Walk a Mile in My Shoes
For this exercise, everyone needs to remove their shoes or bring a pair of their own shoes if they aren’t wearing any. Put all the shoes in a pile and let each family member pick a pair of someone else’s shoes. Have each person try to wear the shoes they have chosen. For small children, a parent’s shoe might be sloppy big. If a parent tries to wear a much smaller shoe, it may only fit on their big toe. It doesn’t matter how well they fit. Each family member can now quiz the others on how it feels to be “in their shoes”. Begin with the person who is wearing your shoes and ask them a question that starts “How do you think I felt when…?”. For instance, when an older sibling gets to stay out later than you or a younger sibling doesn’t have as many chores.
To process this activity, ask these or similar questions:
- Was it fun to think about wearing someone else’s shoes?
- Was it hard to think of questions to ask someone else about how you feel?
- Was it hard to answer questions about how someone else feels about something?
- Do you feel more understood now?
- Do you understand the others better?
- The next time you are confused about someone else’s response, will you think of the shoes and try to determine how they are feeling or simply ask questions to gain understanding?