Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: A Chorus of Faiths: A Program That Builds Interfaith Youth Leaders

Activity 5: Stories in Our Lives

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers, and tape

Preparation for Activity

  • Post a sheet of blank newsprint.
  • Think of your favorite childhood story.

Description of Activity

Participants explore the role of storytelling in their lives.

Ask the group to close their eyes and try to remember a favorite story from childhood. This can be a story from a book, the plot of a movie, something that really happened to them, or anything else they feel inspired to share. Ask a few volunteers to briefly share their story (or invite every participant to share, if time allows).

Then, brainstorm as a group all the different kinds of places they hear stories. As participants offer ideas, write them on newsprint; you may hear ideas such as "in the cafeteria," "at home," "in history class," "on the news," "in books," "on television."

Invite youth to discuss the role storytelling plays in our lives, particularly in building strong relationships. Elicit the following ideas:

  • Storytelling is the main way we communicate with one another and get to know new people.
  • Stories inspire more stories. When you hear one story, it makes you think of your own.
  • Religious communities are narrative. We often tell stories to communicate ethical ideas.
  • Sharing one personal story can provide a powerful counter-example to a dominant cultural story.

Close by saying, in these words or your own:

Storytelling is incredibly important to us as humans. Experiencing and telling our own individual stories can powerfully shape the kinds of big world and broad cultural stories we have been discussing today.

Encourage participants, before the next workshop, to think about the story of their life, and what parts of their own story support them to believe in the story of religious pluralism-the story that interfaith cooperation is possible and important. Tell them that in future workshops they will explore the power of storytelling further and will gain tools to help them find their stories and learn how to tell them well.