Embodying Joy

Embodying Joy

This lesson looks at memory and story as pathways to joy.

Quest for Life

Enhancer of Joy



45 minutes

Lesson Developed by

Almeda M. Wright, Ph.D. and Anne E. Streaty Wimberly, Ph.D.


Embodying Joy Includes Actual Narrative Experiences

Tips to Prepare

The Finding Joy in Adolescence project necessarily entails applying resources on joy from across periods of time in planned experiences with adolescents. In this curriculum guide, we present a Sankofa pedagogy for use with adolescents. At its core, the curriculum emphasizes connecting adolescents with resources on joy from the past reflecting an understanding of the West African Akan tribal view of moving forward while looking back. This view is captured in the symbol of the Sankofa Bird, which literally means to “go back and retrieve” or, as the symbol below indicates, it embodies the idea of going back for that which has been forgotten.

Introduction for Leaders

Finding joy includes recalling one’s own story of struggle and overcoming and opening thoughts on where joy appeared or was thwarted in that story.


Gather (5 minutes)

  • Greet each youth as they arrive
  • Check in
  • Opening prayer



Engage (35 minutes)

  • Have someone from the group read Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s lyrics to “With the Lark” https://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/190/lyrics-of-the-hearthside/3942/with-the-lark/
  • Ask the following questions:
  1. What does the poem say about choosing joy?
  2. In what ways do it or does it not reflect your views on choosing joy?
  3. Why?


Send Forth

Send Forth (5 minutes)

  • Closing Prayer


Related Video Clips


This Resource includes the following downloadable content:

Yale Youth Ministry Institute