Torn Images Teach Kids How to Build A Healthy Self-Concept

One of the lessons in our current science unit, "Taking Care of Yourself" is about self concept — what it is, how we build it up and how we tear it down. As a supplemental activity, the teacher's book offers this exercise called "Will It Survive?"

Influences on Self-Concept


The teacher is supposed to write in a random name and call it that person's self-concept. As they read through the story the teacher tears off a little piece of paper after each incident, showing how the experiences we have can take away from a healthy self-concept. I usually improvise as I tell the story, adding in incidents that the guide doesn't include, but that I may have witnessed taking place in my classroom.

What I don't like about this activity is that it ends with a destroyed self-concept. I want the students to see how they can repair and replace the confidence and self-worth that life, others and their own failed-attempts take away. That's why I don't stop there.
Boy Reading Bible
I talk about how at the end of the day, the person goes home and takes out their Bible to spend time with God. When they read how much God loves them, I tape a piece back onto the paper. When they learn that God calls them by name and has known them from the time they were in their mother's womb, I tape another piece back on. When they pray and feel God's love more, I tape another piece back. When they sing a song that recalls God's love for them, still another piece gets added back on. 

It may not look perfect, but it shows that with God a person can regain a healthy self-concept. I add in that the more students have a relationship with God, the less the tape shows because He heals what is broken. It is important to show students that there are ways to build themselves back up, ways to deal with the knocks that life hands us.

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