Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Building Bridges: A World Religions Program for 8th-9th Grades

Handout 1: What Now

Does your attitude about life, your base level of happiness and hope for the future, change when bad things happen to you? When bad things happen, do you tend to be: Happy and positive no matter what? Upset but generally trusting that good will come eventually? Recognizing things could be good again, but generally dejected and negative? Absolutely depressed? Angry or frustrated? Would humor play any part in your response?

Think about what your attitude about life would be if any of the following things happened to you. Write your response in the space below each event.

  • You fail a major exam
  • You do something dangerous and break your leg
  • You are arrested for no reason
  • Your parents are held in prison for months without representation or explanation
  • Someone you love becomes fatally ill
  • Your car is stolen
  • Your family becomes destitute and have to move away
  • Illness or accident permanently destroys your ability to taste and smell
  • You are rejected by your first choice in colleges
  • Your house burns down along with all your family's possessions
  • You completely lose the ability to do the thing you most love

Discuss your responses with friends. On the above list, do you think some events might affect your life outlook more than others? What factors contribute to how "big" your reaction is to an event, or how far-reaching a change it might bring? What is your thought process when something bad happens? Is your inclination to incorporate humor in your response? Do you think it would be better if you reacted differently than you usually do? If you do think it would be better to react differently, how could you go about changing?