Values & Vision excercise

Values and Vision Exercise

Alligator River

In this strategy, you reveal some of your values by the way you react to the characters in the story. Later on, in examining your reactions to the characters, you will become more aware of your own attitudes.

Read the Alligator River story:-

"Once upon a time there was a woman named Abigail who was in love with a man named Gregory. Gregory lived on the shore of a river. Abigail lived on the opposite shore of the river. The river that separated the two lovers was teeming with man-eating alligators. Abigail wanted to cross the river to be with Gregory. Unfortunately, the bridge had been washed away.

"So she went to ask Sinbad, a riverboat captain, to take her across. He said he would be glad to if she would consent to go to bed with him before he takes her across. She promptly refused and went to a friend named Ivan to explain her plight. Ivan did not want to be involved at all in the situation.

"Abigail felt her only alternative was to accept Sinbad's terms. Sinbad fulfilled his promise to Abigail and delivered her into the arms of Gregory.

"When she told Gregory about her amorous escapade in order to cross the river, Gregory cast her aside with disdain. Heartsick and dejected, Abigail turned to Slug with her tail of woe. Slug, feeling compassion for Abigail, sought out Gregory and beat him brutally. Abigail was happy to see Gregory getting his due. As the sun sets on the horizon, we hear Abigail laughing at Gregory."

Following the story, rank the five characters from the most offensive character to the least objectionable. The character whom you find most reprehensible is first on the list; then the second most reprehensible, and so on, with the fifth being the least objectionable.

Then ask yourself these thought-provoking questions about the character you ranked as most offensive: "Is this the kind of person you least want to be like?" "What kind of person would be the opposite of this character?" List three things you could do or are now doing to be like the opposite of the person you rated as worst.

To use in a group, the leader divides the larger group into smaller groups of three to six members. He/she reads the procedures and then the appropriate version of the story.

After the participants have made their own rankings, they share their thinking, discuss all the pros and cons with one another, and try to reach a consensus.

Following the discussion, the leader might ask voting questions to find out how participants ranked each of the characters. (For example, "How many felt Abigail was the best character? How many felt she was the worst character?")

Extract from Values Clarification by Sidney B Simon, Leland W Howe, Howard Kirschenbaum, Warner Books, 1995

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