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Teaching Values to Adolescents

The Part-Three Discussion

This will expand adolescents' understanding and build their desire for dependability and loyalty.

  • Go through the "Synonyms and Antonyms Game" mentioned earlier to fix definitions in children's minds.

  • Then ask, "What's the difference between dependability and loyalty?" While they have many similar and overlapping aspects, dependability is especially concerned with doing what one says he will do -- keeping commitments and being reliable. Loyalty includes being dependable but also implies support, service, and contribution to the person or thing to which loyalty is given.

  • Cautions on both: Ask what one has to be careful about in striving to live by these two principles. Dependability: Be careful not to make commitments you can't keep . . . or to make more (too many) commitments that you can keep. Part of being dependable is to carefully choose commitments and then make them totally. Loyalty: First, be careful and cautious about giving loyalty. Don't give loyalty to too many things. Save deepest loyalty for deepest loves. Second, never confuse loyalty with "not ratting on someone."

Pass It On

Case studies can help adolescents see the far-reaching effects of dependability. For example, Jim has won a part in the church play and committed himself to be at practices on Tuesday and Thursday nights. He is studying with a friend, loses track of time, and misses a key practice. Who is affected? (Others in the play who can't rehearse their lines without his. The director, who has to shift things around. Ultimately the audience who may see a less professional play.) Think of other examples.

Discussion of True Friendship

Summarize the value of dependability and loyalty. Ask adolescents what they think is the most important and valuable quality in a friend. Challenge them to think of any more important or more crucial factor than loyalty and dependability.

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