Sharing what it’s like to be young
We live in uncertain times of extremes, polarisation and fragmentation. People need each other more than ever. We have to learn to live and work together, in mutual trust and solidarity. Youth is a phase in which people are receptive and vulnerable, emotionally and mentally. There is so much growth and development going on. This lifemap scenario is meant for generational groups to reflect in an intuitive way how life is/was for them, in their youth. The landscapes, stickers and symbols inspire them to create an image of their youth on the poster. The poster becomes a temporary homebase, from which they tell each other their stories, while the others listen, with full attention. The aim of this scenario is to create a safe space for all involved, in which they feel welcome and appreciated.
The image shows the lifemap building blocks
A lifemap scenario and workshop for a self-chosen group of four people of the same generation. Each group member works with the lifemap building blocks shown in the image: the being young stickers, which are an extended version of the life stickers, a landscape poster and being young symbols.
The overarching goal for this scenario
The overarching goal for this scenario is to offer a care-ful approach for young adults to acknowledge and empower each other and for older generations a way to reflect and a basis to recalibrate.
Visualising your youth and finding out about your generation
Every group member in a workshop fills in their own poster. The life stickers contain a broad collection of life themes. The intention for them is to represent life as a whole, when you are/were young. The symbols add a personal touch to your poster and help to immerse yourself in the lifemapping process. The landscapes on the poster evoke thoughts, emotions, moods, beliefs, desires. Walking through them, you’ll find the environments that mirror and match the key life themes you have selected. You will go on an intuitive journey through your youth.
When you are young, you are open and sensitive. You depend on others for care and support. During the mapping process you will re-live difficult and easy, sad and joyful, heavy and light moments, and look back at peaceful as well as stormy life conditions. In the process you’ll reflect about yourself and about the influence of people and events on you.
Children are unique and they are individuals, from the moment they are born. When you are an adult you bear responsibility to support, protect and empower them. Nonetheless, like many others you probably have made mistakes or did things which you regret, while raising your children or dealing with young people. But, this lifemap scenario is not about failure and guilt, it brings you back to the time when you were young – with the invitation to remember the essence of your experiences and to focus on how you have developed yourself, disregarding what others and society might have done to you.
What does it mean to share your personal story with others? The lifemap workform provides a sense of safety and security. No intimate details are shown on the poster, since the text stickers are at a conceptual level. Nobody can guess what you meant by your choice of landscapes. Telling your story is made easy, because you can simply go through the life themes on the poster and use the chosen landscapes to elaborate on them. You don’t have to think up anything else or prepare for it. When you actually tell your story it will come naturally. You will experience how extra-ordinary it feels, when other people listen to you without interruption or discussion, paying you their full attention.
Working with this lifemap scenario you will experience what it means to be in a space in which each person can be fully present, feel welcome and appreciated. And how this creates a foundation for mutual trust. Although the storytelling and deep listening can take up the whole programme, a dialogue can be added in which group members share their observations at a generational level and explore the characteristics of their generation together.
Symbols are added to personalise the poster
Every workshop programme is tailored for a certain group. A workshop can be hosted by or co-hosted with someone who is profoundly familiar with what it means to be young, from life experience or from their own work. A workshop programme starts with the individual exploration of the landscape poster and the personalisation of the poster with the symbol stickers. A Zoom call follows with a short group introduction and questions and aswers about the poster, the process and how to choose text stickers. In a second round of individual work, people fill in the poster with text stickers. It is important, that they get enough time to do this, typically 2+ hours, to fully immerse in the process and create a filled-in poster that gives them a sense of completion. The next programme round is all about storytelling and listening to the stories told by others. This can take 2 to 3 hours. There is no discussion, only encouragement and questions for the purpose of clarification. The last round is a group dialogue on Zoom, e.g. around the question: From our own experience, what can we say about our generation?
Personal safety and privacy
How the built-in lifemap process facilitates a safe environment for sharing and how personal information is protected during the workshop and in the presentation of the harvest will be discussed elaborately, in advance.