Learning Tolerance Can Inspire Positive Changes
* This post was written by Mariana Santillan, who works in the field of cultural and educational project management, and acts as a consultant in intercultural communication.
Telling the story of a husband embarrassed by his wife at a restaurant, Soup of the Day shows that even those we love can sometimes do things that make us uncomfortable. It highlights the importance of being aware of these feelings in order to handle these situations positively—and with humour—and questioning the connection between what upsets us and our own fears. It subtly covers the theme of learning tolerance and shows, in its charming conclusion, that with a little patience and a lot of love, we can inspire unexpected changes.
Determining What Embarrasses Us
Watch Soup of the day with your students and ask them to list the things that upset the film’s protagonist, and then work in groups to draw monsters (one per group) that do embarrassing things. This will allow the students to articulate behaviours they find embarrassing in a fun format without anyone feeling directly targeted. The monsters can be simpler illustrations for younger students and more sophisticated (influenced by fantasy characters, supervillains or manga) for teens.
Soup of the Day, Lynn Smith, provided by the National Film Board of Canada
This film is available for immediate viewing by CAMPUS subscribers. You may already have a subscription to CAMPUS through your school. Go here to find out.
Exploring Our Feelings
Ask the groups to explore how the main character of the film feels about his wife’s attitude and questions, and to draw parallels to their monsters: How do they feel about the embarrassing things they do? Ask them to create a suitcase for each monster and to list within it the troublesome behaviours, as well as their feelings associated with them.
Observing the Reactions of Those Around Us
How do the people around the couple react to the woman’s attitude and questions? Do they find her behaviour as embarrassing as the husband does? Ask students to imagine the reactions that those around them might have toward the behaviours of their monsters. What do they notice?
Choosing How We React
Soup of the Day shows that we can choose how we react to situations that upset us: after the husband offers his wife a nice meal and is disappointed by her reaction, they choose reconciliation over dispute. Ask the groups to exchange monsters. Have students analyze a new monster and its suitcase, and ask themselves what the worst possible outcomes for these situations would be and, conversely, the most positive ones. Encourage students to use role play to explore various possibilities.
Discovering the Tools Available to Us
Ask students to replace the monsters’ suitcases with toolboxes in which they list resources that can be used to resolve the embarrassing situations positively.
Seeing the Learning Opportunities
In Soup of the Day, the husband’s patience and kindness pay off when his wife tastes the soup of the day for herself and decides to order it. Bring the students together and, based on the previous work, invite them to compile questions about the potential lessons that can be learned from embarrassing situations.
Synthesizing the Experience
Invite students to bring this series of activities full circle by telling the story of their monster in the style of the film, by composing a song based on the items worked on in class (presentation of the awkward situation, feelings of the narrator, reaction of those around, solutions selected, conflict resolution).
Ask each group to prepare a portfolio containing the monster, its suitcase, its toolbox and its “song” and to share their work in the format of their choice, such as a show, the creation of an activity book or even a blog.
Soup of the Day encourages us to question how we deal with difference and to be tolerant, patient and empathetic in our interactions with others. It provides a wonderfully constructive and entertaining opportunity to question our own limits and our resources.