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Family Messages Lesson Plan


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Family Messages Lesson Plan

  1. 1. A Lesson Plan from Life Planning Education: A Youth Development Program Family Messages Purpose: To identify values learned from families and to explore one's own values Materials: Copies of the handout, How Does Your Family Feel About…, for each participant; pens/pencils Time: 40 to 50 minutes Planning Notes: Read the Leader's Resource, Exploring Individual Values, prior to the lesson for tips on facilitating values exercises. Procedure: Remind participants that values are our concepts of what is right, worthwhile, or desirable. We feel strongly about the qualities, principles, beliefs, and ideas we value. 1. Stress that a person's values are important and meaningful. Different people have different values. It is important that each person makes decisions and lives life according to his/her own values. 2. Say that the family is one of the most important and powerful sources of people's values. Children learn what their family values. When they grow up, they are likely to pass on some of those same values to their own children. 3. Distribute the handouts. Ask participants to take five to 10 minutes to write down their family's values on each topic. 4. Divide into small groups and divide the topics into sets of two for each group. Ask each group to discuss the two assigned topics. Each participant will share what she/he believes are her/his family's values on each topic in the small group. Give the groups 10 minutes to talk. 5. When time is up, ask each group to report on their assigned topics. 6. After each report, allow other participants to comment about the topics. 7. Conclude the activity by using the Discussion Points below. Optional Homework: Ask participants to interview a parent or another adult family member about the values she/he learned as a child from her/his family. Discussion Points:Were you aware of your family's values on all these topics? Are there values in your family that, though no one speaks openly about them, are clear anyway? Which ones? How do you get the message about these values? 1. What are some of the nonverbal ways your family members communicate their values to you? 2. Do the men in your family give you different messages than the women? On what topics? 3. Is there a common message among the families in this group? 4. If you have children, what is one family message that you want to pass to them? Why? 5. Is there a family message you will not communicate to a son or daughter? Why? Lesson Plan from Life Planning Education: A Youth Development Program
  2. 2. Handout for the Family Messages Lesson Plan How Does Your Family Feel About… Write down the messages your family has given you on each of the following topics. What values do the messages convey? Messages Earning good grades in school Cheating Having friends Being loyal Using alcohol and other drugs Lying Making money Selling drugs Gaining respect from others Being disrespectful Graduating from high school Getting a job Going to college Having expensive clothes, like running shoes Having sex as a teenager Using condoms or other forms of birth control
  3. 3. Trusting yourself Getting a job to help your family Having children Getting in trouble with the law or other authorities, such as the principal Adapted from Life Planning Education, a comprehensive sex education curriculum. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth, in press.
  4. 4. Leader's Resource for the Family Messages Lesson Plan Exploring Individual Values This exercise will allow youth to discuss various values with their families and friends and explore their own values. Youth may discover that they hold values that differ from those of family, friends, and peers. As young people discuss the points at the end of the exercise they will also begin to understand that many values are quite individual. Differing, even opposing values, are not wrong, merely different. Youth may also find that some of their values—such as caring about others—are widely shared although expressed differently. Tips for Facilitating Values Exercises 1. All adolescents, regardless of their age, may feel personal and family values strongly, and discussing these values can arouse strong emotions. Be sure that everyone observes the ground rules at all times. 2. Emphasize that individual values differ and that there are no right or wrong answers. Allow open discussion as long as it does not get out of hand. Allow participants to express, explain, and defend their values. Encourage them to use "I" statements and do not allow anyone to "put down" others' values. 3. If an argument over a value-related issue erupts, call time out and ask each side to articulate its point of view. Reiterate that people's values differ and this is normal and positive, then move on to another topic. If confusion and dissatisfaction remain, you may want to schedule a formal debate or informal discussion of the issue at another time. 4. Remember, while you are monitoring your participants to ensure that they are nonjudgmental, you must be nonjudgmental as well. Be aware of your own personal values, especially when youth are discussing controversial topics, such as contraception, abortion, or police powers. Monitor your comments and your body language to be sure they do not convey your own values. You want to avoid supporting any one position. 5. Support all the young people so that they will not feel pressured by the values and opinions of their peers. Make it clear that it is good to change one's mind when one has new information or finds a new way of looking at an issue. 6. Occasionally, one or two youth will express a particular value in opposition to the remainder of the group. In such a case, it is your responsibility to support this minority viewpoint. Use a verbal comment, touch or physical proximity to show your support, and state clearly that you support the behavior of standing up for one's values rather than the position. 7. If there is no commonly held position in a discussion about a topic, bring up the value that you believe to be a widely held one. For example, if no two teens can even agree on the age at which it is okay to initiate sexual intercourse, you might say, "Many people believe that abstinence from sexual intercourse is the best option for teens." If you do this, be prepared to speak convincingly and briefly about that value. Then allow the youth to continue the discussion. 8. You may be asked about your own values as various topics arise. It is appropriate to share a few of your personal values and to discuss the values that you learned from your family or that helped you make positive decisions about career, family, etc. But, be sure that you do not share
  5. 5. your personal values on all the topics. Be especially wary of shutting down discussion among the youth. 9. Avoid sharing your values on the controversial topics. Remember that this exercise is designed to stimulate young peoples exploration of their own values. You are an important figure in this setting and may influence what they say they believe and how willingly they listen to others. If asked about a topic like abortion, say something like "I'm more interested in what you believe right now" or "Knowing my position may not help you figure out your own." If you share personal values, state clearly that the values are right for you, but not necessarily right for anyone else. Adapted from Life Planning Education, a comprehensive sex education curriculum. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth, in press.