Thursday, January 21, 2010

Generosity in January

These ideas were developed by me for my local group and are not a part of the official Little Flowers Girls Club ® created by Rachel Watkins. To purchase the excellent materials and begin your own local group, please visit

We had our monthly Little Flowers Girls Club meeting on Friday, and as usual, it was filled with grace and joy! Our virtue for the month is Generosity, and here is what we did.

Of course, we opened with our usual prayers and song, and then I talked with the girls about Generosity. First, I posed this question: If I asked you right now to take off your shoes and donate them to the poor today, how many of you would do it and go home barefoot? With very serious, somber faces, pretty much every hand was raised. I had to smile at their commitment and then reassured them that we are not really going to do that, because I did not ask their parents' permission. I praised them for being so generous and asked if they like their shoes and how hard they would be to give up (for some easy, for some not so much).

The girls told me what Generosity is - giving of themselves and their things. We discussed ways they can be generous on a daily basis and then bigger ways they can be generous that do not happen every day. We compared when it is easy to be generous and when it is difficult and talked about how the more generous we are, just like all the virtues, the easier it becomes to be more generous.

Then, I asked them the opposite of Generosity. They answered selfishness (I had written down greed), so we went with their answer and talked about what it means to be selfish, giving several examples. We recounted examples from the Bible of Generosity and shared the story of the Widow's Mite.

Next, I asked if they know the story of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and what happens at the end. We focused on how giving back the presents caused his heart to grow, just like being generous causes our hearts to grow. We were a bit silly with demonstrating how big our hearts could get!

There was a simple story from The Saints and Our Children by Mary Reed Newland that I read to them about St. Macarius the Younger and how he and his fellow monks demonstrated Generosity with a bowl full of grapes. Here is a link to read it online.

I also shared with them two rules about being truly generous. One is to give not just your excess but your best and to give until it hurts. I told them the story from the Little Flowers Leader's Guide about Mother Teresa who turned away a very rich man who wanted to donate a lot of money. Only when he returned offering an amount that truly hurt him did she accept his money. The other rule is not to expect anything in return. We gave examples like inviting someone to a party, even if you were not invited to theirs, and giving a gift and not expecting one from the other person.

Finally, I told them that the flower representing Generosity is the daisy. I shared that the daisy is a cheerful flower to remind us to be generous cheerfully and that the daisy spreads rapidly in the wild. One daisy can start a whole field of daisies just like one act of Generosity can remind someone else to be generous and so on.

Next, we made these simple and adorable Tissue Paper Daisies! I was SO thanking Oriental Trading for making this so easy that even the four-year-olds could do it! The flower is adhesive, so you just stick on the pre-cut tissue paper squares. So nice! We did hot glue the pipe cleaner stem to the back of each one when the girls were finished (or when we ran out of time) to allow them to take them home. Since the project kits come with To/From tags, I told the girls that this is a project they need to give away to another person to practice Generosity. Here is an unfinished one.

I had planned to do an activity about stewardship and time, treasure, and talent, but instead I decided to allow the girls to work longer on their daisies, since they were enjoying them so much, and it was taking them so long. So, after daisies, we had snack.

After snack, the girls got into their rose groups to play The Giving Game with M&Ms. I took the idea from this lesson (see the last page) and developed my own version. For ours, each girl started with ten M&Ms in a cup, and each group had a baggie of M&Ms and a set of cards. I used the following file and printed three pages for each group. Our game was timed (2 minutes for the first round, 3 minutes for the second one), and the goal of the game was to have the fewest number of M&Ms when the timer went off (or to run out completely).

The cards say things like "Take 2 M&Ms from another person." and "Give 4 M&Ms to another person." The girls decided from whom and to whom they took and gave. There are also cards that said "Take 3 M&Ms from the bag." which added to the fun. When the timer started, the girls took turns turning over cards and simply following directions. For the non-readers, a mom read the cards for each girl. This game was a hit! They had a great time and saw the joy in running out of M&Ms, especially as their generous group members shared some of their stash for the winner to eat!

After this, I gathered the girls to talk about our saint, St. Katharine Drexel. I first held up the Vision Book Saint Katharine Drexel: Friend of the Oppressed and encouraged the girls to ask their mothers for it. Great story! Then, I gave them a brief summary of her life, focusing on the following points: her wealth, how her parents modeled Generosity, founding an order of missionaries at the Pope's request, founding schools and missions for the poor, giving her own money and praying constantly for the poor. When I mentioned she was the fifth American citizen to become a saint, I had the girls name them all. Can you? The only one they did not get was St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, so I invited them to look into her life.

Going back to our tables, the girls completed their virtue pages. These are going very quickly now, which is perfect for the end of our meetings. You can see a sample below of the quotes I chose. The only glitch we had was that apparently my computer did not print out enough St. Katharine Drexel graphics, so I had to email it to the girls to print and attach at home.

Finally, we gathered to learn the Scripture song for Generosity, say our usual closing prayers (with the girls adding several intentions about the tragedy in Haiti), and distribute patches. This meeting was a simple one, not too full, and I am glad it seemed so leisurely to me, at least. Next month, we will focus on Prudence, which I think will be harder to teach than Generosity. Below are the Practice Page and Patch Project Sheet for those who are interested.

Per the request of the official Little Flowers Girls Club ® I have removed the downloadable patch project sheets and practice pages. If you are interested in learning about how I used these documents in my group, please contact me directly.

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