Life Lessons – Values
Binti Shupavu is Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative’s life skills program for lower secondary school girls. The four-year course covers topics such as study skills, personal leadership, health and self-confidence with the goal of increasing Ordinary Level graduation rates for vulnerable girls.
This is the first of a four-part series that gives a glimpse at what Scholars actually learn in a Binti Shupavu classroom. Binti Shupavu uses a “spiral curriculum,” which means that key topics are revisited progressively each year. (See the “Experience Map” at the bottom of this blog for more about this approach.)
As always, the lesson consists of the Binti Shupavu Mentor sharing important information and interactive activities and discussions that keep the girls engaged in the topic and give them the opportunity to express themselves.
Unit: Developing your Potential
Lesson: Staying True to Yourself and Knowing your Values
Today we are going to talk about your own values and staying true to the things that you believe.
A value is defined as “a person’s principles or standards of behavior, or one’s judgement of what is important in life.”
Do you think every person in the world believes in and values the exact same things?
Of course they don’t. People all over the world have different beliefs, and what they think is important can vary a lot. For example, there are different religions in the world and the beliefs that people follow under each of these religions are different, but that doesn’t make one right or wrong.
We are going to explore this concept further so that you can think about your own beliefs and what makes you, YOU.
Have you ever felt judged by others?
Maybe you were following your passion for netball, but were told you weren’t good enough or people looked down on you because you cared about getting high marks in school.
- How did it make you feel when people judged you?
- Did it make you question your abilities?
- Were you able to ignore what others thought and stick to what was important to you?
- If their judgements made you change, how do you feel about that now?
- If you were able to stay true to yourself, how did you do that?
At some point in life, if it hasn’t already happened, you are going to be judged for who you are, what you do, or what you believe. It is a fact of life.
It is knowing how to be prepared when it happens that is important. We will go over some strategies on how to stick to your principles today.
Individual Activity Followed by Class Discussion
First, think about things that are important to you, what makes you unique, and your hopes and dreams. (Scholars are given 15 minutes to write these on the “My Early Dreams” worksheet.)
What are the challenges that can keep you from staying true to yourself?
People – that is peers, your family, or even strangers – can distract you or discourage you from following your principles or dreams.
Oftentimes, it is you, yourself, that can be the biggest thing standing in your way. If you don’t have confidence, for example, your lack of self-esteem can cause you to make certain choices or engage in behaviors that are unsafe or not beneficial to your well-being.
Let’s talk about how to be yourself.
It’s not always easy to be ourselves. Sometimes, when we’re with other people, we make choices or act in ways that are different from when we’re alone. Here are some ways to prevent that from happening.
- Know your values and stay true to them.
- Make your own choices, don’t just go along with the crowd.
- Respect yourself.
- Think about your goals and act accordingly.
How do you know what your values are?
Your values are your personal inventory of what you consider most important in life. We all have values, but unless we take time to think about those values, we can easily overlook them when we’re making important choices. Here are some guidelines for identifying what you value. Ask yourself:
- Is this something that’s important to you?
- Do you feel good about this being important to you?
- Would you feel good if people you respect knew that this was important to you?
- Have you ever done anything that indicates that this is important to you?
- Is this something that you would stand by even if others made fun of you for it?
- Does this fit with your vision of who you are?
Class Discussion/Hypothetical Situations
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we have to make a choice between two values that are in conflict with one another. At times like this, we must be ready to distinguish between these two values.
Think about what you would do in these hypothetical situations (and identify what values are at play):
1) You are doing poorly in math class and your parents are putting pressure on you to bring your marks up. The day before the final exam, a classmate steals a copy of the exam and invites you to study it with her. You’ve never been a cheater.
2) You love being on the netball team. After practice one evening, you see a teammate spray painting in the alleyway. The coach knows you saw it happen and threatens to kick you off the team unless you name the guilty person. You’ve never ratted on anybody before.
3) A friend swears you to secrecy and then tells you that he stole a woman’s bag in the market. You’ve always believed in keeping a secret.
Is it just an advertisement?
In a world where influences are coming from so many different places (friends, family, the media, religious members etc.), it can sometimes be difficult to stand up for what you believe in. We are going to look at an advertisement and analyze how even something you might see everyday on the way to school may be influencing your thoughts and values.
- What values do you think are being promoted here?
- What is the message the advertisement is trying to send?
- What might a woman who dresses modestly and would never show herself in public like this think about this advertisement? Would it align with her values?
- Are there other advertisements in town that you have seen that might influence the way people think and their values?
To finish, please write a journal entry reflecting on the following points. This is your “exit ticket” as you leave class today.
- Where do you get your values?
- What is one example of a value that your family feels is very important?
- Do you have any religious values you hold and have been taught?
- Which of your values come from your cultural beliefs from growing up in Tanzania?
- What is a value widely held in this country that may be less important in other countries?
- Can you think of a value that someone else has that you do not share or approve of? What is it?
AfricAid mentors secondary school girls in Tanzania to complete their education, develop into confident leaders, and transform their own lives and their communities. We equip girls to overcome challenges and reach their full potential because educated girls create lasting positive change. The outcome is proactive, resilient, and socially-responsible girls who secure better jobs, raise healthier families and increase the standing of women in society.
Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative (GLAMI) is AfricAid’s program implementation partner in Tanzania.