|FAMILY VALUES EXERCISE
Time limit: 55 minutes
- To identify individual family history of values
- To identify current individual values
- To identify cultural factors forming values
- To examine the nature and causes of change in values over time
- To build awareness and acceptance of difference in values in different people
- To build awareness of how our values influence our work with families
Arrange the following list of nouns in order of greatest importance for your own family of origin, starting with #1 as the most important, going down to #10 as least important. Then rank them on the right hand side for yourself, now.
Cards with these words are placed around the edge of the room. Go and stand on the #1 value for your family of origin. Look at the others who share your first choice. See what values were more important to others in the class. Rotate to your second choice, and notice who is with you and who has different values. (This will be important in a later lesson). Go to your third choice and look around you. Then go to the choice that is lowest on your list and see where you are in relation to your classmates. Repeat for your own values now.
Instructor notes: The purpose of this exercise is to raise the students' awareness that each of us holds values we have assimilated from our families. Our experiences over time modify those values to a greater or lesser extent. None of these values is the norm. Others in the class will hold different values, and that is all right. The exercise attempts to establish that values are relative rather than absolute.
The exercise also raises students' awareness of their own value system, so that they can realize when it is interfering with their openness of mind in dealing with people with different values.
The directions are pretty self-explanatory; give the class about 5 minutes or until they are done to rank order the nouns. Emphasize that all these are positive values; only the level of importance in a family's life will differ. Remind them that the left side blanks are for their family of origin, and the right hand for their own families or themselves now.
Place the cards around the room on the floor, leaving as much room as possible between words, so that students have to really move around. Give this exercise as much time as it takes for the students to have fun with it. The larger the class, the better. Notice from the directions that the students will move 8 times in all. If they appear to be getting tired, cut the exercise shorter by eliminating the move to the lowest values.
Ask them questions as you are doing the moving around and afterwards, such as,
* Are you surprised to see some of these people on the same values as yourself? On different ones?"
* How different are your values from your parents'?
* Do you think your own children will have the same or different values?
Alert them especially to areas where they have clearly taken opposing views to their parents’ values. These are "hot" values for them. They should be particularly careful not to project their own issues with these values into situations where they are working with families.