Posted on April 16, 2016 by Amy Tolmie
Here is an activity you can run with students from any year group as a reflective tool to help them consider the areas in which they are growing. It is a versatile activity and can be introduced in an assembly or other formal activity, in a Christian Union, a prayer space or simply as an art installation in the corridor that students can engage with.
- Tree (either a large branch you pick up from a local park or you may have a plastic tree you can use – see picture)
- Paper leaves (with one fruit of the spirit printed on each one, and hole punched – see picture above)
On this tree are different words that represent areas of growth in our lives. There are 9 words (you can ask students to read out the different words on the tree at this point, depending on your setting): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Invite students to consider one area they would like to grow in. To help them do this, ask them to take a moment of silence and think about the last time they felt sad, guilty or angry – what one of these characteristics they see on the tree would have helped them in that moment?
Ask them to take the leaf from the tree that contains the word they would like to grow in today (it may be different another day, or another week), and then ask them to turn it over and write down one thing they can do to show more of this characteristic in their life.
You could give them an example, such as “to be more loving, I will tell 3 people today what I respect about them”, or “to have more self-control I will try to write down the things that make me angry and show them to someone I trust instead of shouting at someone.”
As they look at what they have written, reflect with them that it isn’t always easy to choose to do these things. The things that help us grow often are quite difficult, even though they are good choices. We all need help to encourage us to grow. Explain that these 9 words are written in the Bible as examples of areas that Christians believe God wants to grow in their lives. Christians believe God promises to help us grow in these areas when we choose to ask Him.
Finish the activity with some more silence (or you could play some background music), as you encourage the students to think about how they are going to ask for help – be that in prayer, or from someone else - to help them grow in the characteristic they chose from the tree. To conclude, ask students to hang their leaf back on the tree, to represent how they as a group are each growing in their own ways.