving participants did not make enough affirmation badges for each child in the group, make badges: Punch two holes in each blank sheet of paper and string a piece of yarn through the holes to create a hanging sign for each participant.
Description of Activity
Pass out the hanging signs. Invite each participant to place their string over their head and then flip the paper around so it hangs on their backs. Tell participants these are their affirmation badges. Explain that an "affirmation" is a positive statement. We are going to write words that make each other feel good.
Ask the group:
Look around. Is there anyone here today whom you do not know very well? Think about how you can write an affirmation for that person.
Distribute markers and invite the children to move around the space and write a positive statement on the badges others are wearing.
When all the participants' badges have at least two comments (or time is almost up), invite them to move their badges around to the front of their body and read the messages written on them. Invite a few volunteers to read their affirmations aloud. Guide participants to reflect on the experience, with questions such as:
- What did it feel like to read the messages others had written about you?
- What affirmations did you think of to write for someone you do not know well?
- What would it be like if we all took the time to think about the good things about a person and acknowledge these instead of noting the differences between us?
- What are some other ways (besides affirmation badges) that affirm someone we know well or someone we do not know well?
- How can we use this idea to build a more beloved community here in our congregation?
Encourage participants to reflect upon how communicating positive messages to others is a way of living out the ethic of reciprocity, or the Golden Rule. Ask: How does the idea of radical hospitality reinforce our first Principle, "the inherent worth and dignity of all persons"?
Including All Participants
If any participants are unable to move about the space, make sure others come to them, or have another participant help them move. If any participant requires assistance to write messages, pair them with another participant as needed.