Creating a classroom climate of Gospel-based love
By Marilyn Boesch
In 1998, in some prepared questions to an international meeting for children ages 4–9, one of the young participants asked Chiara Lubich, “I want to become like Jesus. What can I do?” Chiara showed them a cube with a different Gospel-based message on each surface, such as: Love everyone; Be the first to love; Love your enemy.
“In order to be like Jesus,” Chiara answered, “we should live the cube.”
Nicknamed the Cube of Love, the cube is rolled each morning. As those words are put into practice they become part of the life of each child, as do the Gospel values they represent. From around the world, a few of their experiences were gathered in a book, The Cube of Love.
Teachers became enthusiastic about the program as they saw how children, in their excitement and spontaneity, made their relationship with God and with others more personal and dynamic. Now a teacher’s manual is being published specifically for educators showing how to use the cube in different classroom settings and age groups. Younger children keep track of their “acts of love” while older children examine the “snowball effect” on others.
As well as many schools that have used the Cube of Love program, Dr. John Chan, a psychologist with the Toronto Catholic District School Board, used it as part of an anti-bullying program in a district-wide program that raised awareness and prevented situations of violence or conflict. Research indicated that bullying decreased after the implementation of the program.
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