SPARKLERS / Being ourselves

Got your back

An activity to help Year 7 and 8 tamariki reflect on the people who are there for them, and the different roles they can play
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ACTIVITY TYPE:

Print me

You will need to print each student one of the Got Your Back worksheets.

Why we love it

Connecting with others is a fundamental human need – we all need people in our lives we care about, who care about us too. When we feel connected to others it makes us, and the people we connect to, feel good.

We recommend doing this and our Being a first rate mate follow-up activities perhaps twice a year as tamariki develop new friendships and begin the transition to their final year at primary school, or first year at high school.

Tikanga Tips

Māori tamariki may refer to ‘friends’ as extended family or whānau – friends may be referred to as ‘sisters’ or ‘brothers’. The names don’t matter at all – this activity can include family and whānau relationships based on aroha, manaakitanga and tautoko.

Kōrero

We suggest warming up to this with our Sparklers trust activities, including Up and down and Compliment tag. It may also be useful to have completed our Discover your strengths activity.

Explain that you’re going to talk about friendships. While we all think we know what friendship means and who our friends are, it’s worth exploring a bit further. This is an opportunity to think about our friendships, and who we are as a friend.

Let students know that friends don’t have to be classmates, they may be cool adults – parents, aunties, grandparents, cousins, or people in your outer school circle – in your sports team, church, neighbours who don’t go to this school, cousins etc.

You might also advise tamariki not to mention names during this activity. Give an example of the complexities - imagine you name someone as your best friend and that person names someone different. Also, some of us find talking about friendships easy, while others don’t. Naming (or not naming) people in this activity may be hurtful, even unintentionally, so it’s best avoided.

Ask the students the following questions and write their responses up:

  • What sorts of things makes a good friend?
  • What do the people who care about us do?
  • How do we know they’ve ‘got our back’?
  • What don’t they do?

But the thing friends do, is make us feel good. Friends look out for us, they are safe. They’ve got your back.

It can help when we have problems to think about our friends and whānau as a ‘circle of friends’ or ‘constellation of friends’, or ‘gathering your team’.

What to do

Dream car, dream team!

Give each student a Got Your Back (car) worksheet.

Let tamariki know that they’re going to think about the different types of friendships as a car metaphor. Ask tamariki what they think this might mean.

Tell students to pretend this is their dream car - the one they’ve always wanted! Each part of the car is like a friend, helping them out along the way.

Their job now is to work through the strengths of each part of their car, as if they were a friend. If you have already completed the Strengths Cards activity tamariki may like to draw on these to help them.

We’ve provided some examples of what each part of the car may represent in terms of friendships, but we have no doubt your tamariki will have their own creative ideas!

So if we think of the parts of a car as friends – what different qualities would they have?

  • Engine or motor – maybe someone that’s motivating or that you just couldn’t do without.
  • Headlights: Someone bright and illuminating, who helps us find our way.
  • Boot – acts as a hold-all, holds everything you throw at it (them), no matter what, they’ll help you carry the load.
  • Petrol – gives you energy, fills you up, makes you feel good.
  • Glove Box: Someone you can tell anything, because they keep your personal stuff secret and don't judge

Explain that these car parts may be indicative of some of their ‘best’ friendships. But there are other types of friendships too – they may have different qualities, but are still friendships.

An example is, they may be a friend they wouldn’t tell the private stuff to, but is great at making them laugh… Different friendships have different strengths.

Some examples of these might be:

  • Stereo – they’re great entertainment and make you laugh.
  • Seat warmer (told you this was your dream car!) – great occasionally and really comforting.
  • Spare tyre –handy, especially in tricky situations like when there’s a problem you need to work through. Can call upon them when you need them.
  • Seat belt – great at making safe choices, offers comfort – always does the right thing.

Tamariki can add other car components if they want or need to, describing different friends they’d like.

Learnings

What does this car activity show us? It shows that friends don’t always come as a ‘package deal’. We can’t expect one friend to fulfil every need we have, and the good news is, they don’t need to.

Ask students to look at their car and think about who’s there for them and has got their back? Remind them not to say names!

Discuss the sort of person they might go to if:

  • You need to talk about a worry you have? – e.g. going to high school soon.
  • You feel low and just need a good laugh?
  • You need to get into training for a new sport and want a training buddy?
  • You think of a great adventure you’d like to go on, and need someone to help convince others to come along with you?
  • You need help with maths homework, but it’s embarrassing, as everyone else just seems to understand it.
  • You’re feeling unsure about your changing body and wanted to check something out.

You may like to add to this kōrero by asking –

  • Do friends need to be like you?
  • Do your friends need to be like each other?
  • Do your friends need to even like each other?
  • This is a good chance to cover talking about one friend to another and what that can do to friendship/other person (breaks trust and feels hurtful, because the other person nearly always finds out). What’s a better approach?

We don’t have to always agree with or like everything about a friend! E.g. as adults we might discover our friends vote for different political parties than us. It can come as a surprise, but they still have all the qualities we like about them.

Let tamariki know we’re not always good at friendships – we have to practice being a good friend ourselves and learn from our mistakes.

Allow them to kōrero about their dream team (without using names). How do they feel about different people being able to help with different things?

What Next?

Help tamariki identify a friendship habit they’d like to foster, using Being a first rate mate. This follow-up activity also features a range of friendship extensions, from how to form friendships and manage conflict, to how to be a good friend both online and to ourselves.

Thank you to ...

We’d like to thank the wonderful Tōtara teachers at Lyttelton Primary school for their creativity and wisdom. We really appreciate all of your help.

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