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Lesson 6 / Obey God’s Commandments at all times

Haere mai – nau mai o Te Whakakotahitanga o te Rāwhiti!

Starting out as usual with our songs and prayers – the children select their favourite prayers to read at the start of each class.

Today’s lesson for the older children was the last one of set 2, in Grade 2. By striving our utmost every day to follow God’s commandments and to put into action His teachings, we can show our faithfulness. Teachings and counsels such as daily prayer to sustain our souls; not speaking ill of others (backbiting); treating animals with kindness; learning a profession or trade… there are MANY things God wants us to do.

To not get overwhelmed, we can follow ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s counsel: kam kam, ruz beh ruz (little by little, day by day!) – it’s the effort that counts! 🙂 That way we don’t need to get discouraged by our own shortcomings, but can focus on the good things we do an do them better/more every day.

We practiced the quote for today’s lesson together first and then some of the children had a go at saying it off by heart already. Well done! If you’d like a copy of the booklet we use with all the quotes in it – you can download it here (pdf file).

Our story was another one about Hájí Muhammad – this time he’s the master marksman, out hunting birds. He happens to come upon a group of Bahá’ís who are on an outing with Bahá’u’lláh. Bahá’u’lláh asks him not to go and shoot innocent birds. But Hájí Muhammad forgets to follow this counsel and tries to shoot many a bird, small, big fast or slow – but he misses each time. Astonished he slowly realises, that Bahá’u’lláh had given him a direct command, not to kill innocent birds, which he had ignored.

The children then did some painting – to illustrate some of the commandments of God – kindness to animals, or learning a trade/profession…

We finished off our class with some drama exercises, improvisations and a game of bus-driver. Where all children stand in a row, hands on each others shoulder – the children in front close their eyes, the person in the back is the bus driver. He directs the bus, by gently signalling/tapping the left or right shoulder of the child in front, and the signal gets passed on, so the whole bus knows where to go. It’s a lot of fun!

Lesson 5 / Obey God’s Commandments for the love of His Beauty

Out of His infinite love, God has given us laws and teachings to live by. These laws and teachings are like lamps that illumine our path. Through their light, we are able to see how it is that God wants us to live. This was the inspiration to today’s craft in our class – colourful lamps! (made of simple glass jars, with bits of tissue paper glued all around them…)

I’m sure these beautiful creations will help the children remember our quote for today:

‘Observe My commandments, for the love of My beauty.’ – Bahá’u’llah

After finishing our lovely lamps – we read the story about Haji Muhammad who was a great example of joyful obedience, following Bahá’u’lláh’s instructions immediately. He was sent on a voyage by ship from Akka to Jeddah, but in his hurry to obey Bahá’u’lláh’s instructions, he forgot to ask, what he was supposed to do when he got there. He wasn’t perturbed at all, even when it got unusually stormy and many passengers were worried for their lives. Haji Muhammad trusted he would get to where he was sent and upon arriving in Jeddah heard two people speaking Persian (Haji Muhammad’s language too) and after approaching them, found out they were trying to find their way to Bahá’u’lláh’s presence. They had been imprisoned for being Baha’is for 10 years, and had just been released. This was their first journey to the Holy Land and needed assistance. Haji Muhammad now knew what his mission on this trip was – to help these two souls find their way to Akka and the presence of Bahá’u’lláh.

We then used some of the drama warm-up excercises – walking along our imaginary squares, stretching tall and melting into a little puddle of wax, like a candle. We also played another round of ‘FREEZE’ (see last weeks post) as it seems to be a favourite with the children. And to learn some more cooperative skills, we used another exercise, where children together have to create a shape the teacher calls out – circle, straight line, triangle, square, etc.without talking to each other.

We finished today’s class with further practicing of the unity prayer, that we have put to music now. We didn’t get a chance to record it today, hope to do so next time 🙂 It’s sounding really good!

This was the last class for this school term – the holidays start next weekend. We’ll take a break too and see you all back on Sunday 29 April, 10am to noon, as usual! Ka kite ano!

Lesson 4 / part two: Obedience to God’s Laws

We finished lesson 4 of Grade 2 today – looking at more aspects of Obedience to God’s Laws. We took a closer look at the quote that goes with this lesson:

O Son of Being! My love is My stronghold; he that entereth therein is safe and secure, and he that turneth away shall surely stray and perish.

We discussed the meaning of what a stronghold is – a castle, a fort, something with thick walls, a moat even, that keeps you safe inside. This is how we pictured God’s love for us, as keeping us safe and secure, as long as we stay within its strong walls (His Laws). To help us remember the quote, the children drew their own forts and castles.

We also finished our song/melody to go with the unity prayer we started practicing last week – still a little bit of refining to do – but it sounds totally awesome! Will try and record it next week to share with you all! 🙂

For our drama portion, we used some of the warm up exercises from lesson 4 – ‘FREEZE’ is a simple exercise, where the students move about the room (without bumping into each other!) and try and move as much and loosely as possible. When the teacher calls out ‘FREEZE!’ everyone freezes in the position they’re in. The teacher then goes around shouldertapping each student, asking them what they are doing. The student tries to find an explanation why they’re standing in such a ‘funny’ position. The kids love it – we did at least 5 or more tries!

We had all sorts of interesting explanations – I’m dancing, I’m taking pictures, I’m telling someone off, I’m in a hurry, etc. We’ll definitely play this one again!

That was it for today – see you next week. It’s our last class of the school term again already…

Lesson 4 (grade 2) on Obedience to God’s Laws

Today we started the second set of Grade 2. Each of the 7 sets in Grade 2 have 3 lessons, that concentrate on one theme – the last set (lessons 1 to 3) was on Prayer, this second one now is on Obedience to God’s Laws. We will probably dedicate two classes to each lesson, as we don’t seem to be able to pack everything into one – so bear with us as we make our way through them 🙂

Each set has a new prayer that the children are encouraged to memorise. For the last one we used memorisation cards – this time we decided to come up with our own tune to memorise the prayer (see copy below). We’re half-way there already – hopefully I’ll be able to post an audio file, when we’re done next week!!!

We took a thorough look at the words in this prayer, to make sure all children understood the meaning. (Eg. unite = bring together; commandments= binding instructions; endeavour= undertaking, service, the act of following God’s law, etc).

Then we talked about how laws (in general) keep people happy, safe and content. The children were sharing some laws they knew and scenarios of what would happen if they wouldn’t be observed.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá tells us that life was created for happiness, not for sorrow, for pleasure, not for grief. It is through following God’s loving guidance and living according to His teachings that we find true happiness – a happiness that will last forever.

Drama

For our drama portion of the class, we enacted the lesson’s story of the ‘King and his minister (and the cabbage)’. In short it goes like this:

The king tells his minister that he heard that cabbage is bad for you, to which the minister replies, he’ll immediately tell the cook to not serve it anymore. A short while later, the king eats some cabbage and finds it most pleasing, telling his minister so. The minister immediately says he’ll inform the cook to cook it often now. The kings asks him what he’ll tell the cooks when they ask why he changed his mind about cabbage? Minister: “I will tell the cook that I am the servant of the king, not the servant of the cabbage. What is pleasing in Your sight is pleasing in mine.”

The children took turns in the roles of the king/queen, minister, cook (and pot), as well as the cabbage. 🙂

Well done everyone – can’t wait to finish composing our melody for the unity prayer next week – see you all then!

The younger children (3-5s) made beautiful windsocks, with quotes about service on them (sorry, the photographer was a bit slow in catching them whizzing past....)

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