I did this activity with the Young Women as a Combined YW Activity a while ago. It was a huge success and I have kept my "web" in my keepsake box. This activity could also be adapted to use for Family Home Evening, with Activity Day girls, or even at school.
Charlotte and Wilbur Days
(Most of this is taken from the book I Walk by Faith by Ardeth Greene Kapp)
One of my favorite stories is Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. How many of you have heard the story? If you have read that book or seen the movie, you will remember that Charlotte is the spider and Wilbur is the pig. Poor Wilbur has some very hard times and often feels alone and discouraged. On one dreary rainy day, we read, he felt so “friendless, dejected and hungry, he threw himself down in the manure and sobbed.”
(Show video segment with Wilbur crying)
Have you ever had a Wilbur day? A day when you felt that alone and discouraged? Let me remind you of how Wilbur was rescued from his sad plight. Wilbur was visited by his dear friend Charlotte, the spider whom he didn’t like at all when he first met her. But over time he discovered a true friend in Charlotte, one who was willing to save his life by tirelessly spinning a beautiful web with a message that would let people know this was no ordinary pig. Even Wilbur began to believe he was something special because his friend told him he was.
At the end of the season, Charlotte knew that a spider’s life is short and that she would not be around in the spring to comfort her friend Wilbur. She wanted to help prepare him for the future so he would learn to look for the good things and not be discouraged and lonesome. Charlotte spoke softly to her friend Wilbur: “Winter will pass, the days will lengthen, the ice will melt in the pasture pond. The song sparrow will return and sing, the frogs will awake, the warm wind will blow again. All these sights and sounds and smells will be yours to enjoys, Wilbur, the lovely world, these precious days…”
Charlotte stopped, and a tear came to Wilbur’s eye. “Oh, Charlotte,” he said. “To think that when I first met you I thought you were cruel and bloodthirsty!” When he recovered from his emotion, he spoke again. “Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.”
“You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to life up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”
“Well,” said Wilbur. “I’m no good at making speeches. I haven’t got your gift for words. But you have saved me, Charlotte, and I would gladly give my life for you – I really would.”
(Show video of bonding moment at end of story)
Would you be willing to save a friend? Can you tell when a friend feels “friendless, and dejected”, bad enough to through herself down in a manure pile and sob? Some people do that, you know – not in the manure pile in the barnyard, like Wilbur the pig, but in the waste and filth of the world because they feel worthless, good for nothing and unnecessary. At times like this, we all need a friend, one who will tell us how special we are, one who will remind us of what President George Q. Cannon tells us: “Now, this is the truth. We humble people, we who feel ourselves sometimes so worthless, so good-for-nothing, we are not so worthless as we think. There is not one of us but what God’s love has not been expended upon. There is not one of us that He has not cared for and caressed. There is not one of us that He has not desired to save and that He has not devised means to save. There is not one of us that He has not given His angels charge concerning. We may be insignificant and contemptible in our own eyes and in the eyes of others, but the truth remains that we are the children of God and that He has actually given His angels – invisible beings of power and might – charge concerning us, and they watch over us and have us in their keeping.”
Each of us has had many “Wilbur days” and hopefully some Charlotte times as well. I can’t help but think about Wilbur and Charlotte and all the other animals in the farm. Each animal was different, yet they all were living in the same barnyard. They sing a song in the video that says “We’ve got lots in common where it really counts, what we look like doesn’t count an ounce, we’ve got lots in common where it really counts.” This reminded me of us here in this room. We are each different and some of us don’t have a lot in common socially or have a lot of common hobbies or interests. However what we do share is what really counts… We share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are sisters and we are here to help each other feel better about ourselves and about life in general.
Tonight we are going to make special spider webs. Each of us will have our own web to take home and treasure and look at on those “Wilbur days.”
Here are the guidelines for this activity:
1) Write your name in the middle of your web.
2) Pass it to the person to your right.
3) Write down something in one of the small sections of the spider web about the person whose name is on the paper. You can write something you admire about the person, something positive you have noticed about the person, a talent, a good deed that person has done or something along those lines.
4) Don’t write a lot, just fill in one of the small sections on each paper.
5) When your own paper gets back to you, we will be done and have dessert.
(Moral of the story - “Give a dog a name and he’ll answer to it.”)
Here is a spider web if you'd like to use it (click here to download the PDF).