What do educators have to say on the Cube of Love?
Yvonne Tibbitt from New Jersey taught full-time as an elementary school teacher for 17 years and did substitute work from kindergarten through 12th grade for another 16 years: All of us, children and adults, have different learning styles. Some of us thrive on book learning; others are stronger with the spoken word; and there are those who excel in a hands-on, tactile, atmosphere. The Cube of Love program provides for all types of learners to be comfortable—from the hands-on exercise of tossing the cube to the oral and written sharing of experiences. Ultimately, the greatest contribution to education is that this program addresses conflict resolution and violence that so often accompany our children to the classroom. In the amazingly diverse society we share today, a school can create a new "culture," based upon sensitivity and respect for one another. Then not only will the students have learned the greatest lesson of all (to love as Jesus taught us), but all the other lessons presented to them throughout the day can now take place in an atmosphere conducive to optimum learning!
Amy Hutyra, religion teacher for kindergarten through fifth grades at St. Mary's School in West, Texas: This past school year I introduced the Cube to all of my classes. I began by sharing some experiences from the Cube of Love book with each grade level. We talked about the meaning of the each side of the cube and shared examples. The first week was also spent making miniature cubes out of a pattern. The children took their cubes home at the end of the week to share with their families. All the children have a turn to roll the cube several times throughout the year. At midyear I asked the students in the second through fifth grades to write how they have made the Cube of Love a part of their life. In a world so contrary to what we teach, it seems the cube is essential.
Dr. John Chan, a psychologist with the Toronto Catholic District School Board,, used the Cube of Love as part of an anti-bullying program in a school-wide initiative. The project incorporated the Cube of Love as an enjoyable and concrete approach to help students live Gospel values and apply them in resolving conflict and violence. Research indicated that bullying decreased over the short term since the implementation of the program.
Maria Leitao, Principal of St. Jerome Catholic Elementary School, Toronto: The Cube of Love is very successful due to [student’s] commitment to put the Gospel into practice in their daily lives. The children welcomed the challenge and were eager to share their acts of love. Staff members abandoned reticence and low energy to become truly involved and committed to the project.
Yvonne D’Souza, fourth grade teacher, Scarborough, Toronto: When I look out at the students in my class, coming from so many diverse cultures, I find that living the points of the Cube helps to bring harmony among us. It’s making a major difference in the children’s attitude and behavior. During teacher-parent interviews, two parents asked to have copies of the cube for their home. A new teacher in the school will begin to use it with her third-grade students. Recently one of my students had been nominated as one of the 30 “Best Neighbors” for all his good deeds by the City Councillor of Scarborough.
Tracy Connelly, Canada: A youth from Calgary, who helped out over the summer, [brought] the book The Cube of Love. When she gave it to me, I noticed that the preface was written by Sofia Cavalletti, a renowned Montessori educator. I have been reading the book to my 6 children. My six-year-old now wants to start a club with his friends based on the Cube of Love.
Patricia Gildard, Second Grade teacher at Holy Trinity School, Poughkeepsie, New York: Each morning one of my students rolls the Cube of Love and then I write the point of love on the board for the day. We discuss what the point is and how we might live it that day. I have seen such a change in the children as to how they interact with each other. In the past, when the children came in from recess, I would very often have to mediate issues that occurred while playing. Now we share the Point of Love after recess. It is beautiful to hear the children share their experiences: how another child was alone and they invited that person to play with them, how someone fell and they offered to walk them to the nurse, or how they played a different game because their friend wanted to play something else. It has also resulted in very few mediation sessions after recess.
Rosemarie Johnson, social worker with the Toronto Catholic District School Board: The Cube of Love provides children a means of putting into action the message of universal love. It lends itself to be used on an individual, family, group or classroom basis and it is easily mastered by children and adults alike. In these days of budget constraints, this tool is very inexpensive and easily put together! It is during the formation years in the primary and junior grades that the Cube is most effective [when students] are forming their consciences, habits and values.
Nancy Maloney, PTA, Longmont, Colorado: I prepared an entire program called the Peace Program for the elementary school my three children attend, centered on the use of the Cube of Love. It allowed the kids to take ownership of the culture they were creating in their school - one of peace and respect. Trained as facilitators, twenty parents and 7th and 8th graders—who were given the opportunity to be role models—introduced the Cube in each class on the first day of school. It was well received and put into practice in each classroom with its own unique application. Every one is excited about the possibilities for next year and how we might build on the strong foundation the Cube of Love provides.
Kemmery Hill, middle school teacher, Longmont, Colorado: We use the cube of love during Social Studies when we do current events. We read about a positive story in the news and relate what happened in the article to one of the Cube of Love’s sayings. It’s the same when we read a negative current events article. We talk about how issues could be solved using the sayings on the Cube. For every negative story, we have always managed as a class to come up with a solution using the Cube, no matter how big or small the conflict. This helps students relate what we do with the cube on a global scale—that peace and love really can solve all of the problems that we face in the world today. By using the Cube of Love everyday, students set an example and teach others around them to be peacemakers. We are collectively trying to make the world a more peaceful place.
Randy Dufour, middle school teacher, Longmont, Colorado: We roll the Cube of Love every Monday morning. I have a spot on our white board specifically for what the Cube of Love says for that week. We also talk about the various points that each side of our Cube has written on it (in addition to the main phrase). This is also expressed on the whiteboard. Usually someone will give an example on how they can act or what they actually did prior in a situation.
Linda Wells, middle school teacher, Longmont, Colorado: We use the cube of love with our daily readings from the Children’s Daily Prayer book. We try to apply the cube of love to Jesus’ actions, to a saint’s life and also to our actions. Such an example is when students go out of their way to include another child into their group or when one helps another with an assignment without being told by the teacher.
Susan Balchunas, pre-school teacher, Longmont, Colorado: We roll our Cube of Love on Thursday. Then we call attention to it whenever we can when we see examples of some act of kindness being shown that relates to the quote of the week. One parent told me that his son was playing at home with his action toys and having them fight with each other, when he had one action figure say to another: “We should stop this fighting and love our enemies.” After using the Cube, the children are now saying that they find God in each other.
Del Wnorowski, Massachusetts: My daughter had prepared an entire program for the elementary school where her three children attend grades 4, 2 and kindergarten. It was called the Peace Program centered on the use of the Cube of Love. Twenty parents and 7th and 8th graders were trained as facilitators and introduced the Cube in each class on the first day of school. It was well received and put into practice in each classroom. My granddaughter asked me to come and speak to her class about the cube and her teacher graciously extended the invitation. I spoke briefly about the points of the art of loving to this attentive, wide-eyed audience and then we threw it: “Be the first to love.” The teacher asked who could give an example and 15 of the 20 students raised their hands: in helping someone who falls down in the playground, going over to someone who was being ignored by the others and inviting him or her to join in the game, shaking hands with the player on the other team who won or lost the game, and so on. I, too, shared how I love my grandchildren by making pancakes and helping them with their homework.
Tom Rowley, public school fourth-grade teacher, Houston, Texas: Introducing the concept of the cube into the classroom is vital to help students realize the importance of valuing one another by treating each other in a way that is consistent to living the Gospel. The demographics of my class is varied: some Christians, 4 Jews, 3 Muslims and some nonbelievers. Two have one parent in prison. Most have single parents. How could I introduce the Cube to this eclectic group? One day two boys were angry with each other. I sat the class down and we began a discussion about the "Golden Rule." Most of them hadn't heard of this. They agreed that if people practiced this the world would be different. I asked the class if they would be interested in living the Golden Rule. They all said a loud, "Yes!" I know public schools in the U.S. present a particular difficulty to introduce spirituality to kids. [I used on the cube] the secular language that parallels the Gospel phrases and that might help us live the Golden Rule. Each morning at the beginning of the day a student rolled the die. The phrase was then posted on my computer monitor for everyone to see throughout the day. Throughout the day I reminded the students of the phrase or I would recognize someone whom I caught living it. At the end of each day we have 10 minutes before dismissal to share experiences of how the point that had been rolled that morning was lived. The fruits of this effort impacted the class in many ways. First, the class was the most unified group of kids I have ever taught. Conflict was at a minimum and friendships were profound. Next, parents came to me and told me that their child was coming home and telling them what the phrase was for the day. They decided to try it in their homes. Third: the teacher with whom I teamed saw the effects and decided to do it with her students. Finally, the Assistant Principal wanted to know what the phrase was on the monitor. She was very happy and encouraged me to go ahead. My vision is to introduce this to the other teachers during a planning session for next school year.