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

Activity 2: Story - The Value of a Gift

Part of Virtue Ethics

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story so you can present it effectively.
  • Optional: Copy the story for all participants.

Description of Activity

Youth respond to a true story about humility.

Tell or read the story.

Process the story with these questions:

  • How do you think Ann felt to receive the earrings?
  • How do you think Rita felt, giving Ann the earrings?
  • Ann could afford to buy earrings that were more expensive than the ones Rita wore. Why do you think Rita gave them to Ann? Why do you think Rita waited until the last day to give her gift?
  • What might be the value of the earrings to Ann? To Rita?
  • Have you ever received a gift, a boon, something made more valuable than just the price tag because of who gave it to you or the way in which you received it?
  • Have you ever had a humbling experience? What happened? How did you feel?

Share this quotation from the author C.S. Lewis:

The point is that each person's pride is in competition with everyone else's pride. It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise. Two of a trade never agree. Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive-is competitive by its very nature-while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next [person]... We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking, there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.


  • What do you think of this quote?
  • If pride is competitive, is humility cooperative? Could humility be competitive, too?