Activity: Dealing With Differences

This activity deals with the work of helping all of us to acknowledge and understand our differences while noting our commonalities.

This activity is designed to help us understand our common emotions, beliefs, and experiences. In InnerRevolution.org terms, this is the concept of Oneness. That is, that we are all interconnected as human beings irrespective of our race, sex, beliefs, or cultures.

Step One: Prepare
  • Gather the materials you need. Those include the specific games and activities that will follow the group discussion, interaction, and processing of questions. See Step 4 below.
    • Create a list of questions for Commonality
    • Have paper and writing instrument for each group playing Commonality
    • 3 x 5 cards
    • Markers or crayons
Step Two: Pre-Activity Discussion
  • Gather all participants and talk about your interest in having an experience together that is fun and new. It also gives a chance to share how we feel different from others. We can learn about ourselves and others.
  • Be honest about how you feel. As you share and are real, it will help others to do the same and feel safe.
  • The group leader starts the discussion by saying how they feel different. For example, I feel different because I am Muslim, or fat, or have acne, or am smart.
Step Three: Group Discussion

Pose the following questions:

  • What makes you feel different?
  • Where do you feel the most comfortable being yourself?  Why?
  • Do people at school think you are different?  How do you know they think you are different?
  • Do you notice other people’s differences?  What are they?  Do you see them being treated differently because of this?  
Step Four: Cooperative Activities and Games

We play cooperative games to have fun together and get exercise. There are no winners or losers in these games because that creates competition and conflict. Nobody really feels good when winning or losing. It only creates separation.

If you have more than 10 people, and you have someone who will also be a leader  you can split into two groups and do these activities one at a time and then switch groups.

The Line Game: Courtesy of the Freedom Writers Foundation

Click here for the Line Game instructions or visit: http://bit.ly/line-game-instructions

Commonalities: This is a game in which we find out how we are alike.  We will be finding what we have in common by asking each other questions.

Break into groups of two and start asking questions to find out what you have in common.  For example:

  1. Do you have a brother or sister?
  2. Were you born in the US?
  3. Do you speak more than one language?
  4. What did you have for breakfast?
  5. Have you seen the latest Star Wars movie?
  6. What is your favorite food?
  7. Are your parents married?
  8. Do you have a pet?
  9. What is your favorite class?
  10. What are your hobbies?
  • Keep going until you find at least two things in common. This should only take 1-3 minutes.
  • Then join another group of two.  Compare lists and find out what the four of you have in common. You may have to start over asking questions.
  • Then join another group of four and again compare lists or ask questions and find find out what you have in common.
  • Keep doing this until the entire group is together and has discovered at least one thing everyone has in common.

At the end of the game you will know each other better, will have had fun, and will know that we are all the same in many ways.  

Game of Identifying Feelings: Emotions can be like volcano eruptions. The feeling comes up, can be expressed and then it can pass.
    1. Hand out five 3 x 5 cards to each person. (One side of the card will have lines and another will be blank.)
    2. Give each person a writing instrument and have markers or crayons that they can use.
    3. Ask them to draw a face for each of the following emotions on one side of the card and then list times when they have felt this emotion. (Example: Happy 🙂 on one side of the card; on the other side of the card the list could include: Birthday, when we got a new puppy,and  when dad came home early from work and we all went to the park.)
    4. List of emotions:
      1. Happy
      2. Sad
      3. Angry
      4. Lonely
      5. Peaceful
    5. Encourage kids to share what they wrote on their cards. When they share something painful, acknowledge what they are saying without the need to “fix it” and relate to them. (Example: a child felt sad when they weren’t picked for the team because they are slow. Share your own experience. We like to say “I am that” after people share because we all have felt these emotions.)
    6. Ask the kids how they feel now, after expressing their emotions..
Step Five: Group Sharing

When the games and activities are complete, we re-group and process the following questions.

  • Do we still feel different?  
  • Do we see other people as different?
  • Do we see how we are similiar?
  • Can we support each other differently?
Step Six: Closing Songs

Gather, link arms, and sing any or all of the following.

  1. This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna’ Let It Shine
  2. We are Family – Sister Sledge
  3. You are my Sunshine