Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers and tape
Preparation for Activity
- Post a blank sheet of newsprint.
Description of Activity
This activity offers youth ways to control the telling and spreading of gossip about peers.
Acknowledge that it is not always easy to stand up for the truth. Yet, we can start small, by helping to spread the truth in our lives and the lives of those around us.
Ask for volunteers to explain the terms "gossip" and "rumors." Then ask if they know someone who has been the victim of gossip and rumors. Invite youth to share stories briefly, without mentioning names.
Ask what they can do to avoid such problems in the future. Point out, if youth do not, that the problem would go away if people always told only what they knew to be true about other people. It would also help if people followed the old saying: "If you cannot say anything nice, do not say anything at all."
Ask why so many people are willing to spread gossip and rumors about other people, even people they think of as friends. (To be part of an "in group," perhaps, to get attention, or to feel or appear somehow better than the people they are talking about.)
Now pose the challenge: What can we, as a group, do about this right now? Youth could promise to not spread rumors or gossip in this group. Another possibility is creating a "truth code" that participants sign, promising not to spread gossip and rumors about people. The code might also say to avoid spreading true, but hurtful, information about people unless there is a good reason to do so. (If you are certain someone has stolen something, it may be important to say so.)
If participants wish to create a truth code, divide them into small groups to write initial drafts. Then, bring them together to combine their efforts into a final document.
Invite everyone, including co-leaders, to sign the document. Post it in the meeting space. Be open, and flexible; the youth may suggest other approaches to controlling gossip and rumors.