Before facilitating this module with youth take a moment to recall when you were a young person. Remember a time when you were in transition and needed someone to hold you lightly in that moment, someone to not pre-determine or misuse you but rather help you grow and to truly see you. If you did experience being held lightly, you might have experienced it as something God-given. Did you feel seen, as if someone was able to give back in words and/or action some of the truth or beauty of your life? Did someone offer observations of the things they noticed taking place in your life? Would that have helped you on your journey toward adulthood? Take a moment to record your thoughts and feelings about this experience and these questions in whatever form you prefer. Now shift to thinking about what your group of young people might be experiencing in their lives. How might you be able to hold them lightly and aid them in holding others and themselves lightly through witnessing their life and offering observations? Take note of your discoveries, ideas, and concerns. While we believe this module will aid young people in holding lightly through witnessing, we also encourage adjusting the module according to the cultural, physical, and communal needs of your adolescent community.
2 Corinthians 4:18
This is a good intergenerational exercise in deep listening. In witnessing, adults help young people to realize more possibilities than they might have imagined, and vise versa.
Participants will be able to:
It is important to note that in Christian contexts, witnessing often refers to giving public testimony about one’s faith. However, we are using the notion of “witnessing” in a different sense. In terms of cultivating playfulness, when we “witness,” we tell people what we observe from our point of view. In other words, we lend a different and ideally a broader perspective. We do so not to challenge or compete with what they see, but to see what they see and see some additional things. By witnessing someone’s experience and enlarging it, gently, we help them know what they see is seen but also help them see a bit more. In witnessing, adults help young people to realize more possibilities than they might have imagined, and vise versa.
Gather (10 minutes)
Warm Up: The Machine
When to Use:
This exercise works best with an intergenerational group and can be used effectively with a multicultural group. The activity can also be used beyond this module for youth and/or adults to begin to think about other perspectives and viewpoints.
 This is a variation on the “The Family” game in Augusto Boal’s work. Augusto Boal, Theatre of the Oppressed (New York: Urizen Books, 1979).
Engage (30 minutes)
Activity 1: Talk Story
When to Use: This exercise works best with an intergenerational group and can be used effectively with a multicultural group. This exercise can also be used beyond this module for youth and/or adults to practice witnessing and listening to stories and perspectives of others.
Remind participants that the purpose of talking story is not to tell a partner what to do or how to do it, but to share a story that suggests that the teller is mindful of the partner’s concerns.
In the second round, Partner 1 and 2 switch roles.
 In the African American community Anne Streaty Wimberly has developed something called story-linking which is very similar to Talk Story. Anne Streaty Wimberly, Soul Stories: African American Christian Education (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2005).
 Deborah Lee, “Faith Practices for Racial Healing and Reconciliation,” in Realizing the America of Our Hearts: Theological Voices of Asian Americans, eds. Fumitaka Matsuoka and Eleazar S. Fernandez (St. Louis, MO: Chalice, 2003), 154. Lee writes about talk story as practice that facilitates racial healing and reconciliation. The reference to family is added to make it more relevant for working with youth.
Reflect (15 minutes)
Send Forth (5 minutes)
This resource includes supplementary materials:
Introduction for Leaders