Each virtue outlined in this program should be viewed as a separate segment. To gain maximum benefits, develop a strategy for your youth around each virtue. The strategies should be age dependent. Consider the maturity levels of the youth involved.
The most important part of this program is to understand the biblical definitions of each virtue. These will form the foundation for future activities and experiences. This is more than just a reading lesson. Your ideas should also include the use of video content and field trips. YouTube.com has a rich library of movies, both as cartoons and real life drama, that can introduce the characters of the Bible Characters chosen to exemplify a specific virtue. Take time to search, review and find appropriate material. Avoid lectures. Here are just a few samples you can look at:
- Ruth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPjEY3F8gHs
- Dorcas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1d2-5gU718
- Ananias and Sapphira https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2_BYNC5-1M
Use feature movies too. These are excellent to bring alive many of the characters involved in our nation’s and state’s history. Come prepared to answer the following:
- Who wrote the book and or Scripture in the Biblical Example being studied?
- To whom or for whom were they writing it?
- When was it written?
- What are the central themes of the story you are going to study?
Please don’t just stop there. While videos can be entertaining, there should be time allocated for discussion afterwards. As an example, always consider the following:
- Once a virtue is understood from God’s perspective, how does the world view it?
- Does your group agree that the virtue is necessary to have a better world? Why and why not opinions are important to discuss.
- Where does your group see conflict between God and the world with respect to living out that specific virtue?
- What are the personal threats that are seen against living out the virtue in a Godly fashion?
- Can your group find contemporary examples of the biblical story in society today? How does our world’s view differ from God’s perspective?
- Is there a specific sin to discuss? Is the sin something we need to be concerned about today?
- Is there cause for thanksgiving or praise to God? How was the praise expressed in the story?
- Is there a promise or a God’s Truth that we need to believe in?
- Is there an attitude to change or a motive to examine? Is that an issue with youth, adults, what groups of people?
- Is there an example to imitate or follow? How would you describe the virtue to a friend?
- Is there an error to confront or avoid? Where do you see this error being made today?
Let your group discuss how they might be able to create an activity where the group demonstrates the virtue. Guest speakers are always good. After any activity, always gather back to discuss how things went and what they learned. What would you and they do different? Learning to share experiences that include faith are an excellent way to prepare youth for sharing their testimonies.
One of the harder program sections is on American History. We have chosen to use the American Revolution. The purpose is to develop an understanding of why the Constitution was written the way it is. There are a lot of great books, movies, to include when covering this material. For example, we all know a lot about George Washington. While you may not be able to go to Valley Forge, you can set up small activities to teach about the life and times. Here are a few examples:
- Use props. Every story can be enhanced by letting people hold a replica from history.
- Dress the part. Investing in period clothing can go a long way to bringing history alive.
- Cook a meal for the group over a campfire. Light the fire with flint and steel. Cook foods that were typical of the period. Have an 18th century picnic.
- Gather toys, clothing, accoutrements of the period and have hands-on classes. Discuss what life was like and compare it to today’s life for youth. Make a corn husk doll.
- Do some things like camp overnight. Immerse the youth into living history!
- Re-read the Declaration of Independence. There are 27 injustices noted in the document. Review Lostpine’s comprehensive comparison of the Declaration to our Constitution HERE. It is important to link why our revolution was necessary to assure personal freedom. Both the list of injustices and the solutions in our Constitution and Bill of Rights work together for a full understanding of our Constitutional Republic.
- Be creative and include some crafts. Always productive to make a leather covered journal. Have the youth keep it up with their thoughts through the program. At the end of the program, have them take time and read what they wrote. Some may even want to try to journal with a quill and ink. How to make a quill is available online.
- Be a facilitator and find activities from history like sewing by hand. That was the way things were done in the past. It is a good skill to have later in life.
Use local living historians. These are people in your area who love to portray the life and times of history. They differ from reenactors who typically focus on events. Living historians will have period clothing, accoutrements, tents, cooking equipment, etc. that would be beneficial for use in any history class. For Florida residents, try the Historic Florida Militia based in St. Augustine and the Florida Frontiersmen based in Homeland for where to find people that might be interested in helping you.
Take advantage of the museums, historical sites, in your area. Take field trips. There is no substitute for experiences. While this program makes some important suggestions, there are hundreds more to choose from. There is nothing like learning by seeing the real thing. After each trip, take time to let the group talk about what they saw. Their favorite things, what surprised them, what they learned. Share your experiences with families, school, and your congregation.
The Role of the Leader
- You are a discussion leader, not a lecturer.
- Your role is to provide accurate instruction, context, definitions of words, etc.
- Keep the class focused on the Bible Truths and goals of the session.
- Always guide the discussion to ensure you complete the study in the allotted time.
- Start and end your time with prayer.
The goals of this program are to expose youth to knowledge and history that transforms them into a citizenry that cares about their country and cares about their God.
Adapting to Your State
Lostpine is based in Florida so we chose to keep trips short for the “experiences” in this program. Search your area for similar history. Find those places to enrich the lessons on virtues. Adapt for drivable experiences. We also hope you visit Florida and experience some of our history. Read the definitions and Bible stories. You will probably be surprised to find local museums and history groups ready to help you with venues close to where you are located. The virtues that make America great are everywhere!