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

Activity 2: Story - Beautiful Hands

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • A copy of the story "Beautiful Hands"
  • A bell, chime, rain stick or other musical noisemaker

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story, "Beautiful Hands," a few times. Consider telling it dramatically, rather than reading it from the page. Practice telling it. Claim the storytelling; for example, try adopting different voices for different characters. The stories here are written for a Story for All Ages moment-part performance, part ministry.
  • For storytelling, be ritualistic. Create a mood and a time that is different from other moments in the session. For example, turn overhead lights off and use lamps. Position yourself where all can see and hear you. You may wish to wear a storytelling shawl.
  • Review the discussion questions. Choose some you think might resonate with this particular group and help them relate the story to their own experiences.

Description of Activity

Ring the chime (or other noisemaker), make eye contact with each participant and read or tell the story.

Sound the chime (or other noisemaker) again at the end. Invite participants to think silently on their own about the story. Say:

Now we are going to practice listening and discussing skills-both are needed to help us understand the story from multiple perspectives. Let's find out what one another thought about the story.

Remind them not to assume others think or feel the same way. Ask everyone to use "I think" or "I feel" statements. Encourage the group to listen to each comment and then share some silence. Use the bell or chime to move between speakers.

Invite participants to retell the story, briefly, in their own words. What children recall and relay tells you what they found most meaningful or memorable. Then, use these questions to facilitate discussion, making sure everyone who wants to speak has a chance:

  • At the beginning of the story, why was May embarrassed about her hands?
  • Do you think May was the only person in her class who did work at home? What jobs do you think her classmates might have done at home? (Invite children to find ideas on the list of their own jobs they made in Activity 1.)
  • How would you feel if you were May?
  • Was May's work at home important? What would have happened if she did not do her work?
  • Who appreciated May's work? Does appreciation matter?
  • Would it have made any difference if May earned money for her work? How would it be different?
  • Think about the people you know. Do you know someone whose hands are rough from work?
  • May really liked to draw. She signed up for an extra class and drew a picture that wasn't a school assignment. Would you say art work is one of her jobs? Why or why not?
  • If May was in this group or in your class at school, do you think you would be friends with her? Why or why not?

Conclude by affirming:

It is nice when others respect the work we do and understand its value, but it is most important that we, ourselves, believe our work is meaningful and valuable. No matter what kind of work we do, we must give ourselves the credit we deserve for doing a job and doing it well.

Thank everyone for sharing.