Herd Mentality (game+lesson)

HERD MENTALITY is a super fun game for groups of 4+. I learned about this game hanging out with some friends one night and used it the following Sunday at Youth Group as our lesson. Here’s the game/lesson plan!

Materials Needed: the actual game (cheapest place I found it was Target), OR a Dry erase board/marker for each person OR have lots of scrap paper & pencil for each person. The game uses a cute lil squishy pink cow; if you don’t have the game, use a funky hat or scarf

Game Play: Read the category aloud. Each participant secretly writes their answer (the actual game rules say, “if someone is taking too long to write their answer, the other players may “moo” at them, to moooove them to play faster” – the point here is, this part shouldn’t take long). Have each participant share their answer aloud. Whatever answer is shared the most gets a point! (example: favorite color – blue, purple, blue, red, orange, pink, blue, blue; whomever put “blue” wins a point!). If there is only one unique answer, that person gets the pink cow – as long as you have the cow you cannot win. (example: favorite color – blue, blue, blue, pink, blue, blue, blue; whomever put “pink” gets the cow). Play til one player gets ten points or until the energy for the game is done.

Possible Categories:
-best subject in school
-worst fast food place
-name a vegetable beginning with the letter C
-name a food you don’t have to chew
-what’s the largest thing you can think of
-who is the best Disney princess
-which superhero is the strongest
-which of Jesus’ miracles do you wish you could perform?
-name a book of the Bible
-what is the best way to cook an egg
-what’s the most used app on a phone?
-what’s the biggest animal you can pick up?
-name a sport with a ball
-what’s better, country music, rap music, or pop music?
-how many seconds after dropping something on the floor is it ok to eat it?
-how many times a day do you go to the bathroom?
-would you rather drive a pickup truck, a tesla, or a kia?
-what’s the best color ever?
-how many times a week do you shower?
-name a woman from the Bible
-name a member of the nativity
-name a Taylor swift song

Note: These first few questions are meant to get the youth to process the experience out loud. Encourage various answers and reframing/putting into their own words. Keep this part light and use it as a transitional discussion time from the hype of the game to the more meaningful application of lessons learned from the game.

1) What was the goal of this game? (accept all answers, reframing their answers as is helpful; some answers may include: to share your opinion; to fit in with other people; to think about what others might put and put that as the answer to the question; to write an answer that fits the category)

2) What were you not supposed to do in this game? (accept all answers, reframing their answers as is helpful; some may include: to share your opinion; to be unique; to have an answer that’s different than the other players; to copy someone’s answer; to let other people know what you’re putting as your answer)

3) What lessons could someone take from this game? (For each lesson shared, ask, “Do you agree or disagree with that lesson? And why?” invite others to agree/disagree and share their reasoning.)  Note: this is a helpful reflection tool as it teaches critical thinking, engages the participant’s value system, and it practices respectful dialogue and engaging disagreements in a non-threatening environment. Teaching youth to be able to disagree openly and stay respectful is a helpful tool. Note: you may help them with naming the lesson learned, but engage them in the “do you agree/disagree & why” part.

(accept all answers, reframing their answers as is helpful; some may include: 

-Don’t be unique. (in the game unique answers don’t win points; in the game, if you’re the only unique answer, you get the pink cow and cannot win.) possible agree/disagree statements: I disagree with that lesson because I think it’s good to be unique. I agree with that lesson because if you stand out then people will be more apt to pick on you. 

-It’s good/best to be like other people and fit in. (in the game, you are rewarded with a point if you match other people’s answers. The most popular answer wins.) possible agree/disagree statements: I agree with that lesson because it’s easier to get through life if you don’t stand out. I disagree with that lesson because I like standing out. 

-It’s good to put yourself in other people’s shoes. (Instead of putting down what you think the best answer is, in order to get a point, you need to think about what other people are going to put down. Like, putting yourself in other people’s shoes.) possible agree/disagree statements: I agree with this lesson because if you try to understand where someone else is coming from then it might help you show compassion/empathy. 

4) We shared the lessons and what WE think about them – I wonder what God thinks about these lessons? (Note: leave open space here for the participants to consider this question. Some other ways to explore this is, what do we know about God and what God thinks of us? Is there anywhere in scripture that speaks to each of these lessons (our uniqueness, imagining what others are going through, being like other people or standing out, etc.)? We do not know for sure what God thinks, but we can look to Scripture and to the teachings of the church (Tradition); to our own Experience, and to Reason (if, then statements, such as IF scripture teaches us that God loves and cares for each person, THEN God must appreciate our uniqueness).

Scriptures to reference may include:

Romans 12:2 (do not conform) – encourages uniqueness and following the Holy Spirit rather than going along with what others want

Psalm 139 (uniquely and wonderfully made) – points out how God made each of us unique and loves each of us

Ephesians 4 & Romans 12:16 (live in harmony with one another) – highlights how we are all one in Christ Jesus – we all belong to God, and we are all unique at the same time; we are to get along with each other and not think of ourselves as better than others

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