Help parents guide their children on the complex journey through life’s many relationships.
Foster opportunities for parents and guardians to talk with each child in a healthy and age-appropriate way – helping them to negotiate the exciting, yet sometimes perilous, journey from family love, to friendships, to teenage infatuations, to falling in love, to life-time love commitments.
Conversations about L.I.F.E. gives parents and guardians the tools they need to help their children—from preschool through high school—to understand and navigate the ever-changing world of relationships
This program empowers families to talk about relationships, sex, and sexual abuse in an easy-to-implement, ongoing educational program that addresses critical life issues. Issues that will be important throughout their entire lives.
Comprehensive Education in a Single Session Per Year
We understand that families are busy. Between work, school, and activities, it can be hard for parents and kids to connect, let alone find time to talk through important life topics like how to build loving relationships and how to identify potentially harmful situations. Often parents or guardians are unsure how to even start such vital conversations. That’s where Conversations about L.I.F.E. comes in. Our once-a-year lesson packages help foster important family talks through a well-researched, evidence-based program designed to enhance faith formation, to teach children and teens about how to develop loving relationships and how to identify unsafe situations, and to meet safe environment standards and audit requirements.
Choosing the Grade-Level Session
While each session of the Conversations about L.I.F.E. program has been prepared to fit the developmental level and interests of the specific grade, this is not a hard and fast distinction. Some parish or school programs combine two or three grade levels for the program. Some offer one session one year and another the next. We recommend that you become familiar with the goals and content of the lessons immediately preceding and following your grade level, and that you choose the lesson that seems the best fit for your particular grouping of children. (To accommodate such circumstances, we have not printed the grade level on any of the handout materials; grade levels are found on the Lesson Plans only.)
While the L.I.F.E. sessions are designed to facilitate a parent-child process for a gathered group of young people with their parents, we realize that some parishes and schools may have difficulty getting the parents to attend such a session every year. To accommodate that circumstance, we have prepared a classroom adaptation for each session.
The classroom adaptation offers an alternative plan in which the lesson is introduced in the classroom or religious education setting and a parent packet is provided to guide the parents in discussing the lesson with their child 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 home. Using the outline presented in the parent packet, the parents review the material that was covered in the classroom and are encouraged to discuss in greater depth any of the more sensitive material on sexuality and sex abuse that was introduced. A response form is also sent to the parents, with instructions to return it to the parish or school.
It is strongly recommended that a parish or school offer the facilitated family process every year, and that they resort to using the classroom adaptation only when absolutely necessary. Parents often mention that getting their children to attend a scheduled event at the parish or school is easier than finding the quiet time needed to have such a discussion at home. The young people seem to enjoy participating in the process with other children and families. Moreover, the facilitated process provides the parents with the vocabulary and concepts needed to have such important conversations with their children on a regular basis.
Meet Audit Requirements & Uphold Church Documents
Since the release of the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, “safe environment education” has been an annual requirement for all parishes within the Catholic Church. The mandate requires that all children be given annual lessons to help them recognize and avoid sexual abuse. Given the strict diocesan guidelines, mandatory reporting procedures, record keeping requirements, and diocesan and national-level audits, it is important that parishes of all sizes have comprehensive materials to give their teachers and catechists. Conversations about L.I.F.E. fills that need! The L.I.F.E. program provides safe environment training with theologically-based materials and an experience-driven structure.
The Church has also called for more comprehensive chastity education for youth. In the 2008 document Catechetical Formation in Chaste Living, the US bishops mandate a program that provides chastity education for children of all ages. And in the 2016 exhortation Amoris Lætitia, Pope Francis points out the need for sexuality education and encourages parents to discuss important topics such as sexuality with their own children.
Conversations about L.I.F.E. was strategically created to provide a full suite of chastity education materials spanning from pre-kindergarten through high school, offering age-appropriate lessons on how to develop loving relationships and how to avoid relationships which use others. The lessons also enhance parent and guardian participation in these important life topics, including both in-session participation and guided parent follow up.
Conversations about L.I.F.E. comprehensively covers both the safe environment mandate and the chastity education mandates. It sets up parishes and diocese for success while also building stronger, safer, healthier, and more aware children.
Age-Appropriate Lessons from Pre-K to High School
The goal of the Conversations about L.I.F.E. program is to provide children with the education and formation they need to become the loving persons God created them to be. The authors of the program believe that learning to love is a life-long process. They are also convinced that a primary method for teaching the process is family dialogue – frequent family conversations about healthy loving relationships, and, in that context, discussions about relationship that might be negative and abusive.
The framework for these ongoing discussions is provided by the L.I.F.E. acronym and the three-circle Venn diagram. Through annual, age-appropriate conversations with their parents, the children gradually learn to distinguish the difference between the three kinds of love relationships – family love, friendship, and infatuation or falling-in-love – as well as learn about the kind of negative relationships that the program calls exploitation. The family conversations help the children to understand and develop the various kinds of loving relationships and to recognize, avoid, and respond to any relationship that might be abusive or exploitative.
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.