A meaningful Mitzvah Project not only involves the “act” of the project, but also the opportunity for the B’nai Mitzvah child to reflect on the experience, on the impact they are making on others, and on the impact it is making on themselves.

Parents can play a key role in this reflection process, by serving as a guide throughout the experience.

What is Reflection?

“We don’t learn from experience. We learn from reflection on experience.” –John Dewey

Reflection is the process that allows us to make meaning of our experiences, to process, understand, and evaluate an experience. Reflection is how we use our experiences to construct the narrative through which we see, interpret, understand, and navigate the world.

There are three aspects to reflection:

  • What? Recapture/return to the experience by recalling events and details.
  • So What? Attend to (or connect with) feelings and the meaning of the experience for the participant.
  • Now What? Evaluate the experience and integrate new knowledge into the “big picture,” apply lessons learned and insights gained to the future.

(From Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning, by David Boud, Rosemary Keogh, and David Walker)

Reflection Questions for Parents to Ask

  • On the way to a volunteer experience: ask what your child knows about the place you are going, about what they do, what problems or issues in the community they are trying to solve. You can also help the child come up with questions to ask of the organization once you are there to help understand this better.
  • On the way home/after the volunteer experience:
    • What did you see and do today? Describe your experience.
    • What was the most interesting/inspiring/exciting part for you? What was the most challenging?
    • What did you think of it all? Did your understanding of the problem/issue change at all?
    • What can you/we do to further support this cause? If we are coming back again, is there anything we can or want to do differently next time? Is there anything you want to do between then and now?