It is an exercise that I assign to my students in order to learn from them. It’s a great activity, and I have made literally hundreds of students do it. I remember many of them, and they’re pretty easy to facilitate. Basically, a student will take students from the class and have them play their family members – and they sculpt their family using the students from the class in a way that represents their perspective of their family when they were 10 years old.
I am currently teaching a course where I have assigned this exercise. I showed them my family sculpture – of my in-laws. It was rather fascinating. I chose my wife’s family because I have a new niece that has become the center of the family, and I wanted to see how I would set it up in light of my new niece.
Typically, I warn my students about a few things. One, that they will communicate information about themselves and their families, but inevitably, they also communicate information that they don’t intend. Two, that as we make observations, we will make correct ones, and some that are way far off, but it’s not always easy to hear. Three, the emotions that you experience during the exercise is part of the learning.
I did mine today. I was blown away by the emotions and the thoughts that I experienced during the exercise. I learned about myself and my family. I have former students that came to class today that wanted to do theirs again.
How well do you know how you think about your family?