Posted on May 17, 2016 by Amy Tolmie
Each month in Youthwork Magazine, schoolsworkUK contributes a page dedicated to working in schools. The page consists of three sections:
DREAM (to help you think strategically and with vision about your work in schools)
DEVELOP (to help you consider different skills we need to develop to carry out this work)
DO (a resource idea related to this theme that you can take and use in your work)
Below is the page from June 2016.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” - Mahatma Gandhi
Thinking about what is important to you and how it impacts your life and ministry is influenced by a variety of factors. You are shaped by your upbringing, your family and friends, the media, your experiences, education and the culture around you. The values you live your life by can be transient and change over time. Perhaps thinking about values for you is more of a professional idea and just something you have had to do for work, or perhaps working in youth ministry, your values are an integrated part of how you define yourself and what is important to you.
As an example, Psalm 15 offers us a collection of values that go on to impact behaviour. The psalmist writes about a person valuing truth speaking words of truth from his heart; In valuing kindness he does his neighbour no wrong; in valuing honesty he sticks to his word – even when it costs him; and in valuing justice he does not accept a bribe against an innocent person. The values of truth, kindness, honesty and justice in this example were not just listed or talked about, they affected behaviour and actions.
- Think: Would you be able to articulate your own values to somebody else if they were to ask you over coffee today, or to give examples of how those values are lived out either through your work or in your personal life? Take a moment to reflect on what is important to you and how you might make decisions based on those values. If it is helpful, we have provided a tool in the next section, which you can use to conduct a values ‘audit’.
- Discuss: Schools now have to promote ‘British Values’ (Tolerance, Democracy, The Rule of Law and Individual Liberty). What values would you add or change if you were to consider promoting Christian values in schools?
“It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
- Roy Disney (nephew of Walt Disney).
Shared values that are lived out should affect everything you do and the decisions you make. We have developed a values audit resource that you can use to help you clarify which values feature higher than others in importance to you, which values are being lived out well and which are perhaps being neglected. To download the PDF and print off to either use on your own or with a team, click here (there is a preview of the download below).
The first and second columns of the grid allow you to input the activities you carry out on a regular basis and the values you display through those activities.
The third column on the grid is titled ‘thickening your values’. This is to help you consider how you might widen the impact of your values or make them more tangible through a certain activity. For example, if you run a drop in breakfast club before school and the values you have listed are fun, faith and community; ‘thickening’ these values might involve how you will introduce more games that help all students to be involved equally and to think through what it looks like to spark conversations around faith through the games or in other ways that help the whole breakfast ‘community’ to be involved.
To help students explore their values, we have prepared a game for you to use called “What Matter’s Most?”. It can be used in the context of a one to one mentoring session, group work or in a more informal setting in a club or detached context. The aim is for young people to be able to think through things that are important to them by playing different ‘tiles’ with items or activities or ideas on and they have to decide which are the most important and which are less important. They also get to learn more about those they are playing with and can work well as a small group “get to know you” activity. The game is available as a free download here. Topics covered include relationships, faith, entertainment, food, global issues and family.
To follow up from the game:
- Ask each student to list their top three tiles from the game.
- Help them think about what values those tiles represent, for example “Snapchat” could be friendship, “Thinking about the point of my life” might be purpose, “Saying sorry” could be forgiveness. For a longer list of values to help you, click here.
- Finally encourage them to reflect on their values by choosing from one or more of the following ideas:
- Create a piece of artwork showing the things that matter most to them and the values they represent.
- Write a poem or a ‘day in the life’ piece of writing about how these activities/objects or ideas affect and shape them as people.
- Read Psalm 15 (as discussed in the ‘Dream’ section above). Ask students about what we can learn from the Psalm and what values they share with the person described in the passage, and how they are different.
EVENT COMING UP
You are invited to a schools work networking and equipping event this October in London, which will be exploring Christian values and schools work. The date is Friday 21st October at London City Mission. You can find the details here: www.streamschoolswork.org