Tapestry of Faith: Families: A Jr. High School Youth Program that Explores the Diversity, Commonality, and Meaning of Families

Alternate Activity 2: Family Matters

Part of Families

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Make enough copies of Handout 2, Family Matters, so that each small group has one. Cut the phrases into strips; each strip should contain one "how term." Cut three or four blank strips for each group as well.

Description of Activity

During this activity, participants consider their ideas about ideal families by prioritizing different aspects of families. The group can either work as a whole if it is small or in small groups. Introduce the activity and decide with participants if they will work as a whole group or in small groups.

Give each group a full set of the "How" statements, cut into strips, along with some blank strips. Invite youth to imagine what would make a family truly healthy. Have them consider the "How" statements as possible answers. Their task is to put those terms in order either from most important to least important or from best to worst possible answers. For example, if a group thinks a rich family is a healthier family, they should put "how much money the family has" near the top of their pile. The three blank strips or cards give them a chance to add some new "How" statements that they think are important. Give the groups five minutes to complete the task.

Here are the "How" statements for this activity:

  • How loving the family is
  • How often the family has meals together
  • How much money the family has
  • How much family members cheer each other on
  • How many interests family members have in common
  • How large the family is
  • How the family solves problems
  • How peaceful the family is
  • How the family compares to the national average
  • How much the family talks to each other
  • How nice a home the family has
  • How many friends the family has
  • How much the family wants to be together
  • How the family spends its time together
  • How religious the family is
  • How clean the family's home is
  • How welcoming the family is to others outside the family
  • How educated the family is
  • How much family members express affection for each other
  • How much time the family spends together
  • How many traditions or routines the family has

When the groups have completed the task, gather them together and facilitate discussion. Start by asking participants if they enjoyed the task. You may want to consider the following prompts:

  • Is it possible for a family to be good for some family members and not for others?
  • Are there any "absolutes" to what makes a family work?
  • What makes a family healthy?
  • Is a happy family necessarily a healthy family?
  • Are there any UU ideas that shape your ideas about what makes a healthy family?
  • How did this exercise challenge or reinforce your preconceptions about families?