Activity 3: Story - It's Not My Problem
Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A copy of the story, "It's Not My Problem"
- A chime, a rain stick, or another calming sound instrument
Preparation for Activity
- Read the story several times. Take time to picture the story in your mind so its setting is clear.
- Make a short outline of the sequence of events in the story: (honey, flies, lizard, cat, etc.). Think about how you might use items from the story basket as props. Place these items nearby, where you can reach them as you tell the story.
- Tell the story out loud to yourself to be sure that you remember all of the important parts. Try speaking like a bored queen and a nervous but obedient advisor.
Description of Activity
The story, "It's Not My Problem," has a repeating refrain which provides an obvious place for audience participation. You may choose to teach this to the children before you start to tell the story. Let them know that you will pause to invite them to say it with you, as if they were the queen. Participating in the story will help children become engaged with the message that all things are interconnected and that our action or lack of action does make a difference to the rest of the world.
Before you begin, look around the room and make eye contact with each person. Read or tell the story.
Ring the chime (use other sound instrument) to indicate that the story is over. Pause for a moment. Then help the group briefly discuss the story in this activity. Guide the group to explore the theme of taking responsibility and the notion that our actions and inaction do make a difference. The goal is to help the children to see all of the places that the various characters could have acted differently to make a better ending to the story. You may choose to lead the discussion with these questions:
- This story had a pretty sad ending didn't it? What do you think the queen could have done to avoid having her whole kingdom burn to the ground?
- What do you think the advisor could have done differently? (Possible answers: Clean up the drop of honey herself. Call a servant herself. Call the soldiers herself. Call down to the people to stop fighting. Go down and tell the people to stop fighting.)
- Why do you think the advisor did not do anything to stop the problems that she saw? (Possible answers: She thought she had to have the queen's permission. She thought it was the queen's problem, since the queen started it.)
- What could the baker or the butcher have done differently?
- What could the other shopkeepers and neighbors have done differently?
- What could the soldiers have done differently?
Ask the group:
- Who could have made a difference in this story? (Answer: All of the people who were there.)
Remind the children at this point that this is the way it is when we see a problem at school or in our neighborhood or in the world. We may not have started it, and we may not be able to stop it alone, but by doing something we can probably help to keep the problem from getting worse. We are taking responsibility and that makes a difference.
Including All Participants
There are children for whom it is very difficult to sit still, even when they are paying attention to what is happening around them. This can be frustrating for teachers, as well as for the children who are expected to maintain stillness for prolonged periods of time. If you have children in the group for whom this is the case, consider adopting the use of "fidget objects" as described in Leader Resources. These fidget objects can provide a non-disruptive outlet for the need to move.