Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Exploring Our Values Through Poetry: A Program for High School Youth

Faith In Action: Creative Engagement With Tough Issues

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Journals and pens or pencils

Description of Activity

Participants will think of creative ways to engage with difficult issues in their lives.

The poem "Introduction to Poetry" urges readers to engage with poetry in a new way-a way that is liberating and playful, yet could lead us to a deeper understanding. What other aspects of your life could benefit from the use of a different lens? A difficult class in school? A stressful relationship? A talent you are working to develop?

Ask participants to spend a few moments in silence identifying one aspect of their life with which they wish to engage differently. Participants should focus on that aspect while you invite them to:

... hold [the issue] up to the light like a color slide

Have you been missing something concerning your relationship with this issue? (After reading each question, wait one minute before proceeding.)

... drop a mouse into [the issue] and watch him probe his way out

Can you envision an end to your conflict with this issue?

... walk inside [the issue's] room and feel the walls for a light switch

Can you pinpoint the most troublesome aspect of the issue?

... waterski across the surface of [the issue] and wave to anyone else involved

What can you do to increase the pleasure you receive from engaging with this issue? Is there anyone who can help?

Distribute journals or have participants get them out. Invite participants to make notes in their journals about insights they gained from this activity. When everyone has finished writing, inform youth that many people journal as a spiritual practice. We often consider depth of reflection as the main difference between a journal and a diary. Often a diary simply lists the day's activities, perhaps with notes about how the reader feels. A journal is more often used to record reflections on topics, especially those the writer might wish to return to later.

During this program, participants will use their journals in two ways: to write poems they can refer to later and for reflection. Point out that the Taking It Home piece youths will receive each week includes a reflection question. Participants' journals provide one place where they might reflect upon the question when they are outside of the workshop.

If you are storing journals in the meeting space, collect the journals. For privacy sake, keep them in a secure location. If participants are taking journals home, remind them to bring them next time you meet.