My Life Story So Far

Lesson powerpoint here

1. Who am I?

  • Play ‘The Rouge Test’ clip. This video looks at the moment a young child realises that they are an individual, a self, a unique person.
  • Discuss the idea of being ‘the central character in your own drama’ and ask students to think about their drama (life) so far. Give students the A3 sheet that helps them map out the sense of their own identity by looking at several areas of their lives. It is double-sided. Ask them to take time individually to work through the different sections.

2. Where might my life go?

  • Play clip from ‘Up’  (4 minutes) and the John Lewis advert (1 minute 29 seconds).
  • Ask students to think about where they think their life might take them. Of course, they may have no idea, which is fine. Ask them to discuss, in small groups, where they imagine their life taking them. What would they like to accomplish? Who would they like to become? What do they want to avoid?

3. The life tasks.

  • Give students the info on ‘the life tasks’. Ask them in pairs or threes to identify people they know who are at each stage of this development. What are these people like? What can they learn from their experiences? As George Vaillant (psychologist) says, “if you see footprints across a minefield, step in them.”

4. Memento Mori (remember that you will die) and Meaning.

  • One technique that has been suggested to help us avoid wasting our lives and also, to give our lives more meaning, is the ancient Stoic reminder ‘Memento Mori’: remember that you must die. There are some quotes about this on the lesson powerpoint.
  • Ask students to discuss in small groups what they think about this idea. Would regularly reminding ourselves of our own mortality have a positive impact on the way that we live our lives? What problems might we encounter with ‘Memento Mori’? There are questions on the powerpoint.
  • Ask students to read the extract from The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman here.
  • Ask them to discuss whether or not they agree with the arguments that he puts forward for finding more meaning in life. Do any of them know anyone who has confronted death through serious illness, accident or daredevil activities, who has emerged with a more meaningful outlook on what matters in life and who has also changed the way they live?