Lesson Title:"Love Letters"
Grade Level or Age Group:
I have done something similar with grades 7 and 8 students as well as with young adults.
Lesson Objectives: Experience the love of God in the love of one's parents and through scriptures.
- A "Love letter from God".
- Letters from parents for each participant
Preface: I doubt that this could be used as a "stand alone" activity, but it can be very powerful in the context of a one day or a weekend retreat. You need to plan this well ahead of time - parents need some time to respond to your request and you must also assume that you will have to contact some parents a second time before you have recieved the letters from all of them.
There are obviously risks involved in this process and, based on my experience, I would suggest the following steps:
1. Do not mention to your group what you are planning. If you pull it off, it will be a pleasant (hopefully) surprise for them. It is obvious that you need to ensure that you have a letter from at least one parent for each participant before you even consider handing any of the letters out.
2. Phone the parents and explain to them what you are doing, why you would like them to write a letter to their son or daughter, and suggest what types of things (how they feel about them, what qualities they most love in them, what they hope for their future, ...) they might want to write. This personal contact with the parent is necessary: although most of them are happy to be given the opportunity to thus express their love, some feel ackward about it. Explain to the parents that you will only go ahead with the project if and when you have all the letters. Give a definite deadline. If you have not received the letters by the deadline, don't give up, call again - some parents may have forgotten about it.
3. After the letters are given out to the participants in the retreat, make sure that the retreat adult supervisors/leaders are on the lookout for negative reactions and are ready to gently and discretely intervene.
Comment: I have often used "love letters" from parents for my students and for young adults who were participating in retreats. Every time, the impact on the great majority of the participants was overwhelmingly positive. There were however, some individuals who, for various reasons, reacted badly to the letter.
4. The "Love letter from God" can be handed out at the same time as the letters from the parents are handed out. You could personalize this letter by addressing it to each student (Dear ___________ ) as the heading and by adding your own brief note for each of the students at the bottom of the letter.
Related: Lesson Plans
©Gilles Côté, 2001 - Please feel free to copy and use this material for non-profit educational purposes. Please acknowledge your source if you do so.