How to KNOW / RECOGNIZE if you are on The Right Path!
(Part 2 of a 2 week topic- Previous week was “Choosing The Right Path”)
What IS an Inukshuk you ask?
(Don’t worry, I will explain below)
I planned this meeting to follow my “Choosing The Right Path” meeting (with the keychains), however you could do it completely on it’s own as well. Either way, it was a great meeting with a fun activity, a bit of history, and a wonderful discussion!!! My boyfriend lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and on my first visit there years ago, I was intrigued by these rock statues all over the Vancouver area. I asked my boyfriend “What are those…what do they mean?” The answer I received was simply, ‘The natives do it…not sure why, but they are everywhere.’ A year later, the 2010 Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver and the Olympic Committee chose an Inukshuk as their logo. Finally, I decided to research and learn the reason for these rock statues…once I learned a bit about it, I decided that it would make a perfect youth group meeting/discussion!
What You’ll Need:
-Some pictures of inukshuks
-A little history of what an inukshuk is (feel free to use the below info or google/wikipedia your own)
-Some random objects for your teens to build inukshuks out of
-A camera to capture all of their completed inukshuks
How I Ran the Meeting
First, I asked if anyone knew what an Inukshuk was. (No one here did, however I live in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area…far away from Inukshuk Territory). After showing the teens a few pictures I had taken and printed out for them from my many trips to Vancouver, I asked them what they noticed in the different pictures. (Some were big Inukshuks from the top peaks of mountains, on the bay in Downtown Vancouver, and some were smaller ones which my boyfriend and I had made ourselves on the beach.) I got obvious answers like, “They’re all rocks, they are big, etc.” and a few observant teens actually said that they looked like rock people. DING, DING, DING! (;
INUKSHUK MEANS –
‘In the Likeness of a Human’
in the Inuit Language
The Inuit Tribes (First Nations) built them centuries ago in NW Canada and Alaska.
The traditional meaning of Inukshuk and signifigance to the Inuit People is-
“YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH” or “SOMEONE WAS HERE”
The Inuit People built an Inukshuk for the purpose of navigational or directional aids, or to indicate migration routes or places where fish and other food can be found. They are among the oldest and most important objects placed by humans upon the vast Arctic Landscape. An Inukshuk can be small or large, a single rock, several rocks balanced on eachother, round boulders, or flat. Each one is unique and the arrangement of the stones indicates the purpose of the marker. Often times the direction the ‘arms’ are pointing is the direction previous tribes have traveled or the direction of a passage through the mountains to a safe area or bountiful food supply.
Once I explained this, I passed around the pictures again and uncovered a table full of random objects. I asked the teens to break up into small groups of 2 or 3 or 4 (depending on size of your group) and asked them to build an Inukshuk. I explained that this would be a competition and we would be giving prizes for the ‘most humanlike’, ‘most creative’, ‘sturdiest’, ‘most likely to fall’, etc. (Whatever you can think of works…just to drum up a little healthy competition.) Below are a few examples of what I passed out to them. I have many more as I have made countless trips to Vancouver and I love photography. You could print and use these or simply google ‘inukshuk’ images and select your own.
“Bob” as my boyfriend and I called him watching the Sunset at Crescent Beach, Vancouver, BC; Canada. He is only about 8 inches high…small rocks and a small piece of driftwood.
Balanced “non humanlike” Inukshuks on the North Shore of The Stanley Park Seawall in Downtown Vancouver
Some balanced Inukshuks are simply one large rock standing alone. The rock on the right is about 2 feet tall and very heavy, yet it was balanced on it’s smallest point. Photo also taken on the North Shore of The Stanley Park Seawall in Downtown Vancouver.
Entrance to Whistler Village, Whistler, BC, Canada. Site of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Standing inside the Inukshuk on Whistler Mountain Peak in Whistler, BC, Canada. This Inukshuk was constructed for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Another Large Inukshuk Standing on Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler, BC, Canada. Photo was taken from a ski lift which is why it is a bit blurry…I was moving! (;
Whistler Peak, Whistler, BC, Canada
Another “Bob” my boyfriend and I built on another sunset stroll. This one is about a foot tall.
I gave each group 30 seconds to select objects from the table. I also told them that they could use any other ‘loose’ object in the youth room if they preferred. Here is what they came up with….
Some of the random items on the table
Paper Plates, Jenga Blocks & A Ball
A Vatican Video, Jenga Blocks, & Some Wooden Beads
Jenga Blocks, A Domino, A Popsicle Stick & A Rock Wins The Award for MOST Humanlike
Couch Cushions, A Pillow & A Swimmy Arm Inflatable Pizza Boxes & Folder Boxes
Once all the Inukshuks were built, I started the discussion. (I always save the ‘awards’ for the end of the night…after the discussion)
I told the teens how they were everywhere in Vancouver and how they were fun, challenging, and somehow peaceful to make. Then, I led the discussion with the following talking points…
-Simple Structures with a powerful meaning
-They seem so solid…do you think they ever fall? (The Inuit Tribes surely didn’t have cement 3000 years ago to keep theirs from falling apart…how did they do that?)
-The common meanings are:
You’re on The Right Path
They lead the way
Significant marker on a path
Sign of Comfort in an unforgiving climate where it looks like no one has ever been
– What signs do YOU look for to know YOU are on The Right Path?
– What markers are left for you? By whom?
– Is there some comfort in knowing someone has been there before you?
(hard time, divorced parents, death, break up, friend troubles, grades, sickness, etc.)
– What markers or signs do we leave for others so they know they’re on The Right Path?
(maybe verbal, by example, etc.)
– Has anyone lead you on The Right Path? Who? How?
– Have you lead anyone on The Right Path? Who? How?
(ties into the yellow brick road example from last week if you choose to do both meetings together)
– In early Christianity and today, what symbols were/are used? (Ichthys, Cross, etc.)
– Catholicism uses lots of symbols…different things for different sacriments, times of year, etc.
“YOU GUIDE ME ALONG THE RIGHT PATH FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR NAME.”
How It Went
My teens really enjoyed the building competition. Many were intrigued at the history and wondered how these ancient tribes were able to lift/move such heavy boulders. (Similar to Egyptian Pyramids, Stone Henge, etc.)
We had a wonderful discussion on how we might ‘know’ if we were on The Right Path. Many talked about getting ‘feedback’ or a compliment from someone. Or, feeling ‘peace’ in their hearts. We also talked about how sometimes it is easier to know you’re on the wrong path rather than know you’re on the right one. We talked about what we might be able to do to help others ‘know’ which path they were on. It was a really wonderful and thought provoking night. Many teens are familiar with what The Right Path is, however don’t often stop to reflect whether or not they are actually on it.
I had tied it into the meeting I had the previous week where we made the keychains and told them that perhaps a simple glance down at their keychain might be a good reminder, however, you could certainly do this meeting alone and it would have the same effect.
Should you choose to try this with your group, or have any questions, please leave me a comment below!!!