21. Think twice before asking for favors

"I don't mean that there should be no place for favors in our lives.  What I do suggest is that we always consider trying first to be the solvers of our own problems."  --Dr. Forni



  1. In a group, give each student a balloon.  Ask each student to toss his balloon into the air and keep it from touching the ground for 60 seconds.  Then, ask one student to keep all the balloons in the air for 60 seconds.  Have students take turns being the one person to keep all the balloons in the air.  Was it easier for everyone to keep their own balloons in the air or for one person to keep everyone's balloons in the ari?  Why?  How did if feel different keeping your own balloon in the air versus keeping everyone's balloons in the air?   Was any one person better at keeping all the balloons in the air than any other single person?  If so, what did that person need to do in order to keep all those balloons in the air?  Now, think of the balloons as tasks or favors. 
  2. Ask your group to get into a circle.  Give one student a koosh ball or bean bag.  Instruct the group to keep the ball moving.  You may not give the ball to either of the people next to you, and you many not hold onto the ball for more than five seconds.  As the game gets underway, add additional balls to the circle.  The game continues until the group is overwhelmed by balls.  After the game, discuss  how you were able to keep the ball(s) moving?  How many balls were too many balls?  Now think of the balls as favors. 
  3. Play Clothespin Tag.  Each player is given three to four clothespins.  Players should pin the clothespins to their sleeves.  The object of the game is to snatch as many clothespins from other players and pin them to your own sleeves as possible.  The game ends when one player has all the clothespins, or when everyone is exhausted, whichever comes first.  Think of the clothespins as the things it take to do a favor--time, effort, money, etc.  Each time you ask someone to do a favor, you are really snatching their clothespins.   (Best New Games)


Discussion questions:

  1. What questions should you consider before you ask for a favor?
  2. Is it always wrong to ask for favors?  Why?
  3. How does thinking twice before asking favors help us to be more civil?