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Who Are You? A Lesson Plan on Identity

In our journey of faith and self-discovery, one of the most profound questions we can encounter is “Who are you?” This inquiry, simple yet deeply introspective, was posed to John the Baptist, a pivotal figure in our Christian history. Our lesson plan, inspired by this significant moment, invites our youth to delve into the complexities of identity.

We often define ourselves by our roles, talents, relationships, and characteristics. Yet, how does our faith shape who we are? This Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity, rooted in the scriptural passage of John 1:6-8, 19-28, offers a unique opportunity to reflect on our identities through the lens of our Catholic faith.

In this session, we will conduct a survey, encouraging students to explore various facets of their identity, ranging from their activities and talents to their family roles, personality traits, and faith. This interactive approach not only engages our youth in self-exploration but also fosters a deeper understanding of how their Catholic identity intertwines with other aspects of their lives.

Most importantly, we will reflect on John the Baptist’s response when questioned about his identity. His humble assertion, “I am not the Christ,” serves as a powerful reminder that our true identity is often found not in glorifying ourselves, but in how we point to and follow Jesus. This Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity aims to guide our youth in understanding that our identities, while multi-faceted, are ultimately anchored in our relationship with Christ and our Catholic faith.

Who Are You Do Lesson Plan

Opening Game for the Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity

The Candy Identity game sets the stage for our discussion on identity and perception. As catechists, we can use this simple yet effective game to draw powerful parallels between guessing candy flavors and understanding our own identities. (See the complete instructions.)

  • Which colors were the most difficult to guess?
  • Were you surprised by any in particular?
  • Did anyone get a flavor they didn’t like?

A key discussion point can be around the experience of guessing a flavor incorrectly or encountering an unexpected taste. This leads to a broader conversation about how we often form judgments or assumptions based on external appearances. Just like the candies, which may look similar but taste different, people can also defy our initial perceptions.

Sometimes it is difficult to know the identity of someone or something. That is what we are talking about today.

How does our faith inform our understanding of ourselves and others? In what ways can we look beyond the surface to truly understand and appreciate someone’s unique identity?

Who Are You Do Lesson Plan

Scripture Reading for the Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity

It’s fascinating, isn’t it, how our eyes can sometimes deceive us into thinking we know something, only to be surprised when we actually experience it? This brings us to a very special part of today’s lesson, where we’ll explore a similar theme in Scripture. In the Gospel of John, we hear about John the Baptist, who was asked a very important question: ‘Who are you?’

Just like we had to guess the flavors of the candies without tasting them, people had to guess who John the Baptist was without truly knowing him. Let’s dive into this passage together and see what it reveals about identity, expectations, and how we perceive ourselves and others in the light of our faith. Keep in mind the surprises and revelations you experienced during our game as we read and discuss this Scripture.

John 1:6-8, 19-28 (John the Baptist is asked about his identity) – the Gospel Reading for the 3rd Sunday in Advent – Year B

A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.

And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.”

So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.”

So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?”

He said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord,’” as Isaiah the prophet said.”

Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”

John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”

This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

John 1:6-8, 19-28
Who Are You Do Lesson Plan

Discussion for the Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity

Give everyone a piece of paper and a pencil. Have them write down as many possible answers as possible to the question “Who are you?” Allow plenty of time for this activity. If some of them seem to finish, encourage them to dig deeper and come up with more answers.

Let’s do a survey:

  • Raise your hand if you had an answer related to something you do at school or in a club, such as “I am a soccer player” or “I am involved in Student Council”.
  • Raise your hand if you had an answer related to a talent such as “I can play the piano” or “I am a good student”.
  • Raise your hand if you had an answer related to your family, such as “I am an only child” or “I am a daughter”.
  • Raise your hand if you had an answer related to your personality such as “I am nice” or “I am faithful”.
  • Raise your hand if you had an answer related to faith, such as “I am Catholic” or “I am a disciple”.
  • Raise your hand if you had an answer related to your habits or preferences, such as “I am somebody who likes to sleep in” or “I am a person who loves dogs”.
  • Raise your hand if you have an answer which starts with “I am not”, such as “I am not good at math” or “I am not an athlete”.

Now, let’s take a moment to reflect further on the answers you’ve written down. Notice how varied our identities are, filled with roles, talents, relationships, and beliefs. This diversity in how we see ourselves is a beautiful reflection of God’s creativity in making each of us unique. But let’s dig a bit deeper.

  • How many people had more answers which started with “I am not” than answers with started with “I am”?

After seeing the variety of your responses, let’s think about how often we define ourselves by what we’re not, similar to how John the Baptist started by saying, ‘I am not the Christ.’ It’s interesting to note that sometimes, what we are not can be as telling as what we are.

John understood his role was not to bring glory to himself but to prepare the way for Jesus. In our lives, how often do we focus on what we’re not, rather than embracing the role God has for us? How can we shift our focus from our limitations to our potential in Christ?

Now, let’s take a moment to share. I’d love to hear from a few of you about your reflections. What did you learn about yourself through this activity? How does understanding who you are not help you focus more on who you are in Christ? This is a safe space, so feel free to share openly and listen to each other with respect and kindness. Our identities in faith are not just about who we are individually, but also about how we connect and support each other as a community.

Who Are You Do Lesson Plan

Reflection Questions for the Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity

Break into small groups for a more intimate and focused discussion. Each group should have a mix of different individuals to encourage diverse perspectives and if possible one leader or facilitator. Provide some starter questions to steer the conversations:

  • Using Identity to Glorify God: Reflect on the question, “Do you think about how to use your identity to glorify God?” Discuss how your unique talents, traits, and roles can be channels to honor Him. Share personal experiences or aspirations in this regard.
  • Bringing Others to Jesus: “What are some specific ways you can use your identity to bring others to Jesus?” Consider how your everyday interactions, hobbies, or talents can be opportunities to witness and share your faith.
  • Challenges in Faith Expression: “Are some parts of your identity more difficult to use to point to God?” Discuss any struggles you face in aligning certain aspects of your identity with your faith. How can you overcome these challenges?
  • Self-Focused Identity: “Do any parts of your identity seem to be more focused on yourself?” Explore areas where your focus might be more on self-promotion or self-interest. How can you redirect these towards glorifying God?
  • Actionable Steps: “How can you change your actions to use these self-focused parts of your identity to glorify God?” Brainstorm practical steps you can take to align your actions with your faith values.
  • Role Models in Faith: “Who in your life or in the Church is a good example of using their identity to glorify God?” Discuss role models who inspire you to live out your faith authentically.
  • Balancing Identity and Humility: “How can we balance a strong sense of identity with the humility exemplified by Christ?” Reflect on maintaining a balance between confidently embracing who you are and practicing the humility Jesus taught us.

Remind participants to remember to listen actively and respect each other’s views. This is a time to learn from each another and grow together in faith and understanding. After the discussion, regroup and share any insights or common themes that emerged in your small groups.

Who Are You Do Lesson Plan

Challenge for the Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity

As we continue our journey in faith and self-discovery, let’s take up a meaningful challenge this week. Reflect on the various aspects of your identity that we’ve explored today. Identify one specific trait, talent, or part of your life that you feel doesn’t usually point people to Jesus. This could be a hobby, a skill, a role you play, or even a personality trait.

Once you’ve identified this part of your identity, commit to transforming it in a way that glorifies God. For example, if you’re a talented musician, consider playing music at a church service or community event. If you’re known for your sense of humor, use it to bring joy in a Christ-like manner, perhaps by volunteering at a youth group or sharing uplifting content with friends. If you’re a natural leader in your peer group, lead by example in showing kindness, integrity, and compassion.

The key here is to take something that is inherently you and use it to reflect God’s love and grace. It’s about letting your light shine in a way that directs others to Him. Document your journey through this challenge, whether it’s through journaling, taking photos, or even sharing experiences with friends or family.

At the end of the week, take some time to reflect on this experience. How did it feel to use your unique trait or talent for God’s glory? Did you notice any changes in how others responded to you? Share your experiences in our next gathering, and let’s inspire each other with how we’ve used our identities to witness God’s love in our everyday lives.

Who Are You Do Lesson Plan

Prayer for the Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity

Conclude by praying Help Me Know Who I Am. (Printable copy here.)

As we close our session today, let’s turn our hearts and minds to God in prayer. This prayer, titled “Help Me Know Who I Am,” invites us to seek understanding of our true identity through God’s loving gaze. Let us pray together, asking God to reveal to us how we are seen and cherished by Him, and to guide us in reflecting His love to others.

Dear God,

Help me to know who I am.
Let me see myself as you see me.

As you gaze upon me
show me that you love me
in my strengths and my weaknesses.

Open my heart so I can
hear you call me
“Beloved Daughter” or
“Beloved Son”.

Then, secure in my identity,
let me act so that others
see you through me.

Rid me of the need to
draw attention to myself.
May I always point to you.

Glory to you forever.

Amen.

Resources for the Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity

Themes for Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity

The lesson plan “Who Are You?” explores several key themes centered around identity, faith, and self-perception:

  1. Identity in Faith: Understanding how our Catholic faith shapes and influences our personal identity.
  2. Self-Reflection: Encouraging introspection about various aspects of personal identity, including roles, talents, and beliefs.
  3. Perception vs. Reality: Highlighting the difference between external appearances and true nature, as illustrated in the Candy Identity game.
  4. Scriptural Connection: Relating personal identity to Biblical narratives, specifically focusing on John the Baptist’s understanding of his identity in relation to Christ.
  5. Community and Diversity: Acknowledging and appreciating the diverse identities within the faith community.
  6. Role of Actions in Identity: Discussing how our actions and choices reflect and shape our identity.
  7. Humility and Service: Learning from John the Baptist’s example of humility and his role in pointing towards Christ, rather than seeking self-glory.
  8. Transformation and Witnessing: Exploring how to use aspects of our identity to glorify God and bring others to Jesus.
  9. Reflective Prayer: Engaging in prayer to seek deeper understanding of one’s identity as a beloved child of God.
  10. Practical Application: Encouraging participants to apply the lesson’s themes in their daily lives, particularly in how they represent themselves and their faith to others.

Background Material for Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity

The concept of identity is deeply rooted in Catholic teaching and is fundamental to understanding our place in the world and in our relationship with God. As Catholics, we believe that each person is made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27), which imbues every individual with inherent dignity and worth. This lesson plan, “Who Are You?”, seeks to explore the multi-faceted nature of identity through a Catholic lens, emphasizing how our faith shapes and is intertwined with our understanding of ourselves.

This fundamental concept is addressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, particularly in paragraph 1701, which states: “The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God; it is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude.” This underlines the inherent dignity and worth of every person as created in God’s image, a core aspect of our identity as Catholics.

In the context of Catholicism, identity is not just a personal construct but also a reflection of our relationship with God and with the Church. We are not only individuals with unique talents, traits, and experiences, but also members of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). This communal aspect of identity highlights the importance of fellowship, service, and living out our faith in everyday interactions.

The story of John the Baptist, as recounted in John 1:6-8, 19-28, serves as a powerful example of understanding one’s role and purpose in relation to Christ. John the Baptist’s declaration, “I am not the Christ,” underscores a recognition of his mission to prepare the way for Jesus, thus showing humility and a clear sense of his calling. This narrative invites us to reflect on how we perceive ourselves and how we align our identities with God’s purpose for us.

Moreover, Catholic teaching emphasizes the concept of vocation – a calling from God – which is a crucial aspect of one’s identity. This Who Are You? A Lesson Plan on Identity encourages young Catholics to discern how their unique qualities and life circumstances can be seen as part of God’s plan for them. It also delves into the idea of being created for communion with God and others, which is fundamental to Catholic anthropology.

This is discussed in paragraph 1879 of the Catechism: “The human person needs to live in society. Society is not for him an extrinsic addition but a requirement of his nature. Through the exchange with others, through mutual service and dialogue with his brethren, man develops his potential; he thus responds to his vocation.” This passage echoes the communal aspect of our identity in Christ and how our individual identity is intertwined with our membership in the Church.

Additionally, the virtue of humility, exemplified by John the Baptist, is a key theme. It teaches us to view our talents and roles not as means for self-aggrandizement but as gifts to be used in service to God and others. This perspective challenges the modern, secular understanding of identity, which often centers on individual achievement and personal fulfillment.

In this Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity, participants are invited to engage in activities and discussions that not only foster a deeper understanding of their personal identities but also reinforce the idea that our truest identity is found in being beloved children of God. Through this realization, we are called to live out our faith authentically, serving as witnesses to Christ in the world.

Music Suggestions for Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity

More Youth Ministry Lesson Plans and Reflections

This lesson plan, “Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity,” s part of a larger series designed to deepen understanding of key Catholic teachings and their application in daily life. Following our exploration of identity, upcoming lessons will delve into themes like community, service, and sacramental living, each building on the understanding that our individual identities are intertwined with our broader role in the Church. As we progress through these lessons, participants will gain a more holistic view of how Catholic teachings inform every aspect of life, from personal growth to our interactions with others, helping to cultivate a more vibrant and engaged faith community.

Frequently Asked Questions for the Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity

What is the main focus of the Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity?

The Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity aims to explore the concept of identity from a Catholic perspective, helping participants understand how their faith shapes and influences who they are.

What age group is this Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity designed for?

The Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity is tailored primarily for youth, ideally suited for those in middle school and high school.

How does the Candy Identity game fit into the Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity?

The game serves as an interactive way to introduce the idea that external appearances can be misleading and to draw parallels with understanding our deeper, faith-based identity.

Will this Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity require any special materials?

Basic materials like candies for the game, pencils, and paper for writing activities are needed. The Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity also involves reading from Scripture, so access to Bibles or printed scripture passages is necessary.

Is this Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity interactive?

Yes, the Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity includes various interactive elements like games, surveys, and group discussions to engage participants actively.

How long does the Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity take to complete?

The Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity is designed to fit into a typical one hour class or group meeting, but it can be adjusted based on your time availability.

Does the Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity include a component for personal reflection?

Yes, the Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity includes an emphasis on personal reflection, especially in writing down and sharing aspects of one’s identity.

Is parental involvement encouraged in this Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity?

While the Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity is designed for independent engagement by youth, follow-up discussions with parents can enrich the experience.

How does this Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity align with Catholic teachings?

This Who Are You? Lesson Plan on Identity is closely aligned with Catholic teachings on human dignity, the communal aspect of faith, and recognizing each individual’s unique role within the Church.

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