Read the story of Samson in Judges 14-16, and try to determine the events that relate to the Five Stages of Escalating Conflict. When you think you have them all identified (hint: some occur multiple times), draw a graph on a flip chart, and label it with these events to show the Five Stages.
- Conditions for conflict exist, but neither party has acted on them.
- One side may even be unaware of the potential conflict even though the other side is resentful.
- A triggering event (or events) leads to escalation of the conflict by adding fuel to the fire.
- Intensified behaviors include demands, threats, ultimatums and open expressions of hostility.
- Polarization occurs as people pick sides.
- Opponents are dehumanized to make it easier to see them as the enemy, and selective perception filters out evidence that might justify opponents’ behaviors.
- Fighting generates new grievances, sometimes becoming new triggering events.
- Goals often change as initial solutions no longer satisfy.
- Unresolved old issues are revived.
- Sides “dig in” for prolonged conflict.
- Compromise seen as a sign of weakness.
- Stalemate occurs as sides run out of resources, support or energy to continue.
- Realization occurs that cost of conflict outweighs benefits of winning.
- One side achieves a lasting victory.
This fun icebreaker can be an energizing way to get participants going, or you can use it to select people for certain activities. It’s the familiar game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with a few twists. This game is not played with just the hands – it’s a full-body activity. And instead of using Rock, Paper and Scissors, participants act out Samson, Delilah and the Lion.
Judges 13-16 (but particularly 14:5-6 and chapter 16)
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “Who knows how to play ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors?’” (Even if some people know, you will need to give the full instructions if anyone is unfamiliar with the rules.)
- “’Rock, Paper, Scissors’ is a fun game of competition.”
- “Here’s how it works: two people compete to see who can beat the other.”
- “After counting to three, each person chooses either ‘rock,’ ‘paper’ or ‘scissors.’”
- “If both players choose the same thing, it’s a tie.”
- “If players choose differently, then ‘rock’ beats ‘scissors,’ because a rock could break a pair of scissors.”
- “’Scissors’ beats ‘paper,’ because a pair of scissors could cut the paper.”
- “’Paper’ beats ‘rock,’ because a piece of paper could cover a rock.”
- “Does that make sense to everyone?”
- “’Rock’ beats ‘scissors;’ ‘scissors’ beats ‘paper;’ ‘paper’ beats ‘rock.’” (If you need to, show them how to play the game with their hands. Each player counts to three, and on “three” makes the sign for either ‘rock’ (balled fist), ‘scissors’ (separated index and middle fingers – like making “bunny ears”), or ‘paper’ (open hand). Play a few rounds.)
- “Now, I want to show you a new way to play.”
- “Instead of using just your hands, we are going to use your entire bodies, and we’re going to use it to tell part of the story of Samson.”
- “It works like this: in each round, you can choose to be Samson, Delilah or the Lion.”
- “If you are Samson, you grunt and make a ‘muscle-man’ pose like this.” (Demonstrate the pose by flexing your muscles.)
- “If you are Delilah, you say, “Oooh, la, la,” put your hands on your hips and then shake your hips back and forth.” (Demonstrate.)
- “If you are the Lion, you “ROOOOOAAAAAR!’ show your fangs and your claws.” (Demonstrate.)
- “Samson beats the Lion; the Lion beats Delilah, and Delilah beats Samson.”
- “Want to try?”
- “Okay, everyone find a partner, and stand back-to-back.”
- “I’m going to count to three.”
- “When I get to three, both of you should jump around to face the other person and make both the sound and noise for either Samson, Delilah or the Lion.”
- “ONE – TWO – THREE!” (Do one or two rounds to make sure they get it. Then, start eliminating players that lose. If two players tie (choose the same strategy), both are out. This will make sure that you always have an even number of people. If you start with an uneven number of people, you can join the game until you are eliminated.)