Faith that Works

Teaching middle schoolers how to live and practice their faith

One of the amazing things about Catholic education is the way that students are asked to lead. At our school, from kindergarten on, students are given the chance to read and sing in front of the whole school at prayer services, masses, Christmas programs, concerts and more. They are asked to think critically about problems facing the community and try be part of the solution. Here are five ideas for celebrating leaders in your school:

  1. Choose a patron saint for the day. John Paul II, John the 23rd, Mother Teresa, Joan of Arc, and many other saints would be a good example of leadership,
  2. Dress as someone who is a model of leadership. The year we did this, it was so inspiring to see who the students and staff chose to dress as. I came to school as Sally Ride, and some highlights included Malala, Pope Francis, Clara Barton, Joan of Arc, various presidents and more.
  3. Create a “trust” maze. My coworker showed me this and I am stealing the idea from her. She drew a pretty simple maze in chalk on the parking lot, then had students try to lead a blindfolded classmate through by giving directions. Students had a blast, and it stressed the importance of good leadership. If you had enough space, you could make several and classes could take turns completing the activity.
  4. What makes a good leader? Have a class discussion where students brainstorm the characteristics of a good leader. Then use those characteristics as a jumping off point for some time of self reflection. Students can take some time to think of ways they are already good leaders, and think about some of the characteristics they would like to develop more in their own lives.
  5. Learn about church leadership in your area. Find out more about your pastor, bishop, and even Pope Francis. Students could read biographies of these leaders, or maybe even have the pastor visit classrooms to talk about what it’s like to lead a parish and a school. You could also have a leadership panel with leaders of ministries so students can see how they can be leaders in the church as lay people too.

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