To understand that growing up and developing relationships take time.
Adolescence is a confusing time. Young men and women are given responsibility for some things, like preparing for work or college and getting a driver's license, but they are still considered too young to assume other adult responsibilities.
Assign students to read the play Our TOWIl, by Thornton Wilder. Read aloud Act One. Or read selected scenes, such as morning at the Gibbs' house; when Mr. Webb enters through where Emily and Mrs. Webb exit; and where Dr. Gibbs talks to Oeorge. Discuss the following:
• What kind of place is Grover's Comers?
• How do Emily and George feel about growing up?
• What kinds of responsibilities are they expected to assume?
• What attitudes are evident about people in town who use alcohol or tobacco, such as Mr. Stimson?
Read aloud Act Two or selected scenes, such as where the Stage Manager interrupts to go back in time with Emily and George through where they exit. Discuss the following:
• What does the Stage Manager mean when he says that even the little things in life are almost too exciting to bear when you're 16?
• How do Emily and George feel about his going to college'!
• What are our attitudes today about the roles men and women assume? How do they differ from those of the characters in the play?
Read aloud Act Three or selected scenes, such as where Emily returns to life when she was young. Discuss the following:
• Why does Mrs. Gibbs warn Emily against going back?
• How does Emily feel about life after she goes back?
• What do the other dead townspeople feel about life?
• What message does the play give about making the most of the positive aspects of growing up?
Our Town, by Thornton Wilder.
• This lesson could be conducted over several days, having students act out the entire play. Make sure all students participate.
• Make sure you discuss how life options for young men and women have changed.
Learning to Live Drug-Free, A Curriculum Model for Prevention, U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program