Teaching the "Ultimate Gift"
Last year the movie, The Ultimate Gift, opened in theatres around the country. It is currently available on DVD. The movie was based on the best-selling book, The Ultimate Gift, by Jim Stovall.
Basically, The Ultimate Gift is the story of an extremely spoiled and self-centered young man named Jason who expects to inherit a fortune when his uncle dies. Instead, Jason discovers that his uncle has planned a series of activities that he must complete before he gets any inheritance. The activities are designed to help Jason learn that life itself is a many-faceted gift. Some of the twelve gifts Jason discovers include:
- The gift of work
- The gift of friends
- The gift of learning
- The gift of problems
- The gift of family
- The gift of laughter
- The gift of giving
- The gift of gratitude
In the end, Jason discovers that the Ultimate Gift is being able to give to others.
While the movie deviates slightly from the book, both carry excellent stewardship messages for young people. The book is only about 150 pages and extremely easy reading for older students. The beauty of the book is that students could read and reflect upon some of the stewardship messages that might be missed in the movie. Such powerful messages include:
- “The greatest gift anyone could be given is the awareness of all the gifts he or she already has.”
- “I thought that if you gave something away, someone else now possessed it, and you were left with less than you had before. In reality, when you give out of love, both the giver and the receiver have more than they started with.”
- “In those times when we yearn to have more in our lives, we should dwell on the things we already have. In doing so, we will often find that our lives are already full to overflowing.”
If you prefer to use the movie as a stewardship teaching tool, the Youth Film Project offers an excellent facilitator’s guide, recommended for ages 12-18, to help kids get the most out of the film. Go to http://www.youthfilmproject.org/ultimategift.htm, The downloadable 36-page facilitator’s guide includes quotes from the book and discussion questions. Suggested activities include:
- Determining how you would give away $1500.
- Identifying the qualities of true friendship.
- Creating a list of things for which to be grateful.