HOW TO BE YOURSELF
This video encourages young adolescents:
To develop a vision of who they are as individuals instead of seeing themselves only as members of a group.
To develop confidence in their ability to make their own choices instead of letting the group make their choices for them.
To look to their own values as guideposts for their choices and actions.
If your school or organization does not have these videos, you can purchase them from Live Wire Media, or request them from your local library.
If you are using the video, ask the first two questions before viewing.
1. When somebody says "just be yourself," what does that mean?
2. Is it always easy to be yourself, or can it sometimes be difficult? Why? How? Give examples.
3. The kids in the video talked a lot about "fitting in." What does "fitting in" mean? How do you do it?
4. The kids in the video said that at their school there's a lot of pressure to fit in. Is that true here? What do you have to do to fit in here?
5. Does fitting in ever make it hard to be yourself?
6. What if you don't fit in? Is that okay, or does it mean there's something wrong with you?
7. Are there groups here in school? Cliques? (Gangs) What are they?
8. Why do these groups exist? What do they do for the people in them?
9. Does being in a group sometimes make it harder to be yourself? How? In what way? Examples?
10. Are there pressures to fit into these groups? If so, describe the pressures.
11. Is it okay not to be in a group?
12. The kids in the video said that when we're in groups, the group sometimes makes our choices for us. Do you agree? Can you give examples? Is that good?
13. Do all the kids in a group have the same values?
14. What do values have to do with making choices?
15. Do you think that sometimes people make choices that conflict with their values? Can you give an example? Are they aware that they're doing that? What would cause somebody to make a choice that conflicts with his/her values?
16. In the hypothetical situation about the group wanting you to help steal a tape, what values are in conflict? What would you do?
17. One girl in the video said that when you believe strongly in something, you can't just be pushed whichever way the wind blows. What do you think she meant by that? Do you agree or disagree? Can you give a personal example?
18. How do you know what your values are?
19. Do you think we are born with values or we learn them? If we learn them, how do we learn them? Who helps you figure out what you value?
20. Is it sometimes hard to live by your values? (Do you sometimes have to make a sacrifice in order to do what is right?) Is it worth it? Why?
21. How can you benefit from knowing what your values are?
22. What was most meaningful to you in this video? Why?
Other teaching guides in this series:
2. Have everybody in the class bring in one or two advertisements aimed at teenagers. These can be cut out of magazines or taped off of TV. Have a class discussion to evaluate the ads by asking the following questions: What values does this ad appeal to? What values does this ad promote? Do you share those values? Is this ad in conflict with any of your values? What assumptions does this ad make about who you are? Is this ad attempting to influence your image of yourself?
3. Have the class consider and discuss the following hypothetical situations. Be sure to have them identify what values are in conflict.
a) You are doing poorly in math class and your parents are putting pressure on you to bring your grade up. The day before the final exam somebody steals a copy of the exam and invites you to study it with him. You've never been a cheater.
b) You love being on the team. After practice one evening you see a teammate vandalize a teacher's car. The coach knows you saw it happen and threatens to kick you off the team unless you name the guilty person. You've never ratted on anybody.
c) A friend swears you to secrecy and then tells you he's planning to commit suicide. You've always believed in keeping a secret. (Hint: It's never okay to keep this fatal secret.)
1. Write a classified ad for the school newspaper, looking for a companion to join you on weekends to do some activity you really like. Describe yourself well enough so that people will know whether or not they would want to spend time with you. What does your ad tell you about how you see yourself?
2. Write about a time when either you or somebody else did something that conflicted with your values. How did it happen? How did it make you feel? Did you make any changes or decisions based on that experience? What did you learn from it?
3. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt as though your decisions were being made by the group instead of by you? Write about it. How do you feel about it? What did you learn from it?
4. Having heroes and special people we admire helps us to see what we value. Who is someone you consider a hero? Why? What does he/she stand for and believe in? What lessons do you learn from this person? What values does this person represent?
5. Imagine that 200 years from now your very great grandchildren find an article about you in the encyclopedia. What does that article say about you? What kind of person were you? What did you do with your life? Why are you interesting enough to be in the encyclopedia? In three hundred words or less write the article. Then, in one paragraph, write what that article tells you about your values.
6. Imagine that some day you will have children. Write a letter of advice for them to read when they reach the age you are now. Tell them about the pressures to fit in that you experienced at this age, and how you hope they will deal with those same pressures, themselves. Also, tell them about the two or three most important values you held at this age, and what values you hope they, themselves, will embrace.
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