Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Riddle and Mystery: A Program on the Big Questions for Grade 6

Alternate Activity 5: Stealing Bread

Activity time: 10 minutes

Preparation for Activity

  • Optional: Familiarize yourself with the Victor Hugo's novel, Les Miserables. You can view the DVD Les Miserables: The 20th Anniversary Dream Cast in Concert at London's Royal Albert Hall (London: BBC Warner, 2008), a concert version of the musical based on the novel by Victor Hugo; many scenes are acted out.

Description of Activity

Lead a discussion about what should happen when a starving person steals food. You might begin by mentioning Jean Valjean, the protagonist of Les Miserables, which is both a 19th-century French novel by Victor Hugo and a musical based on that novel and composed by Claude-Michel Schonberg, with libretto by Alain Boublil. Jean Valjean suffers greatly through his life after stealing a loaf of bread because he is hungry. Say you do not wish to spend time on the story. Instead, you want to ask a general question: What should happen when people are so hungry they steal food?

Thoughtful and engaged youth may have an energetic discussion around this question. Use these prompts and comments to extend the discussion:

Is it all right to steal to save a life?

  • What is wrong in a society if somebody has to steal to stay alive? Is it the fault of society, some individuals in the society or of the individual who steals?
  • What does the Golden Rule say about committing a crime to save a life?
  • What do UU Principles say?