Respect is an important character trait. Showing respect for those around you and for yourself is essential to converting people to Christ, because a disrespectful attitude will turn others off to your message. Teach youth group members the importance of respect and ways to demonstrate respect for yourself and others. Activities that require students to examine those they think are respectful or disrespectful and identify specific characteristics of a respectful attitude are essential to understanding how to be a respectful Christian.
Have students mill around the classroom as you play music. When the music stops, students pair up with the nearest person and introduce themselves to one another. Partners should spend five minutes talking about their definitions of respect. Repeat the process of pairing up, introducing themselves and talking about respect a few more times. This is a good activity to use at the beginning of a youth group meeting because it both starts conversations about respect and serves as a get-to-know-each-other game.
Have youth group members prepare a skit or song to perform before the group. They can work independently or in small groups to create a presentation. Stress that their activity should provide an example or definition of respect, and demonstrate or tell how the world would be better or worse with or without respect. Students perform their skits or songs in front of the group. This is a great activity to use as a review of what they have learned about respect. The depth of their presentations will give you, as a leader, an understanding of their mastery of your class objectives regarding respect.
Have youth group members draw two pictures, one of respect and one of disrespect. Students can use paint, markers, crayons, pens, pencils and any other craft supplies you provide. Leave time in the meeting to talk about their pictures and why they selected the images they did.
Show video clips no more than five minutes long, then have students analyze the clips, looking for examples of respect and disrespect. Video clips might include a five minute section of " Mean Girls" or "The Last Song" to demonstrate disrespect, or a clip from "Remember the Titans" or "Bobby" to demonstrate respect. Have students talk about what they saw. Relate the video clips to their own lives and behaviors. Ask if they have acted the way the people in the video did. Encourage them to apply the lessons learned to their own lives.
Students create a list of people, which could include celebrities, sports stars, parents, friends, coaches, teachers and anyone else who they think is respectful of others. Beside each person's name the student will list of reason they think that the person is respectful. After you talk about the people on their lists, ask students to self-evaluate. Tell them to list the things they do and the ways that they act that make them respectful people, as well as the things that make them disrespectful people. Ask students to list at least three ways they can improve on their behavior and show more self-respect and respect for others.
Misty Barton has been working in the fields of composition and journalism for over 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Science in English education and a Master of Arts in English and composition. She has written for various online publications including a blog that specifically addresses the concerns of work-at-home mothers.
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