Author: Miranda Clendening
Start the meeting by sharing some good thing that happened in the last week, any problems and their proposed resolutions (remember to accentuate positives and don’t dwell on negatives)
Family Night Topic:
Love and why we do loving service
Purpose: To explain why Love is so important and how service is the way we act out our love for others. When we give selflessly, we receive a sense of who we are and that we are loved and have great capability to love. All people NEED love and are searching for it and longing to give it although many may not consciously realize this or know how
Teacher/parent background info: (read before lesson to familiarize yourself with topic) :
Preparation: Read over lesson, listening to your intuition for guidance.
Suggested supplies, songs, resources: poster board/marker
Suggested Lesson Plan:
In the thirteenth century, King Frederick II of Germany decided to conduct an experiment. He wanted to determine what language children would speak if never permitted to hear the spoken word. So he assigned foster mothers to care for fifty infants. The women were instructed to bathe and nurse the babies but not to fondle, cuddle, or talk to them. The experiment failed because all fifty infants died.
Not long ago, following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world was scandalized to learn of conditions in a former Soviet bloc country regarding the care of orphans. Mary Carlson, a researcher from Harvard Medical School, observed an overcrowded Romanian orphanage where row upon row of babies lay neglected in their cribs. The staff was hopelessly overworked, so the babies were rarely touched even at mealtime. What struck Carlson was the silence in the nursery. There was no crying, no babbling, not even a whimper. Upon physical examination given at age two, Carlson found that the babies had unusually high amounts of a stress hormone known to cause brain damage. Growth was stunted; the children acted half their age.
What conclusions can be drawn from King Frederick’s failed experiment and the Romanian orphanage scandal? Babies who aren’t touched affectionately fail to thrive and in extreme circumstances die. It’s not enough to care for the physical needs of children. Touching and tenderness are critical to their survival.
Discussion: Being touched and loved are as basic as our need for food.
Possible activities: Get out poster board and marker & create poster of service project ideas to do as a family (let kids name these and see how many they can come up with- examples are below in chart)
The more we DO and learn to care more about different things little by little, the more we start to care about everything as a whole.
Caring for People
Caring for Animals
Caring for Environment/Community
Help spend time with Developmentally disabled kids
Garage Sales/Community Sale as fund raiser
Community car wash/lemonade stand fundraisers
Build crafts (give to homeless or kids in need)
Give toys to kids in need
Bake cookies for seniors
Train dog and take him to be service dog at hospitals
Homeless shelter/senior center sing carols/ visit/ make crafts
Grow and give flowers to neighbors/teachers
Help a family pack or move
Animal shelter (cleaning, feeding animals, walking dogs, etc)
Animal Preserve (hawks/raptors, big cats, ferrets, etc)
Go to Farm- help with animals
Train Houdini and take him to be service dog at hospitals
Picking up trash (at a park?)
Trail restoration/trail guide
Build Community Garden (in our backyard or go volunteer at one or set up a new one at a new location)
Help at garden at school
Help at already functioning Community Garden that donates to those in need
This lesson takes quite a bit of follow up with your own community. Calls have to be made to organizations to find out when they are open, if they allow whole families to volunteer and what age groups can come. Find out if they require background checks or training or orientation of some kind and when they offer this. These projects will be used for once a month service projects as a family as part of the program.
Discussion: Service doesn’t only happen in your community. There are 4 arenas to focus on:
- For yourself
- For your family and friends
- For your community
Eventually everyone doing this together helps even change the world
Challenge: each participant to write down any other projects for the future that they can think of on the poster if they think of them at a later date
Activity: Knowing How to Help in Emergencies- Sometimes the greatest service of love you can offer is to be able to help in an emergency. Plan for a time when the family can learn about and practice first-aid, survival techniques, and water safety skills.