A lesson plan based on “Family practice” from the January-February 2008 issue of L.A. Youth, in which Lolly Lim wrote about learning to appreciate her family’s work and dedication to acupuncture and Eastern medicine.

By Laura Lee, Associate Editor

Grades: 6-12

Subjects: Language Arts, Social Studies, Life Skills

Suggested Time Allowance: 45 minutes-1 hour

Students will:
1. Identify family traditions
2. Analyze where traditions come from
3. Examine the role traditions play in their lives

• copies of the L.A. Youth article “Family practice” (one per student)
• pens/pencils and paper
• white board or black board

1. On the board write: Family traditions. Ask students to list different traditions that their familes hold, especially ones that go back generations. Answers could include holiday and religious celebrations or practices, birthdays, arts and crafts, careers, a special meal, or taking trips to visit family or for vacation.

After making the list, ask students discussion questions. Questions could be: How do they feel about these traditions? Are they useful or relatable to their life? Do they tell them something about their family or help them understand their family. Do they bring their family closer together? Have their opinions changed regarding these traditions? Do they know where they came from or how they began?

2. Reading and discussion:
Ask students to read Lolly Lim’s story “Family practice” about how she’s learned to appreciate acupuncture and Eastern medicine on pages 32-33 of the January-February issue of L.A. Youth, and the sidebar about acupuncture.

3. Discussion:
Talk about the article, addressing these questions. Possible answers are listed.

How did Lolly feel about acupuncture and Eastern medicine when she was younger?
–She tried to avoid it.
–She wasn’t convinced it worked.
–She thought the tonics her father made were gross, but didn’t tell him so she wouldn’t hurt his feelings.

What helped Lolly appreciate her family’s practice of alternative medicine?
–Lolly’s friend Elieen told her she thought acupuncture is cool.
–Her aunt treated her cold by sticking her with needles.
–She talked to her family and found out how important it was to them.

How did Lolly feel about acupuncture after she learned more about it?
–She understood her family’s belief and respect of acupuncture.
–Acupuncture is helpful and can make you feel better.
–She felt connected to her culture because acupuncture has been around for several thousand years.

4. Assignment: After sharing their ideas about family traditions and reading about Lolly’s experience, have students write an essay about what tradition means to them. They should focus on one specific family tradition, describe it and tell why it’s important to them. Is it something they’ve tried to hide or do they share it with friends? How has interacting with other people influenced their view of this tradition? How has their view changed? How has the tradition influenced who they are?

Extension activity:

Ask students to interview a family member about a particular family tradition that has been passed down through generations. They should find out how the tradition began and how it’s changed over the years.