I visited Canyon Springs for the second time on the past two Wednesdays. It was great to see the kids again, and there still was a long line at lunch time to get handcuffed. Here is what we talked about:
4th Grade – Under Whose Influence
The book tells the story of a middle-school girl that goes to a classmates house to study and is unexpectedly given the choice to drink alcohol. Depending on the choices made by the class (majority rules), the main character might be peer pressured, she might choose to stay in the house or leave, drink or not drink, or whether to keep the incident a secret or tell her mom. The story changes depending on the choice and the consequences of each choice are described for the students to hear.
During the discussion I repeatedly emphasized to the kids that drugs aren’t good or bad. The good and the bad comes from how and why the person is using them. All of the kids are going to see adults in their lives drinking alcohol from time to time, and they need to understand that it is every adults personal responsibility to use alcohol responsibly. They may have to face peer pressure to drink or engage in other dangerous behaviors as they get older. Even if they are being pressured, they still have the power to make a good choice for themselves.
5th and 6th Grade – Time to Make A Good Decision
My time with the 5th and 6th grades was spent talking about decision making. At the beginning of the class the kids broke up into groups and played a decision-making game. There are 12 scenario cards (an example is pictured above); the kids take turns reading the cards and then they reveal their answers Rock, Paper, Scissors style with the Yes, No and Maybe cards.
Some of the themes and topics we covered include:
- You have a chance to cheat; what do you do?
- A friend tells you a secret; do you tell?
- You find a wallet with money and an ID; do you try to return it?
- Your mom tells you to do your homework and read for a specific amount of time, but you want to watch TV; do you obey mom’s orders?
- You see a student doing something dangerous at school; do you tell a teacher?
- You break something at your friend’s house and they get blamed; do you speak up?
The kids really got into it, and we finished the class by talking about some of the scenarios as a group. I emphasized that our decisions shape who we are and how others see us; I want the kids to understand that having integrity and doing the right thing is a habit that needs to be ingrained just like brushing your teeth and eating healthy.
Most kids this age have a good handle on what is right and what is wrong when it comes to these types of decisions if they take the time to think about it. However, they can get caught up in making elaborate reasons to justify doing what’s wrong instead of just keeping it simple and doing what’s right.