Tag Archive | ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Lesson 17 : Service – working hard for the benefit of others

Today’s lesson was about service – and how we need to work hard and make an effort every day for the benefit of humanity. Taking ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the perfect Example, we see how there is no time to be idle (or bored!).

Waste not your time in idleness and sloth. Occupy yourselves with that which profiteth yourselves and others. – Bahá’u’lláh

We read a beautiful story in the context of ‘selfless service’ -

There was a man in Haifa who disliked ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Whenever he saw the Master, he crossed the street to avoid Him. Finally, one day he approached ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and said, ‘So You are called the Servant of God.’ ‘Yes,’ said ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘that is my name.’ ‘Well,’ said the man proudly, ‘I am Moses.’ Very well, Moses,’ said ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘meet Me at this corner at seven o‘clock in the morning tomorrow and we will go and serve the people like the great Moses did.’ The man agreed and when they met the next morning, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took him on His routine of serving the unfortunates, helping the poor and needy, consulting with people and giving counsel. At six o‘clock that evening when they returned to the spot where they had started, he was extremely weary. ‘Remember, Moses,’ said ‘Abdu’l-Bahá before they parted, ‘I‘ll meet you here tomorrow morning at seven o‘clock.’ Again they met the following morning and again ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took the man through His regular work. Returning at six o‘clock that evening the man was very tired. Sternly, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told him, ‘Remember, Moses, tomorrow morning I‘ll meet you here.’ They met the third morning and again ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took him through His regular work day. When they returned that evening, the man was exhausted. As they parted, the man said, ‘‘Abdu’l-Bahá, tomorrow morning I will no longer be Moses.’

 

 

 

As a craft we made some lovely little bird-feeders – reminding ourselves, that we can extend our service to include the animal kingdom too :) Cut out from egg-cartons, decorated and attached with some string, they hand in the trees, full of breadcrumbs for the birds to feed on!

We skipped the drama for this lesson, as we spent more time practicing our prayer for this set. Writing it out on in parts on little pieces of paper, we distributed them around the room – walking from piece to piece we recited line to line – until the children new the whole prayer off by heart without using the words – WELL DONE!!!! :)

Lesson 10 – part 2: the importance of living in unity

After lots of singing – thank you Stefan, John and Lily! – we started as usual with our karakia (prayers) and morning tea (thank you Scott!). A quick recap of the last lesson helped everyone remember what we did: the big prayer mural, the ‘fighting fingers’ and the quote we memorised: “So powerful is the light of unity that in can illuminate the whole earth.”

Today we then shared the other elements of lesson 10 – a story about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and how he brings two people back together, after they hadn’t spoken to each other because of a disagreement. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá resolves the matter by telling them funny stories when they both happen to be at his house, and He gave them each a present to remember them as token of their friendship. The two gentlemen laughed at the stories and were able to look past their differences, celebrating in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s joyous presence.

We then discussed what other things we can do to make people feel like their united and living happily. To come up with some actual ‘acts of service’ that we can render to our families, we used the ‘Service Token Booklets’ from the Australian Peace Pack. See pic to the side>> 

To finish off today’s lesson, we did the various warm up exercises in the drama section. Standing out imaginary squares, stretching and bending, pretending to wash dishes, feed chickens, dig a well, etc etc. And then played a really fun game – we called it ‘Pass the face’.

Everyone sits in a large circle, one person makes a funny face and each person in turn, passes it along the circle. We had some great laughs! :)

To remind us of the prayer we are in the process of memorising, everyone got to take a copy of the beautiful cover from a Brilliant Star Magazine home – illustrating the theme ‘We are all the Waves of One Sea’.

Hope you’re all having fun with your service token booklets – we look forward to hearing your stories next time!

Mercy and forgiveness…

In today’s childrens-class we learned about the virtues of mercy and forgiveness. To set the tone, we read a beautiful story about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in ‘Akká and the mercy and forgiveness He showed the governor of that city, even though he tried time and time again to harm the Bahá’ís (It’s on page 63 of the new Grade 1 Ruhi Book ).

We discussed that showing mercy and forgiveness even to people that might not be kind or nice to us, is probably tricky at times. But the children found great examples on how they could practice these virtues in their homes and every day lives.

To practice showing mercy, the children had already decided last week, that we would all bake some cookies together, which we could then share with the younger children (3-5yrs) who have their class in the other room. The shared baking was great – everyone helped, from reading the recipe, measuring the ingredients, mixing the dough, rolling the cookie-balls and squashing them flat … and they were delicious too – yum!

Grade 2 – lesson 5: Prayer

As today’s lesson was all about ‘PRAYER’ we spent a bit more time with saying and singing prayers. Going over the unity prayer we started learning last time (O God my God! Unite the hearts of Thy servants…) and decided we need to find a melody to go with it, so we can learn it easier. Any suggestions…? Leave us a comment :)

We learnt, that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá lived in a state of prayer – His heart was always turned to God. Prayer is conversation with God – we asked ourselves, how we would behave if we were in the presence of God, talking to God? A good question to ask ourselves before we pray, helping us remember to be reverent, humble, patient, radiant – the children came up with a whole list of virtues! Fabulous!

Have a look at the pdf of today’s lesson on PRAYER, for more references, and the quote we started learning too.

We have been practicing the previous quotes and prayers as well – and it’s been great to see the children’s enthusiasm in using their memorisation booklets! Those sticker lines are filling up nicely :)

For our crafts today we used the story we enacted in the drama practice as inspiration. The children were pretending to be flowers or corn in a field, all droopy and sad, because it hadn’t rained for days and the sun was hot and drying everything around them. Finally, a thunderclap is heard, coming closer and closer and FINALLY bringing rain – glorious wet rain, the plants are reaching upwards, receiving the heavenly bounties.

See the beautiful collages of sad and happy flowers, before and after the rain… some of them even turning into beautiful gardens! We simply used pages out of old magazines, which we cut out and stuck onto slightly thicker paper. A very easy process for a gorgeous result.

We finished off with the story about about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá teaching a very devoted believer how to pray, and sang Tokozani. Both these references are in the lesson on PRAYER pdf.

See you all next week – for the last lesson before the school holidays – stay warm!

 

Grade 2 – lesson 4: Selflessness

Thanks to our wonderful friends for hosting our lesson in Carterton today!!! :) We had a wonderful day… starting out with prayers and singing, we reviewed our memorisations. The stickers in the memoristation booklets prove to be a very encouraging incentive…. well done everyone! The children couldn’t wait to have a turn at trying the quotes they had memorised already!

Selflessness – when we are selfish, we are worshipping ourselves, when we become selfless, we are like stars shedding the light of truth on the world of humanity, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá tells us. The more selfless we become the better we are able to help change our world into a better place and bring about the unity of humankind. One is honourable if one arises to serve others; one is wretched and low when one ignores the good of society and thinks only of selfish interests.

“If man be imbued with all good qualities but be selfish, all the other virtues will fade or pass away and eventually he will grow worse.” –Bahá’u’lláh 

After also looking at today’s quote on selflessness, we then learnt a new song called ‘Kam Kam, Ruz Beh Ruz – Little by Little, Day by Day’. (you can find it here: http://www.ruhi.org/resources/songs/25_KAM_KAM.mp3)

Our story for today was about an old farmer and his meeting a king. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá often used to tell stories to illustrate praiseworthy qualities, and this is one of them. (Ruhi Book 3a, p36) The old farmer is planting trees, and when the king asks him about why he would do that, even though he might be long dead when these trees finally bear fruit, the farmer replies, that he enjoyed eating fruit all his life, off trees that people before him had planted. So he is now planting trees for the people after him. The king is so happy with this answer, that he gives the farmer a gold coin. The farmer smiles and says that these trees had borne fruit already, although he only just put them in the ground…

After some warm up drama exercises, we enacted this lovely story, with the children taking turns being the king and farmer, the king’s horse and bystanders. They are definitely developing more skills – it’s fantastic to see!

 …the farmer and the king…

To remind us of this story of selflessness, we did some crafts, and ‘created’ some trees – and the odd farmer and king seems to pop up as well :)

Beautiful work everyone! and thanks again for hosting our class – it’s been so much fun! ;)

Grade 2 – lesson 2: Joyfulness

“Joy gives us wings! In times of joy our strength is more vital, our intellect keener, and our understanding less clouded…” tells us ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (in Paris Talks). And this was our theme for today’s lesson. :) I’ve created a pdf for downloading – check it out here. We talked about how bringing joy to someone’s heart (especially when they are not well) can make them feel soooo much better. The children even had ideas of going to visit people at a hospital and bringing a pet along for patting, to bring joy to people’s hearts. Mmmh – we’ll have to look into how we can best do that as a service project.

We reviewed the memorisation of last week (Blessed is the spot) and practiced the new quote: “O Son of Man! Rejoice in the gladness of thine heart, that thou mayest be worthy to meet Me and to mirror forth My beauty.” Then we shared today’s story about Leroy Ioas meeting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, when He visited Chicago, which you can find in the lesson pdf or on page 30 in Ruhi Book 3a (Teaching Children’s Classes Grade 2).

Drama was great fun today – the exercises comprised of pretending to be candle, melting while counting back from 10.

…they did splendidly! ;) After enacting a scenario (see the lesson pdf for details) of how 3 friends figured out how to bring joy to their hearts by supporting one of them who hurt themselves, we moved on to singing (Joy by Nancy Ward) and then crafts. Starting out with making tissue-paper flowers (like the bouquet, that Leroy Ioas had bought for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá), we went on to create a whole garden, meant to bring joy to everyone’s heart!

…so much joy, so little time :) it was a lovely lesson – thanks everyone! Well done!

 

Grade 2 – Lesson 1: Forgiveness

We started with the second book in the Ruhi Curriculum for children’s classes today – our first lesson was about ‘forgiveness’. The lesson structures are quite similar to the ones in grade 1 – learning prayers, memorising quotations, songs, stories, art and something new – drama! :)

Our first prayer to learn off by heart, was one that we had used many times in singing. “Blessed is the spot…” Our favourite version of the melody is based on strong regular drumming rhythm (we used plastic pots and out laps to drum on), which the children did REALLY well with!

We then moved on to memorise our quote for today: “…let your adorning be forgiveness and mercy and that which cheereth the hearts of the well-favoured of God.” (Bahá’u’lláh) After discussed the meaning of the tricky words, the children were very in quick in memorising it. Well done everyone!

I still need to create the ‘downloadabale’ worksheets for these new lessons, but if you have access to the book “Teaching Children’s Classes – Grade 2″ (ISBN-1-876322-56-X), the story for lesson 1 is on page 26. It’s a beautiful example of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá showing the utmost forgiveness to the governor of ‘Akka, even after he sought to do Him wrong.

Before moving on to painting, we did our first warm-up exercises in drama. Learning to control our bodies within a given space (square) and interacting with each other in creative drama. The execises are beautifully explained on pages 27 and 28. It was a very joyful experience and the unity in our class today was heart-warming!

See you all next time – I hope to have some more lesson info up next week…. ;)

UPDATE: here is the write-up forlesson #1 ‘forgiveness’ – yay! I’ll post them to the Lessons page as well, as they become available.

Lesson 9 : Compassion – think of the other person first…

…how can we show compassion? And why do we need to? We used the Virtues Guide for reference to discuss what compassion is, and how we can practice it: looking after a family member who is sick, feeding someone who is hungry, helping a friend who is stuck with his homework, caring for a pet, etc. The children had quite a few ideas!

As an example, we looked at and read the story of Lua Getsinger, who is wanting to help ‘Abdul’-Bahá in ‘Akká. He sends her off to look after a sick man, but she is so revolted by the state he is and lives in, that she runs back to the Master. He becomes quite sad and tells her, that if she wants to serve God, she must serve this man – if he is sick, she must tend him, if his house is dirty, she must clean it … which she then goes back to do, exactly as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá asked her.

We thought that this story showed us quite well, that we not only need to think of other people and show them compassion, but actually think of them BEFORE ourselves (of course, that’s not always easy :)!) The memorisation was a breeze again – these children are amazing!!

“Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself.” –Bahá’u’lláh

As a cute reminder of compassion – we made a series of animal finger puppets – find a template with some of the animal shapes here. The children had much fun colouring, naming and cutting out the little shapes and play little improvisation skits with their animal pets…

That was it for today – please note: there is no class next Sunday (29th of May), but we’re back  on the 5th of June (Queens Birthday weekend). Have a lovely couple of weeks!

Lesson 2 : Have a pure, kind and radiant heart

What a beautiful day we had to learn about purity of heart. So much sunshine, in and outside the classroom :) After prayers, we started our lesson with learning a new quote by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

“He is God!  O God, my God!  Bestow upon me a pure heart, like unto a pearl.”

The beautifully illustrated version of it, was our colouring in activity at the end of class too. (See today’s lesson in pdf format for a copy of it.)

The story we read today, was from a new book, called ‘Daily Reflections and Stories for Children‘. It is compiled by Munirih Hodge and Margo Styan – and the short stories are beautiful – 19 different ones, all arranged by virtues and spiritual qualities. The one we read today, was about two visitors who came to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. They didn’t like each other at all, but ‘Abdu’l-Bahá showed them how to be friends and told them ‘My home is the home of joy and delight. My home is the home of laughter … Whoever enters through the portals of this home must go out with a gladsome heart.” They left the house the best of friends. :)

To visualise how precious our hearts are and how practicing kindness and radiance can help us to keep them pure, just like a pearl – our craft was inspired by shells and pearls. See the pics for details…

 

After playing musical statues with Stefan Brown’s ‘Kindness’ song, we settled down for some calming colouring in. Well done everyone! What a lovely class!

Next week we’re having a special class as it’s ‘Ayyam-i-Há – the time of hospitality, celebrating unity and gifts… We’ll keep you posted on what’s planned, as soon as we have all details sorted :)

Lesson 23 : Humility

We started our class today with prayers as usual. While doing so, we tried to take on a humble posture, as if we would be approaching a king. The children did very well!

Book 3 has a beautiful little song for this lesson called ‘Be like the Earth’. I’ve just found this great wikisite with all the lesson’s songs here. The imagery created by the words of the song, inspired our art activity for today – gorgeous and lush collages of trees, gardens and everything on the earth…

We were all quite addicted to making collages, letting it take up most of our lesson time :) We did have time for a quick story about how ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was a perfect example of humility. You’ll find it on page 32 of Ruhi Book 3.

To finish off today’s lesson, we started learning a new prayer – which has been put to music most beautifully by Tara Ellis. It is a prayer by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and goes like this:

O God!  Refresh and gladden my spirit.  Purify my heart.  Illumine my powers.  I lay all my affairs in Thy hand.  Thou art my Guide and my Refuge.  I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being.  O God!  I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me.  I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.

O God!  Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself.  I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.

You’ll find all details for this lesson on the ‘lesson‘ page. See you all next week – where we learn more about Compassion.

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