What Is Sacrifice?
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Compare and contrast philanthropy and charity from Greek and Roman traditions and other cultures.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Give examples of <i>opportunity cost</i> related to philanthropic giving by individuals and corporations.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify the relationship between individual rights and community responsibilities.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.
    2. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify outcomes from the service.

When we take action for the common good, we give up something: a little time or money that might have been spent on something else. Youth explore different forms of sacrifice for the common good and answer the question: When is a sacrifice justified and necessary, and when is it too much or a violation of individual rights? 

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • analyze the benefits and opportunity cost of a potential gift for the common good.
  • copies of handout: Small Sacrifices
  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Share the following quotes to read and discuss together related to the meaning of sacrifice for the common good.

    “In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.” (Henry Ward Beecher)

    “If you’re outraged at conditions, then you can’t possibly be free or happy until you devote all your time to changing them and do nothing but that. But you can’t change anything if you want to hold onto a good job, a good way of life and avoid sacrifice.” (Cesar Chavez)

    “No sacrifice short of individual liberty, individual self-respect and individual enterprise is too great a price to pay for permanent peace.” (Clark H. Minor)

    “We can offer up much in the large, but to make sacrifices in little things is what we are seldom equal to.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

  2. Brainstorm a list of ways that people or nations sacrifice for the common good. Think in terms of the sacrifice of soldiers, relief workers, medical workers, fire fighters, etc. In these examples, discuss the motivations and opportunity costs of each type of sacrifice.

  3. Talk about the balance of individual rights and community responsibility in each example. Compare the acts of sacrifice of today with the acts of sacrifice by the Aztecs. How is it the same and different?

  4. Discuss why people give so much.

    Relate the work of these people to philanthropy, or giving time, talent, or treasure and taking action for the common good. We can also give our time to show appreciation, which is also philanthropy. Discuss ways to show appreciation. 

  5. Pass out the handout (below) Small Sacrifices. Brainstorm a list of small ways that individuals make sacrifices for others or the common good at school, at home and in the local community (letting your sister have the last yogurt, giving up study hall to help someone with a project). Young people write down these examples and evaluate them for themselves. After analysis, they may set a goal for something they will do for the good of others.