Reflection Paper

In the beginning of the week, I was presented with a five pound flour sack, and by the end of the week, I had a little baby with me everywhere I went. The story starts on an average Friday right after the morning sadhana. In health class we were presented with a flour sack and told these were our babies for the week and that we had to take good care of them (if the sack broke you got a bad grade). The first thing I did when I got home was show mom my baby. She said that it was good that I got to see how it was to carry a baby around for a week. Mom taught me how to tie a sling and how to keep the baby safe.

The baby was a good baby; it didn’t ever cry, went to bed, and slept like a rock (era sack of flour). It really was fun to be able to have a baby, and even more so, it was fun to see how everyone else kept their baby safe. Some people weren’t too happy with their baby over the week, and some people even were just ditching their babies. Part of the assignment was to keep your baby in good hands and not let them get kidnapped. You also had to bring your baby to school with you (despite the fact that if you really had a baby, you would not bring it to school, nor would you even be in school if you have a child to take care of).

The week really was great, and I learned how hard it is to have a child, very hard (and this one didn’t even get in trouble like a real one). Eventually throughout the week most people got very attached to their babies, in fact as I type this, some of us still have our babies (not me though). When my mom taught me how to tie a sling, I thought It was a pointless endeavor (probably because the one time I actually tried the sling, I almost dropped the baby.) However it turned out that it may have been the most effective way to carry the baby around. I was very attached to my baby and enjoyed it, even if now I am kind of happy that I don’t have it anymore. It was a fun assignment to do, and there was a lot of learning involved. I. enjoyed my baby and had a good week.

Cultivating Moral And Spiritual Values

Lesson #2: Maturity 101 – Flour Babies (ages 12 and up); a project weve adapted from other sources
Life Skill Charts that can be used as supplements: Expanding Sensitivity, Building Will power.

Purpose: This activity helps teenagers gain experience in taking responsibility, as well as getting a glimpse of  what its like to be a parent. It works best when the activity is a part of an ongoing, graded class (Health, Family Life, etc.)

Materials needed for each student: 5 pound sack of flour, plastic bag, duct tape, baby clothes from thrift store

Preliminary Activities: Creating the Baby

Place the flour sack in plastic bag.

Create a head by rolling rags or strips of an old sheet.

Use duct tape to seal seal the bag and position the head. 

Make sure the baby is still fragile and needs careful attention.

Pick out clothes and place on the baby (duct tape can help)

Cant be cruel or ugly, emphasize compassion

Fill out a Birth Certificate with name, parents, address, etc.

Male/Female pick via chance

For more variety/challenge use special cards – twins, premature, blind…

The Assignment

For the coming week, each student will be in charge of a flour baby”. They will bring their babies to school each day and take them home at night and over the weekend. The baby can never be left unattended for more than 10 minutes. Students can arrange for babysitters (parents, friends, etc.) on a hire, trade, or volunteer basis.

  1. If you bring your baby back at the end of the week undamaged, emotionally cared for, and physically intact, you have completed the project. But if your baby is damaged, you will need to continue the assignment for a second week or longer. Grades for the project will reflect the student’s level of responsibility.
  2. A kidnapping occurs when a teacher (not a student) takes possession of the baby and is able to leave the room unnoticed. The first and second occurrences serve as a reminder to pay closer attention. The third strike means you have another week of baby care.
  1. If you think there are extenuating circumstances, you can challenge one or more of the kidnappings by petitioning to have your case heard at Baby Court. You must have a completed form with signatures from 5 students who agree that you have a case. You will make your presentation in front of a teacher/judge and a jury consisting of students who have not been the victim of a kidnapping. Jury can increase or decrease consequences (instead of extra week only a day, etc.), after hearing evidence. If there is a conviction, the judge can opt to have the signers help the plaintiff care for the baby during extension, helping students realize the importance of thinking before signing.

Reflection

When you have completed the assignment, you will need to complete a Reflection questionnaire as part of receiving credit for the project.

 

We’re happy to share an exciting new direction for Education for Life’s service here in India. We’ve recently made a connection with a small orphanage called the Little Angels Ashram in a village called Madh, a short boat ride from Mumbai city.

The Ashram supports about 50 children, from age 3 through 20, providing food, shelter, and most importantly, a true sense of home. It is run by a wonderful family, who has managed it for three generations. Pratik, one of core members of the staff, was himself raised there by his grandmother, who founded the orphanage. There is a strong feeling of love present in the place, reflected clearly in the childrens’ joyful faces. In EFL terms, we all have seen that they have “light in their eyes.”
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Their foundational physical needs are being met, but one area where they could use more support is education. The children attend the local government school, and there is a volunteer who comes after school to help them with their work. But we see that these children have immense potential, and there is much that EFL could do to support them in realizing it.

We plan to start offering classes and study support after school, especially in English, but also math, science, and anything else needed. After the children have become comfortable with us, we will begin to share our approach to life skills, like courage, even-mindedness, and truth.

What we teach will of course be secondary to the fostering of deep connection, through which true, magnetic education takes place. As such, our volunteers will have the opportunity to be trained in EFL, and put it directly into practice with the children at the Ashram.

In the future, we look forward to being able to provide much more. Please include the project in your thoughts and prayers, that Education for Life is able to touch and uplift the lives of these Little Angels.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can write to me here:  aryavan@edforlife.org.