About the Materials
Comprehensive Education for
Loving Relationships & Safe Environment
Conversations about L.I.F.E. fosters parent-child conversations through year-by-year, age-appropriate, guided lessons on Love, Infatuation, Friendship, and Exploitation using downloadable, comprehensive lesson packages. The goal of the program is to guide parents in talking with their own children about positive loving relationships and, sadly, also telling them about the possibility of sex abuse.
The parent-child conversations are designed as one- to two-hour sessions held in the parish hall or school cafeteria for children of each age level with their parents, in which the family conversations are directed by a trained facilitator. The lessons can also be adapted for use in the classroom as introductions to the more sensitive material that will be taught at home by parents using materials provided in the parent follow-up packet. The program also makes an ideal guide for homeschooling parents or coalitions.
Each lesson package download includes:
Each lesson plan can be easily downloaded to print or duplicate after purchase. All lesson plans follow the same strategic formula to ensure that facilitators of all experience levels can teach the lesson easily and effectively. An introductory letter explains the goals and activities of each lesson while the line-by-line lesson plan offers clear directions on how to use the corresponding PowerPoint (with click notifications), the activity book, and the parent follow up. Each lesson plan also includes a facilitator materials section that contains master copies of any activity aids needed such as instructions, illustrations, guided prayers, etc.
Each lesson plan includes a corresponding PowerPoint presentation with creative and interactive visuals to keep the participants involved and focused. These presentations are compatible with PowerPoint and Keynote and contain visuals for key points of the lesson, including videos, prayers, illustrations, and photos. Each slide coincides with a specific section of the lesson plan, which clearly tells the facilitator when to click to the next slide. The PowerPoint also serves as an outline and guide for both the facilitator and the participants.
These downloadable activity guides are designed to hold the attention of children and adolescents throughout the lesson. Interactive and creative activities allow for a hands-on approach that not only keeps children entertained, it corresponds with the lesson to strengthen the message and creates a more memorable experience. These activity guides can be printed or copied as needed for each session and participating students and families can keep their creations as mementos from this important time together.
While the L.I.F.E. lesson plans are designed to facilitate a parent-child process for a gathered group of children with their parents, the program also offers a classroom adaptation of each session. The classroom adaptation offers an alternative plan in which part of the lesson is introduced in the classroom or religious education setting and a parent packet is sent home to guide the parents in continuing the lesson at home. The classroom session is understood to be an introduction to and preparation for the more important parent-child conversation that will follow in the child’s home.
Parent Follow Up Packet
Each lesson package also includes a master parent follow-up packet intended to encourage discussion of the material at home. Guided by the outline presented in the packet, the parents review the classroom lesson and teach any material on sexuality and sex abuse that was deemed too sensitive to be covered in class. The packet can be printed or copied as needed for each session, and includes a form for parents to fill out and return. This form provides feedback and serves as documentation for safe environment compliance.
Each lesson is skillfully written and formulated to connect with a specific age group, using language, images, and activities specially designed for interaction with children in that grade level. Each grade level has a series of goals that ultimately teach children and adolescents about loving and respectful relationships and how to identify dangerous, exploitative, and unsafe relationships and experiences.
Conversations about L.I.F.E. affirms the definition of chastity as outlined in the Catechetical Formation in Chaste Living (USCCB 2008) as “the virtue that helps us direct our sexuality and sexual desires towards authentic love and away from using persons as objects for sexual pleasure.” This program is designed to empower parents and guardians to guide their children towards authentic love and the creation of their own healthy family circle while learning to identify and avoid exploitative and unsafe relationships.
Happy and Safe with Super Helper
Young children who participate in the 4K session of the L.I.F.E. program with their parents will:
- Come to know that they are a child of God.
- Learn that God and their parents love them and want them to be safe and happy.
- Consider circumstances where their safety and/or happiness might be threatened.
- Learn from their parents the parts of their bodies that are private and special.
- Understand what to do if they do not feel safe with an adult: SAY NO; RUN AWAY; TELL SOMEONE.
I Am Special
Young children who participate in the 5K session of the L.I.F.E. program with their parents will:
- Learn that God created them with a body, mind, and soul.
- Be helped to establish their identity as persons who are special and good.
- Discuss with their parents relationships that are loving and friendly and identify those that might be harmful to them.
- Realize that their parents, and most other adults, care for them and protect them.
- Learn how to ask for l help if they do not feel safe or comfortable.
- Practice the Big Three Rules: SAY NO; RUN AWAY; TELL SOMEONE.
Jesus Loves Little Children
Young children who participate in the 1st grade session of the L.I.F.E. program with their parents will:
- Learn that as children of God they have a right to be loved, respected, and protected.
- Discuss with their parents the personal qualities that make them special.
- Hear and act out the Bible story which tells about Jesus’ love for children.
- Understand that their bodies have parts that are private and special.
- Consider circumstances where their safety and or happiness might be threatened; learn what to do if that occurs.
Me, Lovable Me
Young children who participate in the 2nd grade session of the L.I.F.E. program with their parents will:
- Focus on the reality that every person is special and loved by God.
- Learn that God gives all grown-ups the responsibility of loving and protecting children.
- List the persons in their extended family and discuss how each one loves and protects them.
- Discuss actions that show love and friendship with other children, and actions that do not.
- Review the private parts of the body and realize who may see and touch them.
- Understand that Jesus is like a Shepherd who loves and protects his children, and wants them to learn to love others.
Young children who participate in the 3rd grade session of the L.I.F.E. program with their parents will:
- Be reminded that they have been loved by God and their family from the beginning of their life.
- Talk with their parents about relationships, feelings, and the private and special parts of their bodies.
- Discuss relationships that are loving and friendly and learn what role they need to play in these relationships.
- Learn to identify their feelings and the feelings of others, to be able to express them and talk about them.
- Realize the power of words to help or to hurt others.
- Recognize bullying and learn what to do about it.
- Learn from their parents what child abuse is and how to respond to it.
- Learn how to ask for help when they need it.
- Pray the Guardian Angel Prayer with their parents.
The Great Commandments: Love and Respect
Children who participate in the 4th grade session of the L.I.F.E. program with their parents will:
- Understand the importance of family and identify positive things about their own families.
- Learn the two Great Commandments and understand them as God’s way of teaching us to love God, ourselves, and each other.
- Learn the concept of respect as how we keep a balance between love for self and love for others.
- Learn the concept of abuse as the opposite of respect. Talk with their parents about physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
- Discuss bullying as a type of abuse children may have experienced or participated in.
- Pray the St. Francis’ Peace Prayer with their parents.
Children who participate in the 5th grade session of the L.I.F.E. program with their parents will:
- Understand that one of the major aspects of growing up is learning how to give and receive love.
- The word Infatuation is introduced to the children in this lesson as “the special kind of relationship a person has with a husband or wife, a ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’.”
- Understand the feelings associated with the various kinds of relationships, and the kinds of touch used to express each. (The lesson mentions briefly the special kind of touch that expresses an infatuation relationship.)
- Become aware of the reality of sexual abuse as an extreme form of exploitation. (The explanation of sexual abuse is presented to the individual child by his/her own parent, following an outline given in the Activity Book.)
- Learn how to respond to any experience of sexual abuse—past, present, or future.
- Read from scripture the proclamation of the Great Commandments and receive a blessing of love from their parents.
Note: The material presented in the 5th grade session does not replace “The Talk” by which a pubescent child learns about the act of sexual intercourse. It is important that the program directors have communicated with the parents about the need for the parental talk about sexual biology as a prerequisite for the lesson. To guide parents in talking to their 5th grade child about sexual intercourse, we recommend Level 1 of LoveEd, the video series by Coleen Kelly Mast, or Book 3 of the God’s Design for Sex series, by Brenna and Stan Jones.
The WANTA’s and the HAFTA’s
Children who participate in the 6th grade session of the L.I.F.E. program with their parents will:
- Realize more deeply that they are God’s creation, made in love, by love, for love.
- Understand that the two great powers of intellect and free will make them capable of loving and learn that developing these powers is each person’s responsibility.
- Understand the difference between three levels of motivation: “wanta,” “hafta,” and “choose to.” Realize that they are gradually learning to act on the third level.
- Understand that puberty requires that they must begin to understand sex and sexuality.
- Learn to recognize the difference between loving sex, which is part of God’s plan, and lustful sex, which is not.
- Understand that parental rules around sexuality are intended to keep them safe and to guide them in learning to exercise personal control.
The Third Circle: Infatuation
Young adolescents who participate in the 7th grade session of the L.I.F.E. program with their parents will:
- Discuss with their parents the distinctions between love, infatuation, friendship and exploitation; name shows and songs that fit each.
- Realize that adolescence precipitates many changes in their thoughts, interests, desires, and feelings as well as in their bodies.
- Be introduced to the gradual development of an infatuation relationship—from noticing, to talking, to holding hands, to hugging and kissing, to passionate kissing, to sexual touch, to sexual intercourse – and learn that all of these steps are meant to be signs of a developing love relationship.
- Discuss with their parents the virtues needed to develop as a loving person—in the family circle, in the friendship circle, and eventually in the infatuation circle.
- Learn the word “chastity” as the main virtue that will be needed in future infatuation experiences.
- Review with their parents the reality of sexual abuse, including abusive activities initiated by peers.
- Hear the “Deuteronomy Blessing” prayed for them by their parents and receive from them a blessing with holy water and a hug.
Virtues, Chastity, and the Gift of Sexuality
Young adolescents who participate in the 8th grade session of the L.I.F.E. program with their parents will:
- Recall and apply their knowledge of the types of relationships — Love, Friendship, Infatuation, and Exploitation.
- Understand that they are personally responsible for their ongoing growth in knowledge (developing the intellect) and in virtue (developing the will).
- Discuss with their parents their personal practice of the virtues, using the formula K + W + D = Virtue. (Know what is right, Want to do what is right, Do what is right.)
- Understand chastity as a life-long virtue that will help them to create loving relationships and to identify and overcome the many challenges to loving sexually.
- Recognize that their sexuality is a powerful gift from God that is meant for love, babies, and family.
- Create a mini-poster (The Gift of Sexuality) that summarizes the entire lesson.
Infatuation or Real Love
Adolescents who participate in the 9th grade session of the L.I.F.E. program with their parents will:
- Become more comfortable in talking with their own parents about issues of sexuality, chastity, and abuse.
- Understand the four basic kinds of relationships — Love, Infatuation, Friendship, and Exploitation – as these are lived out in their lives and the lives of others.
- Realize that one of the major aspects of becoming an adult is learning how to give and receive authentic love.
- Understand the distinction between an infatuation relationship (that moves naturally from noticing to sexual intercourse) and a real love relationship (that grows gradually from friendship to an intimate friendship, to a deep love commitment and marriage.)
- Realize that in God’s plan for love, these two relationships are meant to develop together, so that each step on the infatuation line is an authentic sign of a growing love commitment.
- Become aware of their own experiences of sexual attraction and learn to respond appropriately in relationships that have a sexual component.
- Become cognizant of how much their own understanding of sexuality is influenced by society, their peers, and the media.
- Become aware of the reality of sexual exploitation of teens by adults and by other teens, and learn how to respond to any experience of sexual abuse—past, present, or future.
- Receive the Deuteronomy Blessing and a hug from their parents.
The BIG IF: Infatuation and Friendship
Adolescents who participate in the 10th grade session of the L.I.F.E. program with their parents will:
- Realize that their dignity as a human person is based on their being created in the image of God.
- Appreciate that each person is a unique human person, unlike no other.
- Understand that a romantic relationship—a combination of Infatuation and Friendship—can lead toward either Love or Exploitation.
- Examine three categories of sexual abuse:
- one person deliberately uses someone else for sex;
- both persons choose to participate in promiscuous sexual behavior;
- the couple “goes too far” in expressing their growing love for one another.
- Define “Real Love” using the traditional marriage formula: “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, in joy and in sorrow, till death do us part.”
- Use the “Real Love” test to decide whether or not to have sex: “If it isn’t real love, DON’T; if it is real love, WAIT.”
- Pray the “Human Dignity Manifesto” and receive from their parents a blessing and a hug.
Theology of the Pencil
Older adolescents who participate in the 11-12 grade session of the L.I.F.E. program will:
- Understand more deeply that God created them to love: “Just as a pencil is made for writing, so a person is made for loving.”
- Review God’s plan for teaching love; grasp the three-circle Venn diagram as an image of the life-long process by which a child matures into a loving adult.
- Realize that in God’s plan sex has three purposes: to be a sign of married love, to be the method by which new human beings are created, and to strengthen the family love circle where children are taught virtue and responsibility.
- Recognize that the act of sex is meant to be a sign of the free and permanent committed love relationship called marriage, and that sex outside of marriage is most likely to be exploitative.
- Realize that the experience of falling-in-love is meant to teach us how to integrate the “two-lines”: the infatuation line that moves from sexual attraction to sexual intercourse, and the authentic love line that moves gradually from friendship to committed love.
- Use the four key words in The Great Commandment to understand that the process of learning to love includes the integration of feelings (whole heart), intellect (whole mind), choices (whole soul), and actions (whole strength).
For years the Church has been telling me that I’m supposed to help parents talk to their own kids about sex, but no one has showed me how to do that. The L.I.F.E. program shows me HOW.
I got more positive feedback after the L.I.F.E. Program than any other offering. This worked for any parent with any child. The materials were easy to use and engaged the attendees. Thank you for creating a program that involves parents and that calls us to recognize loving relationships in our lives.
Our son talked. He never really talks to us… but he talked!
One parent-child session a year for each grade level. I can do that.