GSR in the Classroom

Guide: Confined sisters seek ways to help others

Background

From our earliest moments, we feel and express our needs. Babies cry when they're hungry. Toddlers whine when they don't get their way. Even amid the threat of a global pandemic, our natural tendency to want our needs met causes tension. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, normally rational adults hoard supplies and food, while others bend or break guidelines on social distancing. It's easy to know our own needs, but more challenging to consider and respond to the needs of others.

Focus

Our faith calls us to look beyond our own needs and to meet the needs of others. Jesus calls us:

  • to love our neighbor as we love ourselves
  • to do unto others as we’d have them do unto us
  • that when we serve others, we’re serving him 

We've heard these calls many times. And in times of crisis, our better nature prevails. Even so, the stresses of the current global threat – one like we've never known – can make it seem hard to do the right thing and put the needs of others first.

Activity

Note: Activities in GSR in the Classroom instructor guides usually are designed to be used in classroom or parish settings by larger gathered groups. Because coronavirus precautions prohibit these gatherings, this activity is designed for at-home use and for online video gatherings.

Begin by inviting each person to place 10 slips of paper in front of themselves. Ask students to look at the scraps and reflect silently as you say the following [pause briefly after each statement]:

  • Imagine that these represent "enough" – enough food, enough clothing, enough digital connectivity, enough of anything you need to survive. 
  • Imagine discovering that someone has 10 times as much as you do. Do you still have enough?
  • Imagine someone with only one slip. Is that enough? Do you have more than enough?
  • Are you open to give up some of your "enough" to help someone who doesn't have enough?
  • How would you feel if you didn't have enough?

Consider expanding this activity by asking students to identify on their paper slips 10 items they can't live without. Give them a few minutes to consider 10 things most essential to their survival, and jot down your own Top 10 must-haves. Then compare lists and discuss priorities. Some students might list practical things while others could choose trivial items. This could spark an enlightening discussion!

Discussion

Ask students to hold one of their paper slips as you discuss the following:

  • Share about a time when someone made a big sacrifice to help you.
  • When have you shared something that seemed like an extreme sacrifice? How did that feel?
  • Why does it seem easier to help others during times of crisis?
  • What is it about this current crisis that might make it more difficult to help others?
  • What might your scrap of paper represent besides a thing? Could it represent a smile? A prayer? The gift of time?

Conclude by saying: While we each define what is "enough" for ourselves, God alone knows what we truly need. Our church helps us see as Jesus sees by calling us to place the needs of others – especially people who are poor and vulnerable – above our own. The sisters we'll encounter today have devoted their lives to putting others first. They continue to seek ways to serve others in these challenging times.

Prayer

Lord, help us to seek first

your way of goodness,

to give

without counting the cost,

to trust

that you will provide to all

all that we truly need.

Thank you for the gift

of each day

and give us this day

our daily bread.

Amen.