For example, we all have things we have to do (such as work and chores) and things we want to do (like hanging out with friends or seeing a movie). Managing our responsibilities – our “have to dos” – makes it a lot easier to make room in schedule for our “want to dos.” Establishing a regular routine and using tools such as a calendar and a to-do list are simple and effective ways to manage our time.
Here’s how this activity works:
• Have students and mentors stand in a circle.
• Explain that you are going to gently throw a ball to someone.
• Pick someone out and ask them their name.
• Then say: “Hi Brad, my name is Laurie… here you go!”
• Laurie then throws the ball to Brad, then turns around backwards. (She is now out for the rest of the round.)
• Brad then says: “Thank you Laurie.”
• Brad then picks someone else out and asks their name.
• Brad then says: “Hi (Student’s Name), my name is Brad… here you go!”
• Brad then throws the ball to that student and turns around backwards. (He is now out for the rest of the round.)
• Continue this until the entire group has received the beach ball.
• Take the second round slow, helping the group to have a successful second round.
• Then say to the group: “Let’s see if we can do this again making sure we use the same order and using each other’s names. Remember to say the name of the person you are throwing to, and thank the person, by name, for throwing it to you.”
• Repeat the process described above, but during this round, increase the speed at which the balls are thrown.
• During this round, you want to really pick up the speed of the game. With enthusiasm, say: “I think we can do this faster!”
• After the first ball has passed through a few hands, take a second ball out by surprise, and say: “Hi Brad….” and repeat the process described above.
• By now everyone is so well trained, the second ball will automatically keep going, and there will be a detectable sense of challenge and excitement.
• After a bit, introduce a third, fourth and possibly fifth ball into the group.
• At this point the game get a little crazy and the group will lose control!
As this activity shows, setting a routine and managing to keep one ball in the air was a lot easier than trying to “wing it” and keep several balls in the air. Life is exactly the same way: Pace yourself, manage your time and establish priorities, and you won’t drop the ball on any of your “have to-dos.” Procrastinate and try to do everything at once or put your “want-to-dos” at a higher priority than your “have-to-dos,” and things will get hectic, stressful and eventually, a ball or two will get dropped.
This fun and easy exercise takes just 20 – 30 minutes. Many lessons like these that you can implement in your own classrooms and youth programs are outlined in Winning Futures’ workbooks; this one will be included in our new edition which is set to be published soon. Click on the “Purchase Books” button at left to learn more.