Equipping Youth

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Powerful Choices Series 3 is recommended for grades 7 thru 12.
The 10 lessons of Series 3 builds upon the lessons taught in Series 2. Students learn to recognize high-risk situations involved with dating, alcohol and drugs. They develop plans for positive futures by setting personal goals and boundaries in their lives.

Wisdom

Awareness

Friendship

Control

Courage

Knowledge

Boundaries

Excellence

Ambition

Success

 

Wisdom, as taught in the Powerful Choices: Commitment curriculum, is needed for an individual to enjoy a full, healthy life. Wisdom is essential for making wise decisions. Students must be able to weigh risks and consequences when making choices. Commitment is also essential during the decision-making process. Once a student is able to identify potential consequences involved with a choice, he or she needs to recognize the level of commitment that come with his or her decision. Understanding what commitment means and how it affects one’s life can help students make healthy, positive choices.

LESSON:

Through a review of the previous year’s lesson and an interactive introduction to the concept of commitment, students will understand how the choices they make now can affect the rest of their lives. Students will take part in a group activity designed to engage the class in discussion about what commitment means, what it takes, and what the consequences of breaking a commitment could be.

Students will:

  • Define “commitment” and “levels of commitment”
  • Discuss the effects of breaking a commitment
  • Understand the specific national and state laws related to sexual activity, marriage, divorce, and child support

Activities:

  • Discuss course direction
  • Introduction of the Wisdom Bucket
  • Read Choose Wisdom Poster
  • Ice breaker group activity—Levels of Commitment
  • Group discussion of state and national laws
  • Worksheet homework and directions on sharing with parents

Awareness that most teens (more than 70%) choose to wait until marriage to have sexual activity establishes the norm for school aged youth and can help students to make the decision to remain abstinent. Students should be aware of the risks and consequences of sexual activity before marriage, and what premature sexual activity could potentially bring to one’s future marriage relationship.

LESSON:

Students will become aware of what they could potentially bring to a marriage relationship through activities and student-led discussion. Students will learn statistics related to how divorce, cohabitation, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases can affect a marriage. Students will also learn how abstinence increases one’s chance of having a successful, healthy, lasting marriage and the benefits of such a relationship. Students will gain an understanding that a commitment to ones family values shows respect and caring for those relationships.

Students will:

  • Discuss the risks that come with premature sexual activity
  • Learn the benefits of abstinence until marriage
  • Discuss secondary virginity
  • Understand how a healthy marriage can positively affect their lives

Activities:

  • Review of Choose Wisdom
  • Introduction of the object
  • Read Choose Awareness Poster
  • Activity—Unpack Your Bags
  • Discussion of divorce, family values and personal responsibility
  • Play The Phrase That Pays (optional)
  • Worksheet homework

Friendship is vital when establishing a healthy relationship. A strong foundation of shared values, goals, and interests, can help a relationship—or close friendship—grow and stand the test of time. During the teenage years, it is important for youth to understand what is most important to them, and to look for friends who will support them and build them up in a positive manner.

LESSON:

Students will begin to identify what qualities are most important to them in a friendship, a romantic relationship, and in a marriage relationship. Students will understand that it is important to have a strong foundation built of trust and shared values in order to have a successful marriage. Students will briefly discuss divorce, while keeping the focus of the lesson on the positive attributes of a lasting marriage relationship.

Students will:

  • Review the Choose Friendship Chart of levels relationships
  • Discover what qualities are most important to them in a future spouse
  • Understand the importance of establishing a strong foundation in relationships
  • Briefly discuss divorce
  • Understand why abstinence until marriage can help build a strong foundation

Activities:

  • Review of Choose Wisdom and Choose Awareness lessons
  • Re-introduce The Friendship Chart
  • Group discussion: What does it take to have a healthy friendship?
  • Individual worksheet: Qualities I Want in a Friend in Marriage
  • Group discussion: First impression versus lasting qualities
  • Group activity: Toothpick Tower
  • Group discussion: Building a strong foundation
  • Worksheet for homework

Control – Self control is compromised when one is under the influence of drugs, alcohol or other substances. As a result, an individual’s ability to make decisions is impaired. It’s important to understand that substance abuse affects an entire person – brain, body, and emotions. When a person chooses to remain in control by avoiding use of substances, they are protecting themselves, also protecting their future relationships and the people currently in their lives.

LESSON:

Students will add to their understanding of how participation in substance abuse and other addictive behaviors can affect their own lives and the lives of their friends and families.

Students will:

  • Review how substance use affects decision making ability
  • Understand varying risks of substance abuse and addiction due to family history
  • Learn the difference between substance use, substance abuse, and addiction
  • Understand how one can quickly move from substance use to addiction
  • Carry the concept of addiction over from drugs to other behaviors, such as pornography
  • Understand the damage that addiction does to relationships

Activities:

  • Review previous lessons
  • Activity: Trigger Level
  • Introduce Cycle of Addiction chart and discuss differences
  • Discuss the connection between brain development and risk of addiction
  • Worksheet – What’s Most Important to Me?
  • Worksheet homework and Journal

Courage becomes more important as students start to identify who they are and what they want for their lives. Today’s children are subjected to many outside influences—magazines, television, movies, internet, peers, etc. It can become difficult for youth to distinguish between positive and negative influences. Having courage means being assertive and standing up for your beliefs.

LESSON:

Through an interactive talk-show-like setting, students will learn to identify potential sexual con games, and how to resist them. Students will understand the benefits of being assertive while resisting pressure. Students will learn not only how to resist con games, but how to recognize if they have been a con themselves, and how to break free from that cycle.

Students will:

  • Learn to identify five sexual con games
  • Understand how to resist sexual pressures
  • Learn how to identify qualities in themselves that they may want to change

Activities:

  • Review of previous lessons and posters
  • Group discussion: Five Sexual Con Games
  • Group activity: Talk Show
  • Worksheet for homework

Knowledge

Abstinence from sexual activity until marriage is the only sure way to prevent STDs and pregnancy.

Character Trait:

Compassion and Confidentiality are important when dealing with peers and family members who are suffering negative consequences from sexual activity. A compassionate and confidential friend will listen to another’s heartache, not pass judgment, and not tell others about it. For many people, emotional and physical pain may result from acquiring a sexually transmitted disease before or after marriage from their infected partner. It’s important to have compassion for others while understanding how to avoid the same pain by abstaining from sex before marriage. By practicing compassion and confidentiality, the importance of making and keeping boundaries can be shared.

Lesson:

By discussing the most recent medically accurate information concerning common STDs, youth will gain an understanding of the possible emotional, psychological, and health risks of being sexually active. The students will be given an opportunity to discuss their concerns and questions with a medical professional that is invited as a guest to teach this class. Students will understand the importance of maintaining personal sexual activity boundaries.

Students will:

  • Identify the most common STDs and gain an understanding of the potential of infection even when protection is used.
  • Understand that teens increase their potential of infection by an STD with each additional sexual partner
  • Understand the methods of contracting and the reasons for the epidemic of STDs among teens
  • Consider the research showing the failure rates of the most commonly used birth control methods among teens
  • Define “compassion” and “confidential” and discuss how to develop these character traits

Activities: (these include review of the previous lesson and this lesson’s poster)

  • PowerPoint: Teens and the STD Epidemic followed by group discussion
  • Activity Changing Partners Game simulating exposure to disease through sexual contact with multiple partners
  • PowerPoint: Common Contraceptive Methods: their Failure Rates among Teens
  • Question and answer session with the medical expert
  • Discuss how to use the Sexual Exposure Chart brochure for showing the rate of STD exposure with multiple partners to their family and peers
  • Assignments

Boundaries

Self discipline through personal boundaries will enable you to achieve your goals.

Self discipline can be difficult when faced with pressures and temptations. By recognizing and setting boundaries, students can have a plan in place to achieve their goals. Understanding how their brains are developing and working can assist youth in setting and keeping their boundaries.

LESSON:

Students will learn how their brain development affects their decision-making ability, and how to set and keep boundaries for themselves.

Students will:

  • Learn about brain development
  • Understand the difference between physical, cognitive, and mental maturity
  • Develop an action plan for keeping their boundaries

Activities:

  • Review of previous lessons and posters
  • Group discussion: Brain development and decision making
  • Group activity: What Would You Do?
  • Worksheet for homework

Excellence is about choosing to be the best one can be in all situations. By choosing excellence, students can not only help ensure their own best life outcomes, but can help influence their peers to make the best choices for their lives, as well. Students must understand that not everything in their lives is going to be easy or go the way they want, but choosing excellence will help them overcome obstacles and barriers to their goals.

LESSON:

Engaging in an interactive activity, students will understand that even while things outside of their control can affect their lives, it is still possible to achieve excellence.

Students will:

  • Learn how their choices can affect the lives of others
  • Learn how to overcome obstacles in their lives
  • Understand how to make difficult decisions

Activities:

  • Review of previous lessons and posters
  • Group activity: Making Choices
  • Worksheet for homework

Ambition is a strong desire to achieve something. It’s fueled by knowing what you value and what to do to get it. Our ambitions help us seek people with similar values to help us build strong foundations for success in our relationships.

LESSON:

Students will define ambition and brainstorm ways we use it in our lives. In regards to personal relationships students will learn the concept of investing into other people the same positive qualities we wish to have returned from them in our relationships. Examples include time, trust, honesty and respect.

Students will:

  • Connect ambition in education, career, etc. to the same type of goal-setting in relationships
  • Understand the concept of making investments – putting effort in, expecting to receive a return
  • Understand that when we invest/deposit positive qualities into relationships with other people, we are more likely to receive the same back in return.
  • Identify the benefits of investing into relationships, “depositing” positive things into someone, and the harm done by “withdrawing” negative things from them.

Activities:

  • Review  previous lessons and posters
  • Group activity: Relationship Values Auction
  • Introduction of the “Love Bank,” an illustration of how we invest into a relationship with another person, making deposits and withdrawals.
  • Discuss the possibility of becoming overdrawn and bankrupt when relationships don’t have mutual investment by both parties, and the damage that does to one in the present and in future relationships.
  • Investments/Returns worksheet

Success

The commitment to abstinence-until-marriage gives you freedom to enjoy a healthy future.

CHARACTER TRAIT:

Commitment is necessary to be successful at anything, whether it is in school, at a job, at a sport, or in a relationship. As students start to make decisions that can affect their future, they learn to understand that being committed to something is valuable. Breaking one’s commitment, however, can have negative consequences. Learning what one needs to feel valued and appreciated is an important part of commitment, and can help students understand how to do the same for others.

LESSON:

Students will discuss what commitment means, how to stay committed, and the benefits of commitment.

Students will:

  • Revisit brain development and oxytocin
  • Learn about the Five Love Languages
  • Understand how to apply commitment in their lives

Activities:

  • Student-led review of Wisdom Bucket and previous lessons
  • Group demonstration: Pair Bonding
  • Group activity: Love Languages
  • Abstinence Pledge cards
  • Evaluations

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