And Another Thing…


The First 2008 – 2009 Edumacational Interlude

School is back in session and last night was the first meeting of the only classroom course I have left, Advanced Practice. I was ambivalent going in (I didn’t even know who the instructor was) but left with more enthusiasm than I expected to muster at this point in the program. The instructor seems like a sharp cat; he is a career Army social worker, an engaging speaker, funny, self-deprecating, and he demonstrates a desire to promote active learning on our part.

Last night he broke us into groups for a “values clarification” exercise. Usually, I hate these types of things but this one was pretty good. If you are curious and/or want to try it, is below the fold.

The exercise involves listening to or reading the following story; after the story, there will be directions underneath.

Once there was a girl named Julie who fell in love with a boy named Neal. Julie and Neal lived on opposite sides of a wide river. This was never a problem until a storm wiped out the only bridge connecting their shores.

Julie quickly became lonely for Neal and went to Joe, a ferry captain who she knew would bring her across. Joe said that he would take Julie across if she would sleep with him. Appalled, Julie shouted “Never!” and left Joe’s house, slamming the door.

Julie went to Ivan and told him of her dilemma, but Ivan said that he had neither the time nor the desire to get involved and offered no help.

Weeks passed, and Julie became miserable from missing Neal. Finally, she went back to Joe and offered to sleep with him in exchange for passage. Joe agreed and they carried out the terms of their agreement.

When Julie was finally able to see Neal, she eventually told him about what she had done to obtain passage across the river. Neal was horrified, and immediately broke up with Julie.

A devastated Julie went to her only friend on Neal’s side of the river, Moe, to whom she told everything that had happened. Moe went to Neal’s home and beat him senseless. Julie watched the whole thing and laughed hysterically the entire time.

Yeah, I know it’s a weird little story. Now, order the characters from 1 to 5, with #1 being the least objectionable (or most sympathetic) and #5 being the most objectionable or least sympathetic. Leave some comments as to how you arrived at your conclusion.

There is no right or wrong order. The point of the exercise is not to critique anyone’s values; rather, it helps participants to learn about their own values and how they prioritize them.

If there are any participants, I will post my conclusions during the discussion. Have fun.


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13 Responses

  1. carl says:


    I was sympathetic with Julie until the laughing hysterical part. Makes me think she slanted her story to Moe who then went beat the crap out of Neal.

  2. Christine says:

    I have to agree with carl on the line up

  3. odgie says:

    Carl and Christine,

    It would seem that not many others place value on values clarification 🙂

    My line-up was:

    Neal – lacked compassion, but he was the one who got cheated on
    Ivan – didn’t do anything to help but also didn’t hurt anybody
    Moe – meant well but was violent and stuck his nose into something
    Julie – cheated on Neal and then took pleasure in his pain
    Joe – expolited somebody else’s need for personal gain

  4. David B says:

    None of the above. None are sympathetic. Joe exploits, Ivan does not care, Moe is a violent thug, Julie goes against principles, and Neal was a lazy bum who let this happen by not finding another way.

    Now that it’s political season, what would the candidates have done? McCain would have offered tax breaks to the ferry company and praised Joe was a ‘man who gets things done’, Obama would have had the government take over the company, and Hillary would have had her legions form a human bridge, sacrificing themselves as they increased her political profile.

  5. odgie says:

    Dave – spoken like a political science major. Even if you find all of the characters objectionable, maybe i’ve given you a good sermon illustration???

  6. Jr says:

    I shielded my eyes from seeing any other results; here are mine:
    1) Neal
    2) Ivan
    3) Moe
    4) Joe
    5) Julie

    Neal is the innocent one, and Julie showed her lack of character which justified Neal’s response to her
    Ivan is just a lazy bum.
    Moe was probably trying to stick up for a friend, but I actually had a hard time deciding between Moe and Joe for numbers 3 and 4.
    Joe is a schmuck. I imagined some schmarmy guy with hair coming out of his button-up.
    Julie is selfish. She had sex with another man for her own personal goals – though they masqueraded as a show of love for Neal. Then when Neal rejected what had happened, her heart was hard and she laughed at his pain. She probably slept with Moe after the beating too.

  7. odgie says:

    JR – “She probably slept with Moe after the beating too.” LOL!

  8. Lou says:


    Mine was the same as yours, but I struggled with the Julie/Moe order.

    Interesting exercise.

  9. Jerri Harrington says:

    5. Julie: In spite of how much she claims to love Neal, she compromised who she was and her love for Neal by sleeping with another man, and then she didn’t consider Neal’s feelings when she told him, even though she claims to love him. In addition she didn’t care if she humiliated Neal in front of his best friend by telling him she had slept with another man, AND she justified herself to the point of manipulating Moe to beat up his best friend for her. THEN she laughed at the suffering of the man she supposedly loved so much.

    4. Joe didn’t care if he destroyed two people and their love for one another…just to get sex for himself. He didn’t care about the hearts of either person or himself.

    3. Ivan-Apathy is the opposite of love.

    2. Moe beat up his best friend for ending an unhealthy relationship, so Neal was betrayed by both his best friend and his wife. ( I suspect he was manipulated into going to the defense of Julie.

    1. Neal loved Julie enough to be hurt by her infidelity, and he ended an unhealthy relationship after a trust was broken. He could have taken the high road and forgiven her, and he also could have pretended to forgive her and could have made life miserable for Julie.

    1. Neal could have taken the high road and for

  10. Andy says:

    Alright, I’ll bite. I’m not ranking Ivan though. We know nothing of his relationship to the others nor anything about why he’s to busy. He could be anywhere in the spectrum. Of the others:

    Neal — I think everyone agrees on that one

    Julie — Ok, she has the most “bad acts,” if you will, and there’s no excuse for marital infidelity. On the other hand, she was in what she considered a disparate situation and may have thought of it as making a sacrifice to get back to the one she really loved. Then she gets back, admits everything, only to get rejected. I can see where someone who went through that could go a little crazy, so to me she’s a little less loathsome than Moe or Joe.

    Moe — I don’t have much sympathy for someone who assaults someone else because of what a woman tells him.

    Joe — I don’t consider this one even close. Using a position of power to exploit someone for sex is about as low as it gets.

  11. Andy says:

    quick, superfluous correction. My statement about Julie and “marital infidelity,” isn’t exactly correct, because the facts don’t say they are married. My rankings remain the same, though.

  12. beckyreeves says:

    #1 Neal
    #2 Ivan
    #3 Moe
    #4 Joe
    #5 Julie

    I guess I’m pretty hard on Julie. Joe offered a bad thing, but in the end Julie accepted it out of what she claimed to be love, but love does not give birth to the kind of actions she exhibited. True love would lay down her life for someone. It seems like everything she did was only in view of herself. (Same as Joe, but he didn’t pretend he was living for anyone but himself.) Julie’s doing all of these things in the name of love is what makes me feel her actions are the least sympathetic in human terms. Of course, we’re all sinners, so I guess a more Godly view would be to put them all at 5 and then say, “Praise God we are all saved by grace!”

  13. odgie says:

    Becky wrote: “Of course, we’re all sinners, so I guess a more Godly view would be to put them all at 5 and then say, ‘Praise God we are all saved by grace!'”

    Stop messing with my exercise! I kid, of course…

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