Session 5: Offerings of Gifts and Needs

Posted March 14, 2011 in Curriculum, Mutual Aid. Tagged:

Activity #1  Offerings of Gifts and Needs (40 minutes total)

A.  Offering (20)

The club’s homework for this session included making lists or cards of “gifts you have to offer” and “things you need.”  Explain that we will go around and have people briefly offer up their Gifts and Needs in turn.

Open this section by noting that one of the things that can get distorted in times of scarcity and hardship is our sense of ourselves as having something to give as well as needing to receive.  Sometimes we forget we have anything to offer when we have many needs.  Sometimes we fear needing something from others because this makes us feel vulnerable.  This activity is about restoring balance between offering and receiving.  Reciprocity is a critical ingredient in common security; it is harder than just giving or just receiving, but it is ultimately more rewarding and builds deeper connections, connections that create needed security.  Today we practice valuing ourselves and each other through reciprocity.

Have participants go around one by one and explain briefly what they’re offering and what they need.  If participants brought their gifts and needs on separate cards, invite them to place their cards in appropriately-labeled baskets; if participants brought lists, record these on blank flip chart or poster paper as participants share.  Divide the paper into two columns, one for Gifts, and the other for Needs.

The volunteer note-taker or scribe records these gifts and needs so that each participant can see how their individual needs might be matched up with available resources within the club.

B.  Group Reflection and Discussion (20)

Invite the group to notice the variety and richness of the offerings.

Ask the group to go around and share:

  • What did it feel like to make up these lists and then share them?
  • What did you learn about yourself?

Then looking at the lists of gifts and needs, help the group make connections where there is a match between gifts and needs.

Ask people:

  • Do you have more ideas of gifts and needs after listening to others?

Assure participants that we will return to the lists in order to match up skills and needs, creating opportunities for mutual aid within the club.  Have someone agree to type up the two lists and bring them back next time.

Closing remarks:

  • We have discovered how many gifts we have together when we pool our skills and abilities.  These may have been invisible as a source of security until we created an opportunity to share them.