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

Activity 1: Up Side, Down Side

Part of Virtue Ethics

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers, and tape

Preparation for Activity

  • Post two sheets of newsprint, one headed "Moderation - Up Side", the other headed "Moderation - Down Side."
  • Post a third sheet headed "Moderation means... " and write these definitions: "restraint," "temperance," "avoidance of extremes," "mildness," "balance," and "within reasonable limits."

Description of Activity

Participants identify positive and negative aspects of the day's virtue.

Invite youth to take a moment and think about "moderation" as a virtue. Point out the definitions of "moderation" you have posted. Lead a discussion, using these prompts as needed:

  • What have you been told about moderation: What it means, when to use it, when not to use it? [For example, youth may have seen "enjoy in moderation" messages on beer commercials, or be aware of people who are "political moderates."]
  • Who defines moderation? Does it mean different things to different people? [Example: Standards of moderation are different in different cultures.]
  • Is there anyone you admire who uses this quality regularly?
  • Do you have friends and/or family members who do not use moderation? How do you feel when you are around this person?
  • What other thoughts come to mind when you think about moderation? [Example: Do you think people grow more moderate as they age?]

During the discussion, begin to capture on newsprint participants' "up side" (positive) and "down side" (negative) comments about moderation as a virtue. Then, focus the youth on these questions...

  • What are the advantages to using moderation? [Example: Using moderation when eating will help you stay healthy.]
  • What are disadvantages? [People who believe in using moderation in style would be limited in their fashion choices.]

...and continue recording their comments on the newsprint.

To conclude, review the comments on the newsprint.