Purpose: Students practice resisting pressure to make decisions that are not compatible with their personal values.
1. Students perform role plays.
Share the following quote from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “To thine own self be true.” Discuss the meaning of this quote. Explain that once we know what’s important to us, we must live by those values, even in the face of pressure.
Divide the class into three groups. Have each group brainstorm one of the following scenarios and act it out for the class:
- You’re at a party with a popular crowd, and someone you like and want to impress is encouraging you to do drugs. What do you do?
- Someone you like has the answers to your midterm exam and is passing them around. You’ve been worried about passing this course—it’s a tough one. There’s little chance of getting caught because almost everyone who’s been approached has taken the answers, so they’re not likely to snitch. What do you do?
- You notice that your friends like to taunt the less-popular students at school. They want you to join in, and they tease you when you don’t. What do you do?
Discuss the difficulty of maintaining your values in the face of pressure to change them. Remind students that self-respect, as well as the respect of others, is strongly tied to our values. Ask students if they think that self-respect is more important than having the respect of others. Point out that self-respect is defined by a person’s own value system, while the respect of others is defined by their value systems. Since another person’s value system may be different from their own, remind students again of the quote, “To thine own self be true.”
2. Students apply what they have learned.
Have students write a paragraph describing a time when their values conflicted with the values of someone close to them. Ask volunteers to read their paragraphs out loud. Have the rest of the class suggest resolutions to the conflicts.