Example #14 Cooking and Honouring

What if cooking helped students to honour the elderly?

Moira wanted her students to think of using their cooking skills as a way of showing appreciation of older people, as well as thinking about their own diet and tastes. Too often grandparents are seen as a source of support, with less time taken to appreciate what elderly relatives have to give.

"We live in a society where youth is elevated over age and I wanted students to have an opportunity to appreciate their grandparents. I set a task:
 
"'We are each going to take something to an elderly grandparent (or another elderly relation / neighbour / friend of your family) as an expression of our appreciation and respect. Each person, including me, will prepare and pack a bag or basket to take to him or her, including some food we have prepared. We will need to explain what is in our bags and why we have included it.' My students come from a variety of cultures so what they put in their bags and baskets varied but as long as they could justify the items in terms of showing appreciation and respect it was allowed. (Items had to be appropriate for students to take.)
 
"We made lists and plans and I used mine as an example. We did our baking and carried out our visits. (Written permission of parents was needed and child protection issues apply.) We reported back on the visits and how we felt about them. The students wrote this up. I shared what I had learned about my grandmother’s cooking during the war and how creative cooks had to be with very little. Many students said they had found the visit difficult, but no-one had given up! Everyone wrote about sitting and chatting with their elderly relation or friend. Some had done some jobs for their grandparents such as washing up. They all identified the chatting, listening and sharing news as the most important thing that they had done."

What’s going on here?

Moira saw cooking as a way of expressing gratitude and helping students show respect.
 
She engaged students in approaching cooking in a relational context and in serving the wider world (the elderly in the community).
 
Moira considered the purpose of the skills she taught, reshaping her practice by considering how to bring about the interactions she wanted to happen (informal conversation, listening, visiting, serving) and by modelling them through taking part in the task herself.
 
How do I do this myself?

What does this have to do with faith, hope and love?

These students were expressing love in action by giving time and effort in baking for others and giving time to sit and listen and chat. The students were demonstrating love and respect as they honoured the older generation. Expressing appreciation and being thankful raises awareness, not only of our own situation, but also brings to mind the situation of others. Gratitude involves a reorientation of life with thankfulness as the default setting. Gratitude towards God and others is a response to life as a gift from God.

What difference does it make?

This lesson gave students a different reason for developing cooking skills; their skills were harnessed for the good of the community. By highlighting gratitude, Moira helped students experience the relationship with their grandparents with a different mindset.

Where could we go from here?

The concept of using food technology for the good of the community could be extended to other uses in the wider community through local community groups such as meals for the disadvantaged in the community. Care needs to be taken in such instances that there are chances to learn from others, and not condescend on the basis of their need. Ways can also be explored of practising other skills in the curriculum in relational contexts where someone outside the classroom is served by the skill.

Digging deeper

Respect in biblical Hebrew is ‘to bow down’. Respect and honour were shown by a physical position. We do not have the elaborate formal courtesies of some other cultures but we can still explore with students how we show respect today. Respect is showing that we consider others of worth and is a form of love. Scripture includes a clear focus on respect for the elderly (Leviticus 19:32).
 
Thankfulness can be expressed towards God (Psalm 92:1) and others (1 Timothy 2:1). Martin Luther saw gratitude as the basic attitude; it is like a mould that shapes life. When someone does something for you there is a sense of thanks that are due, hence Luther’s saying that "Unthankfulness is theft". Too easily a ‘rights’ culture can slip into ingratitude.
If the only prayer you said in your whole life was "thank you", that would suffice. Meister Eckhart
A sense of gratitude has been identified as good for our health, something the Bible said many years ago (Proverbs 15:30). Thanks focuses us on what we already have (Philippians 4:6).
To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted … Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude. Albert Schweitzer

Explore similar examples:

What if a topic on ‘People who help us’ became ‘Serving the community'?
What if design were about humility and thinking of others?
What if making pie charts were connected to giving?
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1The Lord told Moses 2to say to the community of Israel: I am the Lord your God. I am holy, and you must be holy too! 3Respect your father and your mother, honour the Sabbath, and don't make idols or images. I am the Lord your God. 5When you offer a sacrifice to ask my blessing, be sure to follow my instructions. 6You may eat the meat either on the day of the sacrifice or on the next day, but you must burn anything left until the third day. 7If you eat any of it on the third day, the sacrifice will be disgusting to me, and I will reject it. 8In fact, you will be punished for not respecting what I say is holy, and you will no longer belong to the community of Israel. 9When you harvest your grain, always leave some of it standing along the edges of your fields and don't pick up what falls on the ground. 10Don't strip your grapevines clean or gather the grapes that fall off the vines. Leave them for the poor and for those foreigners who live among you. I am the Lord your God. 11Do not steal or tell lies or cheat others. 12Do not misuse my name by making promises you don't intend to keep. I am the Lord your God. 13Do not steal anything or cheat anyone, and don't fail to pay your workers at the end of each day. 14I am the Lord your God, and I command you not to make fun of the deaf or to cause a blind person to stumble. 15Be fair, no matter who is on trialdon't favour either the poor or the rich. 16Don't be a gossip, but never hesitate to speak up in court, especially if your testimony can save someone's life. 17Don't hold grudges. On the other hand, it's wrong not to correct someone who needs correcting. 18Stop being angry and don't try to take revenge. I am the Lord , and I command you to love others as much as you love yourself. 19Breed your livestock animals only with animals of the same kind, and don't plant two kinds of seed in the same field or wear clothes made of different kinds of material. 20If a man has sex with a slave woman who is promised in marriage to someone else, he must pay a fine, but they are not to be put to death. After all, she was still a slave at the time. 21The man must bring a ram to the entrance of the sacred tent and give it to a priest, who will then offer it as a sacrifice to me, so the man's sins will be forgiven. 23After you enter the land, you will plant fruit trees, but you are not to eat any of their fruit for the first three years. 24In the fourth year the fruit must be set apart, as an expression of thanks 25to me, the Lord God. Do this, and in the fifth year, those trees will produce an abundant harvest of fruit for you to eat. 26Don't eat the blood of any animal. Don't practise any kind of witchcraft. 27I forbid you to shave any part of your head or beard or to cut and tattoo yourself as a way of worshipping the dead. 29Don't let your daughters serve as temple prostitutesthis would bring disgrace both to them and the land. 30I command you to respect the Sabbath and the place where I am worshipped. 31Don't make yourselves disgusting to me by going to people who claim they can talk to the dead. 32I command you to show respect for older people and to obey me with fear and trembling. 33Don't ill-treat any foreigners who live in your land. 34Instead, treat them as well as you treat citizens and love them as much as you love yourself. Remember, you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God. 35Use honest scales and don't cheat when you weigh or measure anything. I am the Lord your God. I rescued you from Egypt, 37and I command you to obey my laws. Penalties for disobeying God's laws
1It is wonderful to be grateful and to sing your praises, Lord Most High! 2It is wonderful each morning to tell about your love and at night to announce how faithful you are. 3I enjoy praising your name to the music of harps, 4because everything you do makes me happy, and I sing joyful songs. 5You do great things, Lord . Your thoughts are too deep 6for an ignorant fool to know or understand. 7Though the wicked sprout and spread like grass, they will be pulled up by their roots. 8But you will rule over all of us for ever, 9and your hateful enemies will be scattered and then destroyed. 10You have given me the strength of a wild ox, and you have chosen me to be your very own. 11My eyes have seen, and my ears have heard the doom and destruction of my terrible enemies. 12Good people will prosper like palm trees, and they will grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. 13They will take root in your house, Lord God, and they will do well. 14They will be like trees that stay healthy and fruitful, even when they are old. 15And they will say about you, The Lord always does right! God is our mighty rock. The Lord is king
1First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them. 2Pray for kings and others in power, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honour God. 3This kind of prayer is good, and it pleases God our Saviour. 4God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth, which is, 5There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us. 6God showed us this at the right time. 7This is why God chose me to be a preacher and an apostle of the good news. I am telling the truth. I am not lying. God sent me to teach the Gentiles about faith and truth. 8I want everyone everywhere to lift innocent hands towards heaven and pray, without being angry or arguing with each other. 9I would like women to wear modest and sensible clothes. They should not have fancy hair styles, or wear expensive clothes, or put on jewellery made of gold or pearls. 10Women who claim to love God should do helpful things for others, 11and they should learn by being quiet and paying attention. 12They should be silent and not be allowed to teach or to tell men what to do. 13After all, Adam was created before Eve, 14and the man Adam wasn't the one who was fooled. It was the woman Eve who was completely fooled and sinned. 15But women will be saved by having children, if they stay faithful, loving, holy, and modest. Church officials
1A kind answer soothes angry feelings, but harsh words stir them up. 2Words of wisdom come from the wise, but fools speak foolishness. 3The Lord sees everything, whether good or bad. 4Kind words are good medicine, but deceitful words can really hurt. 5Don't be a fool and disobey your parents. Be clever! Accept correction. 6Good people become wealthy, but those who are evil will lose what they have. 7Words of wisdom make good sense; the thoughts of a fool make no sense at all. 8The Lord is disgusted by gifts from the wicked, but it makes him happy when his people pray. 9The Lord is disgusted with all who do wrong, but he loves everyone who does right. 10If you turn from the right way, you will be punished; if you refuse correction, you will die. 11If the Lord can see everything in the world of the dead, he can see in our hearts. 12Those who sneer at others don't like to be corrected, and they won't ask help from someone with sense. 13Happiness makes you smile; sorrow can crush you. 14Anyone with good sense is eager to learn more, but fools are hungry for foolishness. 15The poor have a hard life, but being content is as good as an endless feast. 16It's better to obey the Lord and have only a little, than to be very rich and terribly confused. 17A simple meal with love is better than a feast where there is hatred. 18Losing your temper causes a lot of trouble, but staying calm settles arguments. 19Being lazy is like walking in a thorn patch, but everyone who does right walks on a smooth road. 20Children with good sense make their parents happy, but foolish children are hateful to them. 21Stupidity brings happiness to senseless fools, but everyone with good sense follows the straight path. 22Without good advice everything goes wrong it takes careful planning for things to go right. 23Giving the right answer at the right time makes everyone happy. 24All who are wise follow a road that leads upward to life and away from death. 25The Lord destroys the homes of those who are proud, but he protects the property of widows. 26The Lord hates evil thoughts, but kind words please him. 27Being greedy causes trouble for your family, but you protect yourself by refusing bribes. 28Good people think before they answer, but the wicked speak evil without ever thinking. 29The Lord never even hears the prayers of the wicked, but he answers the prayers of all who obey him. 30A friendly smile makes you happy, and good news makes you feel strong. 31Healthy correction is good, and if you accept it, you will be wise. 32You hurt only yourself by rejecting instruction, but it makes good sense to accept it. 33Showing respect to the Lord will make you wise, and being humble will bring honour to you. The Lord has the final word
1Dear friends, I love you and long to see you. Please keep on being faithful to the Lord. You are my pride and joy. Paul encourages the Lord's followers 2Euodia and Syntyche, you belong to the Lord, so I beg you to stop arguing with each other. 3And, my true partner, I ask you to help them. These women have worked together with me and with Clement and with the others in spreading the good news. Their names are now written in the book of life. 4Always be glad because of the Lord! I will say it again: be glad. 5Always be gentle with others. The Lord will soon be here. 6Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. 7Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel. 8Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don't ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise. 9You know the teachings I gave you, and you know what you heard me say and saw me do. So follow my example. And God, who gives peace, will be with you. 10The Lord has made me very grateful that at last you have thought about me once again. Actually, you were thinking about me all along, but you didn't have any chance to show it. 11I am not complaining about having too little. I have learnt to be satisfied with whatever I have. 12I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little. 13Christ gives me the strength to face anything. 14It was good of you to help me when I was having such a hard time. 15My friends at Philippi, you remember what it was like when I started preaching the good news in Macedonia. After I left there, you were the only church that became my partner by giving blessings and by receiving them in return. 16Even when I was in Thessalonica, you helped me more than once. 17I am not trying to get something from you, but I want you to receive the blessings that come from giving. 18I have been paid back everything, and with interest. I am completely satisfied with the gifts that you asked Epaphroditus to bring me. They are like a sweet-smelling offering or like the right kind of sacrifice that pleases God. 19I pray that God will take care of all your needs with the wonderful blessings that come from Christ Jesus! 20May God our Father be praised for ever and ever. Amen. 21Give my greetings to all who are God's people because of Christ Jesus. The Lord's followers here with me send you their greetings. 22All God's people send their greetings, especially those in the service of the Emperor. 23I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless your life!