Good Voices & Bad Voices

The most successful part of yesterday’s class was our discussion of which voices we should listen to in order to shape a good conscience and which voices we need to avoid or “erase” in order to avoid temptation.

First, I brought in a mini-cassette recorder and passed it around so that each child could say something which they really enjoyed. I played it back and they all got a kick out of listening to themselves and one another. I talked about how our conscience can be compared to that tape recorder. There are some good voices that we need to keep and some bad voices that we need to erase. I invited them to brainstorm a list of good voices and here’s what they came up with:

  • parents, grandparents, relatives
  • teachers
  • God, Jesus, Holy Spirit
  • Mary
  • the saints
  • catechists
  • priests
  • the Bible and the Church
  • some friends

Then, we brainstormed “bad” voices:

  • gang members
  • strangers
  • some friends and classmates
  • troublemakers
  • bullies
  • some Internet sites
  • some music
  • some TV shows

I felt like this was a very fruitful discussion and that they did a great job of identifying influences in our lives, both positive and negative, and how we need to form our consciences in order to make good choices in life. I shared a couple of real life stories from my own childhood, living in a neighborhood with gangs and watching as one of my best friends in grade school shoplifted from a store. They are fascinated by these real life stories and can see that when I was their age, I faced these very real problems and temptations.

I thought it was a very productive class and I’ll share more in the days to come.

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at


  1. Yes, the kids really are fascinated when we share stories about our own lives. I shared about how my son who worked at Old Navy watched while a woman shoplifted. The kids love to hear stories from real life that relate to our lesson.

  2. Joe,
    Thank you for sharing, as it happens that was our lesson for the day, so it came in handy. I showed the video and then we had a very good discussion, we even went as far as video taping their voices. I also played the song for them and one my students said ooh I need to memorize that song for tomorrow’s class, thank you.

    Thanks so much! God Bless

  3. Joe,

    I use it when I discuss with my high schoolers the voices that surround us offering encouragement or discouragement as we follow the path of Jesus.

    The Song draws parallels between the stories of Peter steping out of the boat to follow Jesus and David having to face the giant, and the choices we make. One line talks of longing to have the courage of David facing the giant. (I have the students name the Giants that seem to stand in their way as well as the ways in which Jesus is calling them to step out in faith)

    It comments on the voices that tell us we “can never win” and challenges us to instead listen to the “Voice of Truth” (aka God) which tells us a “different story,” “Do not be afraid” that we can do things for God’s glory with His help.

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