Tapestry of Faith: Virtue Ethics: An Ethical Development Program for High School Youth

Alternate Activity 2: I Wish I Had the Courage To…

Part of Virtue Ethics

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Sticky notes (all one color) and pens/pencils

Preparation for Activity

  • Tape two sheets of newsprint together the long way, to make a banner. Across the middle, write: “I wish I had the courage to…” Post the banner where everyone can reach it.

Description of Activity

Participants discover one another’s wishes for courage and bolster one another’s confidence.

Invite everyone to close their eyes and think of something they really want to do but they are not sure they have the courage to do it-something they will be able to describe briefly and anonymously. Tell them you are not necessarily looking for a physically risky activity, such as skydiving or snowboarding. Encourage them to think of something they might try at which failure could mean hurt feelings or loss of esteem. For example, speaking up when someone’s behavior bothers you could lead to a better relationship with that person, but it is risky, and could call for courage. Give participants a couple of minutes.

Distribute sticky notes and pens/pencils. Invite youth to briefly write their wish on a note. If they have more than one wish, have them use additional sticky notes.

Collect all the notes, mix them up, and post them on the newsprint. Ask participants to move to the newsprint and read one another’s wishes. Are any similar?

Invite volunteers to read aloud a wish they want to support. For each wish, ask:

  • What encouragement can we give someone to have the courage to take such a risk?
  • Who has faced a similar situation with courage? What did you do? How did it turn out?

Of course, do not have the group spend time on wishes that could lead to dangerous situations, lawbreaking, or harm to others or oneself.