Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

February 5, 2009

Attitudes Toward Work and Workers


This activity, taken from Activities for Catholic Social Teaching, is designed to get students in touch with society's attitudes toward work and to challenge them to consider more carefully the service dimension of work and how to put this into practice in the present as well as the future. Copy and paste all or part of the material below to create your own student worksheet.

1. Write the words that come to your mind when you read each of these statements.

“I’ll work for food,” his ragged poster read.

“Get a job!” the passerby shouted.

“The working poor,” the story featured.

“I can’t afford to retire,” the 65-year-old lamented.

“Does this job include benefits?” the job-seeker asked.

“Medicaid Slashed,” the headline proclaimed.

“How do they expect me to pay for childcare, transportation, and health insurance, plus all my other bills, on this $7.00 an hour job!” the single mother screamed in frustration.

“That’s women’s work,” the young man protested.

“Women Still Get Paid 2/3 of What Men Do,” the headline stated.

“That’s the janitor’s job,” the student argued.


2. Overall attitudes. Based on your reactions to these statements, how would you describe your overall attitudes toward work, working people, and the unemployed? How do your attitudes compare to those of your family and close friends? to those of society in general?


3. Work attitude assessment. In terms of the work you are currently doing at school, at home, on the job, in your community, how would you rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 on the following pairs.
I do the least amount that is necessary/I go beyond what is asked of me
I’m negative and complain a lot/I’m joyful and positive about what I do
I think about myself first/ I’m careful about how my work affects others

In describing our work as something we do for God and for Christ, Mother Teresa says that we should “try to do it as beautifully as possible” ( What grade (from “A” to “F”) would you give yourself on how beautifully you do the various tasks of your life?

As you think about all these tasks, what would you say are your main goals in doing them?

4. Work as co-creating with God, as service to humanity.
Pope John Paul II said “… men [and women], created in the image of God, share by their work in the activity of the creator” and that “the purpose of work is to fulfill our own humanity and to benefit the humanity of those our work serves” (p. 000).

1. What are some of the ways you are already using your skills and interests to benefit others?

2. How do you envision putting your skills and interests in the service of others in the future?

3. What could you do right now—at home, at school, on the job, at church, or in the community—to be of greater service?

4. If we are truly are “co-creators” with God, what is it that you would like to create with your life?

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