Please introduce yourself and your family to our readers.
My name is Stephen Camilli, I am single, and 32 years old, have lived in Argentina since the age of 20. I converted to Catholicism just before moving down here, having grown up Presbyterian, Lutheran, and then Evangelical. I studied math, have always loved math, and now work as a high school math teacher and college professor. For 6 years, I worked helping to set up food banks, non-profit organizations that distribute excess food to those in need, in Argentina. I am in a committed relationship with my girlfriend of 2 years, and we are talking about marriage and a possible move back to the states in the near future.
Please tell us a bit about the “Cube of Love” and its origins.
The “Cube of Love” has its origins in Italy, in the Focolare Movement (www.focolares.org), an ecumenical Catholic movement that works towards unity. Their guiding charism is Ut Unum Sint, “that they all may be one”, the prayer of Jesus at the last supper in the Gospel of John. The Cube of Love was invented/inspired as a practical tool to help teach children “the Art of Loving” in a fun and didactic game. The Art of Loving consists in learning how to live out gospel love in a practical sense, in all of its different aspects. Thus, the cube proposes six different goals for those who roll it (children and adults), “Be the First to Love”, “Love your Enemy”, “Love Jesus in the Other”, “Share the Other’s Joy or Hurt”, “Love Everyone”, “Love One Another”.
How is the cube of love being used with students and children to promote conflict resolution? What are some other helpful applications of the cube?
The conflict resolution comes about kind of naturally as a result of children attempting to live out Gospel love in their day to day lives. Many different schools around the world use this as part of their daily announcements at the beginning or end of the school day. Or some teachers roll the cube of love to have a special “goal” for that day. It is also great for use in family life, and can be a great tool to draw family members together. They can roll it in the morning together at breakfast, and that night, or the next morning, they can share their experiences of trying to live out that goal during the day or the day before.
How can families and educators find educational and social applications or lessons to use in conjunction with the cube?
Living City Press has published a book with many children’s personal experiences using the cube, and they have published an accompanying teacher’s manual. You can order it at www.cubeoflove.org or www.livingcitymagazine.com, or by calling (845) 229-0496. You can also read an excellent article about the cube at http://www.focolare-en.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53&Itemid=79
What feedback have you received from children, parents or educators using the cube of love?
Just excellent, excellent feedback from those who have put it into practice. I have one teaching colleague down here who teaches English, and uses it in her class every day. She said that behavior has markedly improved, as instead of having to scold kids, she can say “remember the phrase from the cube of love today?” I have found that the cube of love invites children to bring out their best, to live out the Gospel in their own way, in simple things, setting the table, sharing their toys, praying for others, listening to their friends. In some cases, it has even led children to teach their parents about what it means to love. My favorite story is of a 5-year old child whose parents were in a rather heated argument, and he had them sit down on the living room couch, and said to them, “Don’t you remember what it says on the cube of love? We have to love one another!” This touching display led to the calming down and reconciliation of his parents.
How can our readers purchase a cube of love? Where can they find more information online about the product?
Are there any additional thoughts or comments you’d like to share with our readers?
I would just say that, however you want to put in practice, the message of the Cube of Love is that the Gospel applies to the simplest and every aspect of our daily lives. Preparing a meal, making our bed, saying hi to our neighbors, cleaning our house, our daily job, whatever that might be, going to school, doing our homework. All of these are seen differently in the light of the gospel. The Cube of Love tries to remind us of this message in a very simple way. Give it a try! If you’re an adult, remember that Christ calls us to be children of the gospel.