Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Windows and Mirrors: A Program about Diversity for Grades 4-5

Activity 1: What Is Privilege?

Activity time: 5 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers and tape

Preparation for Activity

  • Post two sheets of newsprint. Label one "Privileges" and the other "Skills."

Description of Activity

Gather the children. Tell them, in your own words:

Our Unitarian Universalist faith challenges us to recognize our privileges and to share them with others. We are also called to discover our gifts and skills, and then share them, too, in order to live a full life while contributing to our society.

Invite the group to explore the differences between privileges and skills. Say something like:

The talents, education, or access to information, resources, money and/or power that we have by chance of birth or geography are called "privileges." These are different from the skills and talents that we develop through practice. For example, having access to a piano, a piano teacher, and the time to take lessons are each privileges; being able to play a classical sonata comes from regular practice and that is a skill you learn. Now we are going to list what we understand to be our privileges and our skills.

Invite volunteers to contribute to both lists. Accept all suggestions. If an item is suggested both as a privilege AND a skill, just write it down. If necessary, suggest some of these ideas:

  • Privileges
    • Being picky about food (people who are hungry aren't picky)
    • Having a bed to sleep on at night
    • Having a warm home in the winter
    • Having a stable home where people do not act violent
    • Going to school
    • Not living in a war zone
    • Extra curricular activities and lessons that cost money
    • Access to the Internet
    • Toys (electronic games, especially)
    • Learning the same language from birth that is used in your school.
  • Skills
    • Earning good grades
    • Learning a new sport and staying on the team
    • Playing an instrument well
    • Being a neat writer
    • Building a large vocabulary.

When the list looks full, engage the group with some of these questions:

  • Does anything on this list surprise you?
  • Is there something you did not think is a privilege that someone else believes is?
  • Have you ever thought about being privileged?
  • Do you think being privileged is the same as being "spoiled?" What is the difference?

Keep the newsprint posted for use in Activity 2, Window/Mirror Panel - My Privilege.