Activity time: 5 minutes
Preparation for Activity
- Review the questions you will ask the children. Try to think of a story or two from your own experiences that might stimulate the children to think of their own stories and help them to get to know you. Sharing your real-life stories will also help the group transition from dramatic role play, in which you were the Buddhist teacher.
Description of Activity
After Activity 6: Dramatic Exercise - What Happened Next?, gather the children in a circle. In this activity you will share your own stories and encourage the children to share their own experiences with using their consciences. This activity helps the children connect their own experiences with the ideas in the story and their experience in the drama.
Ask the children to share some personal stories relating to times they have used their consciences. You may frame this as questions:
- I wonder why it was so hard for those students to refuse to steal when their teacher told them to. (You may wish to help the children identify fear as a motivation, as it was for the children in the monastery when the teacher told them that they might lose their home/school.)
- I am wondering if you have ever been in a situation like the students in that story where someone wanted you to do something that you felt was wrong.
- I am wondering if this story made you think of times when your conscience or inner voice was working and helped you to make a good choice.
As children share, look for opportunities to remind the group that they all do use their consciences on a regular basis. Also look for opportunities to normalize that it is often difficult to listen to or hear one's inner voice.
Including All Participants
When a child shares a story, avoid commenting on the story. Unless the story provides an important learning opportunity ("It can be hard to listen to our conscience sometimes, can't it?" or "Notice how many different ways/how often we all use our consciences, every day."), simply say, "Thank you for sharing." You do not want to praise some children more than others for their experiences. You do want to model "democratic process" as expressed in the fifth Unitarian Universalist Principle: We may not all share the same ideas of conscience, but we respect one another's.