PATHWAYSelf: Feelings and Self Esteem
AGE GROUP12-14 years, 14-16 years
Anticipate Time1 hour min
GROUP SIZE2-5, 5-15, 15-30
ValuesSelf Awareness, Thankfulness, Acceptance, Truthfulness
Pathfinders create a storyline of the major events and influences in their life.
Through participation in this Pursuit, the Pathfinder will:
- Actively listen to others
- Recall life experiences
- Share personal thoughts with the group
Proverbs 4:11I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.
Genesis 39:2, 21 shares how ‘the Lord was with Joseph’.
Well, Joseph may well have wondered! He had experienced the pit, with its mire, darkness and abandonment. Then came the slavery with a life of separation from loved ones, followed by the scheming of Potiphar’s wife, leading to an Egyptian jail, with its pollution and brutality. Must Joseph conclude, as his father once had done, “All these things are against me”? They might have seemed to have been, but each bitter experience was but a link in the chain of events that led to an exalted place – supreme in Egypt. Truly, ‘the Lord was with Joseph’!
Surely the Lord is with us! In the midst of our confusion and pain – he is there! It is only in hindsight that our vision is 20/20.
He promises us that He “never leads (His people) otherwise than they would choose to be led – if they could see the end from the beginning…” 1. Do we believe it? Sometimes it’s hard to act upon the knowledge that “all of my life’s ‘why’s’ and ‘when’s’ and ‘where’s and ‘wherefores’ are in God’s hands. I need not question.” (Anon)
Reflecting back helps to offer a clearer focus about where we’ve come from, where we are headed and how God has moved in our lives.
- Leader: Prepare a storyline of your own life experience to share with the Pathfinders. Draw the different facets of your life in different colours: professional life, relationships, God, emotional life…
Your modelling of honest, direct disclosure about your achievements, failures, and your journey with God, will do much to encourage them to do the same!
- Long rolls of butchers paper or similar.
- Coloured textas, pencils or crayons
- Enough blank A4 sheets of paper for one for each person.
1. Play the following game with the group:
Invite one person to leave the room. As a group decide on a destination – a country: Mexico, or a place: the swimming pool. Invite the person to return and they will simply ask the question: Where am I going? They then proceed to point to certain individuals and that person must give one clue about the destination. When the player guesses the destination, the player whose response gave the game away is the one to move outside.
(If the clues being given about the destination make guessing too easily, play the game the other way around, where the person guessing has to ask a question of a specific person in the group, about the destination, and they must answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.)
When you have played a few rounds of the game, ask:
- Do we know where we are going in life, or are we just drifting?
- How can we tell we’ve got direction?
- If our final destination is heaven, how can we be sure we’re headed that way?
- As you reflect back on your life, where have you come from and where are you headed?
- What have been the highs and lows in your life which have moulded and shaped your personal growth?
2. Share how often, as we take the time to reflect back on our lives, we can be reassured for our future. When we think about the highs and lows we can often see a pattern we are oblivious to when we are in the middle of a situation. When we look back, we can see more clearly God’s involvement in our lives and when we realise he has led us in the past, we can know He will lead in the future. (Comment on how sometimes He has to lead despite us rather than because of us!)
3. Share your personal storyline with the group. Share with open honesty about your life.
4. Invite each person to take a piece of butcher’s paper, and using different colours, draw a storyline ( or timeline) of their own lives to date. Share how it doesn’t have to be a ‘linear’ thing – ask them to represent it in which ever way they wish. Invite them to use different colours to delineate the different areas of their lives;
- relationships – the people who have impacted them in special ways;
- personal growth – how they have changed and developed over time and the significant events or experiences which have fashioned it;
- God – His working in their lives, their growth towards Him, or their strong pictures of Him in the lives of those around them,
Invite them to be completely honest in their drawing of their storyline. If life has been tough, negative, insecure, it needs to be noted and not glossed over.
NB. This means that it is imperative that you as leaders create an atmosphere which is safe for this kind of sharing. Please be aware that this kind of sharing may be very threatening for some. ENCOURAGE SELF-DISCLOSURE BUT NEVER BULLY THEM INTO OPENING UP.
And if God has not been a significant factor in their lives to date, there must be no hint of judgement from leadership about that. His / her journey has not finished yet!
5. Allow ample time for this exercise. Each Pathfinder should have sufficient personal space to allow for personal reflection without discussion with others. When the group comes together, invite group members to share their stories. It may take some time for them to really open up at a heart level. Don’t force sharing, if they are uncomfortable with it. Memories may be painful.
6. Hand out a blank A4 sheet of paper to everyone. Invite everyone to think of one person from their storyline who has influenced them in a significant way. Ask them to write a note to that person thanking them for their interest in their growth and happiness. A first draft of this note should be included in their Journal.
7. Ensure that they follow through by sending their note to the person. The Pathfinders’ storylines should also be included in their Journal.
Debriefing should be HANDLED WITH CARE. Listen without judgement.
Questions will be fairly specific to your situation, however, some more general questions could include:
- Has the pattern of your life to date been predominantly positive or negative?
- Is that something we have any control over? How or how not?
- How could the statement: ‘Lord give me the strength to change the things which can be changed, accept the things that can’t be changed and wisdom to know the difference’ be a help to each of us in our own lives?
- Can you tell from your storyline where you’re headed?
- Who has been one of the most positive influences in your life?
- What can we do with the negative that has been thrown at us in our lives?
- How important has God been in your life? Can you see His influence?
- What is there about your life that you would like to change? (Can it be changed?)
- Someone has said: ‘Sometimes you make the right decision, and sometimes you make the decision right’. What do you think is meant by this? (Sometimes we just have to make work the decision we now know was wrong. We have to take responsibility for it and respond to the challenges it throws us).
1 “Prophets and Kings” By Ellen White (1917) Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California.