Choosing Friends

My anti-bullying program is called Breaking Out of the World Game.  I believe that almost every person on the planet is caught in this incessant generational cycle of US against THEM and Me against YOU. I call this conflict the World Game.

You see for generations and generations humans have had to fight.  We have had to fight for food, shelter, resources and more.  This fight is part of our DNA, it is part of who we are.  Without this internal fight we may not have survived as a species through the prehistoric age.  In the modern world this fight has moved from survival to things like the best grades at school, the best job, the most friends, highest revenue in companies etc.

The World Game forgets that Relationship is Everything, without human connections we are not humans!

So how do you explain this fundamental concept to students, well you need to take it very very slowly. You need to scaffold the concept over a lot of lessons so that students get the basic concept and then see how to change their behaviours over time.  The use of my Comfort Zone model is the way to do this.

Recently I had the great privilege of working with a fabulous class of 6th graders from a school here in Hawaii.  Our discussion about the World Game lead to this great activity about choosing friends.  From our classroom discussion the students decided that choosing friends was really important and needed to be done carefully, so we launched into how to choose friends.

This is the classroom activity that I designed, you can do the same with your class:

  1. Divide the class into teams of 4 or 5.
  2. Hand each team a large sheet of butcher or poster paper and a set of poster pens.
  3. Ask each team to draw a line down the middle of the sheet.
  4. Title the left column: Fake Friends
  5. Title the right column: Real Friends
  6. Ask the students to list the things makes a Fake Friend or a Real Friend
  7. Give the teams 12-15 minutes to fill their charts in.
  8. Have each team share their charts.  Based on the following guidelines.
    • Everyone must share something.
    • One person introduces each member of the team.
    • One person shares the process they went through to complete their discussion and the chart.
    • Two or three students share the material.
    • One person ‘wraps’ or reviews and ties together the presentation to close.

Close with a full room discussion on recognizing the difference between fake friends and real friends in real life and surrounding yourself with real friends.

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