The Wrecking Ball Analogy
Goal: To help family members understand that their words and actions can have unseen consequences and reduce incidents of bullying.
(Side note, this lesson would be really good to teach after the lesson Teaching Temples, when you know they understand the sacredness of a temple.)
Elder Packer, in October 2000 general conference, discussed our bodies being a temple. He encourages all, especially the youth, to avoid addictions, put good things into our body, and “not to decorate our body with pictures or symbols that will never wash off or to pierce your body with rings or jewelry after the manner of the world.”
He continues to state that “you would not paint a temple with dark pictures or symbols or graffiti or even initials. Do not do so with your body. ‘Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Cor. 6: 19)’”
Just as Pres Packer advises us to treat our own bodies as a clean temple, we need to respect other people and treat them and their bodies as a temple.
You can read the rest of his talk at https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2000/10/ye-are-the-temple-of-god?lang=eng&media=video
Supplies: paper, crayons, push pins, cork board or other that you can push pins into, picture of a temple OR print a Figure and Temple picture here.
With paper and crayons, ask your family to draw a picture of someone they strongly dislike. Don’t allow them to take too long or go into detail. Alternatively (for younger kids especially) draw a figure or print the attached person and leave the figure unambiguous.
Without your children seeing, put the pictures on a board with a picture of a temple placed behind them. One at a time, let the children push pins into the picture of the person on the front, describing something negative that it could represent. (You can use one pin and take it out after each hole or you can leave several up for visual affect). For example, a pin on the arm could represent a pinch, a pin in the leg could represent kicking and a pin on the head could represent mean words. Depending on how many people are participating in the activity, rotate through until you have placed a significant number of pins.
Leave the board up, still hiding the temple picture, until after teaching the lesson.
Tell your family the Wrecking Ball Analogy.
One time, a young boy was upset. So he went to the temple and threw a handful of mud on it. Later he was angry so he went to the temple and tossed a rock. It hit a window, shattering it. Later the boy got even more upset and he took a baseball bat and started hitting the temple, denting the walls. Another child, a little girl, decided she was upset as well. So she took buckets of oil and dumped them inside the temple, all over the floors. Later she was angry and took markers and wrote all over the walls of the temple. Eventually, one of the children got a wrecking ball, drove it to the temple and began knocking it down. (Expand this analogy to address specific issues you might be dealing with).
What do you think this temple looked like? How do you think this temple felt, having broken and dented windows and walls, with marker and oil all over inside it? Would you treat a temple this way?
Ask your family if they understand that our bodies are temples. How should we treat our own bodies? (Answers should include eating healthy food, exercising, and not getting tattoos or piercings. Answers may vary according to your own family standards).
Ask your family if they understand that everyone’s body is a temple. How should we treat other people?
Begin explaining the Wrecking Ball Analogy. The angry children represent your individual family members and the temple represents their friends, family, and other people they may not even know. Explain that as they use mean words it is like throwing mud at the temple wall. Pinching someone might be like using a baseball bat. Pouring oil and drawing on the walls of the temple might be like yelling mean things and telling them bad things. Finally, explain that as the little boy and girl in the story got the wrecking ball to knock down the temple, it was like the children beginning to hit and kick and being physically violent against another person.
Take the picture down that your family pushed the pins into. Show them the temple underneath and let them think a moment about how their words and actions affect people.
Ask one of your family members to fix the holes. You can let them actually try taping holes up or they can just offer suggestions of how to fix the paper. Explain that once you start hurting other people, it becomes very hard to fix their temples on your own.
Challenge your family to remember that how we treat other people can have unseen consequences. Mean words and using our hands and feet in violent ways begins to hurt their temples. Ask them to brainstorm ways they can remember to treat other people’s bodies like a temple. Throughout the week, help them remember that we need to treat each other with love and kindness to respect each other’s temples.
Another good resource for discussing abuse and contention is
The Tongue of Angels by Jeffry R Holland https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/04/the-tongue-of-angels?lang=eng