An activity and picture book discussion illustrate the tendency for people to see differences as a reason to fight. As we see in political divisions, society can be torn apart by factions. Differences provide an opportunity to be curious about someone else. Factions may also have a positive side when like-minded people collaborate to accomplish something difficult.
The learner will:
- define and identify a current example of "factions."
- cite problems/dangers of "factional fighting."
- describe one benefit of "factional" activities.
- read-aloud copy of The Butter Battle Book, by Dr. Suess
- projected copy of the lyrics to "One Tin Soldier" and audio
- teacher copy of handout Dividing into Groups
Find an online article that describes factional activities. This may be easy to find along political lines. Also, the 2020 COVID-19 quarantine created factions.
- Dr. Seuss, Theodore Seuss Geisel. The Butter Battle Book. Econo-Clad Books, 1999. ISBN: 0881034215.
- "One Tin Soldier" available on Super Hits of the 70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 7. Catalog Number: 70927. UPC: 81227092726. Format: CD (Cassette available). Release date: April 4, 1990, Rhino Records.
Read The Butter Battle Book aloud, or play the song and project the lyrics of the song "One Tin Soldier." Then facilitate a discussion on the following questions:
- What happened to the community in this book?
- Why did this happen?
- What was the difference of opinion about?
- What was the result?
- How could things have gone differently?
- What does this remind you of? Discuss how politics and other divisive issues can cause people to be hateful and take sides.
Introduce the term faction (a group with a common interest that is often quarrelsome or self-seeking). Contrast this with the definition of community.
Sometimes factions form when people who share a trait, like in the Butter Battle Book, form negative feelings about people who have a different perspective in one area. Refer to the handout Dividing Into Groups to conduct an activity to explore how divisive feelings can form over trivial things.
Discuss the feelings that came up. Discuss what we can do to show curiosity in our differences instead of creating a divide.
Pair young people so they are talking with someone who made an opposite choice, such as chocolate vs vanilla. Tell them to use curiosity to learn more about the other's point of view. Example, "Tell me what you like about chocolate."
A community is a group of people with a shared interest, which seems in contrast with a faction. While factions can bring up the feeling of us vs them and make differences seem threatening, the benefits of community remind us we are all in this together, and learning from our differences makes us stronger.
Taking action for the good of all that uses diverse talents and perspectives can make members of a community feel good about themselves and their collective action. Discuss what service people do to build community, such as a community art event or a volunteer event to prepare meals for families. If we are taking action, like volunteering together with different abilities and interests, we build up good feelings. Then when a trivial difference threatens us, we can remember that we have the goodness of community bringing different people together.
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
Benchmark E.12 Identify the idea of factions in society.