Years 5-6 Subchapter: Identity – Who am I?

What do I believe?

A close-up of a happy young person. They are surrounded by speech bubbles and thought bubbles of varying shapes.

 

Why are beliefs important?

Our belief-system is what causes us to think and feel the way we do. Our beliefs can be like an invisible force behind our behaviour that lead us to think or act in certain ways.

Core beliefs shape how we see ourselves, other people, the world, the future, what we do and how we do it. Beliefs also provide us with a sense of right or wrong, and this creates the rules we live by and forms a strong part of our identity. A personal belief is something we personally hold to be true.

 

What forms our beliefs?

The same young person shown but this time they are looking thoughtful. They are surrounded by speech bubbles from other people.

 

Our beliefs are formed from the moment that we are born, as we grow and experience the world around us. They often form because we have been told that something is true by people we trust, such as our families, friendship groups, trusted adults and people in charge.

The expectations of the community can also influence our beliefs about how a person should behave. For example, stereotypes about gender roles can affect how we believe we should behave, what work we should do, who we should have as friends and other situations.

 

“When I was little, I used to believe that our teachers lived at school. Then I found out my teacher lived in my suburb!”

 

Sometimes our beliefs will change based on experiences that challenge what we believe to be true. At times we may question our beliefs which may result in a range of emotions and also create conflict with the people who still hold these beliefs, but it also provides opportunities to grow and develop our own identity.

 

Why do I need to know my beliefs?

An illustration of five schoolkids are shown – two say they love cats the most, and three say they love dogs the most.

 

Identifying and being aware of our beliefs can help us understand why we behave the way that we do. It can also help us to understand the reason behind conflicts we have with others.

Knowing about our beliefs is an important part of knowing who we are. And knowing who we are is the first step to knowing and being respectful towards other people.