How Are They Feeling?

This week in Yetzirah the Nitzanimers focused on words to describe a feeling or mood and how we might interpret someone’s facial expression to conclude how they are feeling.

First, our Nitzanimer panel generated synonyms for “Happy/Sameach” and “Sad/Atzuv” and I listed them on large paper. When someone ran out of ideas, another Nitzanimer would remind them of an experience they had (witnessing their little sister having a fit over going to bed, for example) and ask “How did you feel?”… “Frustrated… because I felt like she was only thinking about herself… Selfish…”

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Then, the Nitzanimers applied this vocabulary. On a table laid 5 magazine clippings of people’s faces. They were asked to study each face for a minute or so and write down one/two words to describe how they thought the person in the clipping felt. Then place their “guess” (there was no right answer, and no definite answer) in an envelope.

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Later, Rabbi Rebecca opened the envelopes and the children tallied their “guesses”. The tallies revealed a difference of opinion in how each Nitzanimer interpreted a particular facial expression. Undoubtably, we will continue this discussion of how to interpret a person’s mood, and how to react to it in a friendly way.

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