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

Activity 1: In Search Of Beauty, Part 1

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint or dry erase board and markers
  • Pen or pencils and journal

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide where you will send participants to do this activity and for how long. An outdoor location provides opportunities to observe nature, people, and more; an indoor location may be more limited, yet rich with beauty in its own way.

Description of Activity

In this activity, participants search for beauty and report back to the group.

Give the following instructions to the group:

In a moment, you will go off on your own and explore your surroundings. Your mission is simply to look for beauty. Jot down everything you think qualifies as "beauty" in your journal. We will reconvene in five minutes.

Make yourself available to answer questions, but do not offer suggestions or in any way define what might be beautiful.

When participants reconvene, prompt them with a simple question: "What beauty did you find?" List responses on the newsprint. Resist reacting to the responses, and avoid analyzing trends, at least until you have collected the responses. Keep the list of "beauty" posted in the room; you may want to refer to it later in this lesson.

Use the following prompts to discuss the nature of beauty:

  • How have your ideas of beauty changed as you have grown up?
  • What does beauty have to do with values or how we value different people, places, and things?
  • What does Unitarian Universalism have to say about beauty?
  • In addition to belonging to our Unitarian Universalist community of faith, what other groups do we belong to (teenagers, softball team, family, and the like)? What do those groups say about beauty?
  • Who decides what beauty is? What voices outside ourselves tell us what beauty is? Is there a cultural consensus about beauty?

NOTE: This discussion can easily fill your lesson time. Set a time limit!

Including All Participants

If going outdoors is an option, make sure the area to which group members will go is accessible to all participants.