Lesson 14 : Being a trustworthy friend

This is a beautiful overview of the lesson from last Sunday – sorry, I was away, that’s why I’m a bit late – but Lily has compiled it all for sharing here:

1. Revise last week’s lesson – friendship

2. Recite prayer – ‘O God, refresh and gladden my spirit…’

3. Explain and discuss today’s lesson

a. Brainstorm what trusting another person looks like:

Here are some ideas of what a trustworthy person looks like to start with.

(Add your class’s own ideas) A person you can trust:

– Tells the truth

– Honors his/ her promises to another

– Obeys the rules and laws even when no one is looking

– is honest (would never steal, cheat, or lie)

– is wise (He/she listen carefully to others and gives advice that is helpful to others.)


b.  Brainstorm what trusting in God looks like. Read some or all of the quotes that are included for this lesson:

“Supplemental Quotations for Ruhi Book 3, Children’s Lesson 15”.

You can write on a large piece of paper ideas generated from the quotes and add others as you think of them. These can be posted during Activity no. 3, 4, 5 and 6. After hearing from books or told by individuals, you can add other ideas to the above list.


4. Children copy the quote into their workbook:

“The source of all good is trust in God, submissions unto His command, and contentment with His holy will and pleasure”.

5. Art n craft: Make a card to thank someone for being a person you can trust.

The card does not have to be made for people you can actually give it to even though that is very nice. It can honor those who have died or people whose name or address are unknown. A display can made of the cards and include “People we would like to thank for being trustworthy.”

6. Story:

One day a woman came to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá with her sorrows. As she told her story,‘Abdu’l-Bahá tried to calm her and said, “Don’t be sad now, don’t be sad.”

The Woman said, “My brother has been in prison for three years. He should not have been imprisoned because it was not his fault. He was weak and followed others. He will be in prison for four more years. My mother and father are full of sorrow all the time. My brother in law used to take care of us, but he has just died.”

The Master could see the whole human story. Here was a family which was experiencing every form of misery-they were poor, they were weak, they were sad, disgraced, and without any hope whatsoever.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “You must trust in God.”

“But,” the woman cried, “the more I trust, the worse things become!”

“You have never trusted,” said ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

“But my mother is reading the Bible all of the time,” she said. “She does not deserve that God should leave her so helpless! I read the Bible myself; I say the 91st Psalm and the 23rd Psalm every night before I go to bed. I pray too.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá looked at her lovingly and said, “To pray is not to read the Bible. To pray is to trust in God and accept His Will. You must be patient and accept the Will of God, then things will change for you. Put your family in God’s hands. Trust in God and love His Will. Strong ships are not conquered by the sea; they ride the waves! Now be a strong ship, not a battered one.”

From “Stories About‘Abdu’l-Bahá” by Gloria Faizi. 

6. Game: Trust

  1. In pairs, one blind folded and the other one is to lead him to somewhere e.g tree and let him feel the tree.  Change over.
  2. Objects are scattered in an indoor or outdoor place.  In pairs, one person verbally guides his/her partner, a blindfolded person, through the minefield. 

7. Closing:

  • Children sit around and share how they feel about the activity. Did they trust the person leading them? Why/why not?
  • Recite the quote and prayer

Thank you Lily – looks like the children had an awesome time!!! 🙂


Lesson 13 : Being a good friend

In this fifth set of lessons in grade two, we’re looking at how to be a good friend. Lesson 13 focuses on the one true friend, that we will always have by our side – God. Because he loves each one of us and cares for us all, He overlooks our shortcomings and forgives us when we forget to follow His guidance. Knowing that God is there for us always, makes us feel we’re never alone. Of course, there are many other friends we have as well, some stay with us for a long time, some come and go. It’s these relationships we need to nourish and look after.

We’ve decided to choose a different prayer to learn by heart for this set of lessons – it is this one:

We decided to memorise it by learning the tune with it – haven’t quite decided which one yet, either from Anthony and Michael’s Strive CD or Tara Ellis’ Devotions.

After spending quite a bit of time on making sure we understand all the words in this prayer, we moved on to making friendship bracelets – yay!

We used this lovely tutorial for an easy way of braiding the fishbone pattern bracelets. Using embroidery cotton (get cheap 5 colour packs from the Warehouse, for approx NZ$2.50), the children made some gorgeous bracelets – we might have to do this again, it was fun!

To finish off, we shared the story of Howard Kelly – and the famous story A GLASS OF MILK. Unfortunately we ran out of time to look at the other story in the lesson and do any of the drama. But we might be able to complete that next week.

See you all then!

Lesson 12 – Cooperation

From the lesson intro text:

Many things cannot be done by one person alone. Without cooperation, little can be accomplished in this world. Think of all the people of the past who have worked together to help improve the world! Advances in medicine, the quality of the food we grow, discover ways to communicate with people in far-off places….

And we, too, work together in harmony in our class here, in our families and at school. Sometimes this means that we must be ready to give up what we want for ourselves for the good of the whole. We show kindness to those with whom we are working and patience when someone makes a mistake.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá often spoke about the importance of cooperation. Human beings are meant to cooperate and associate with one another. Through association, He told us, we find happiness and develop, as individuals and collectively as a group.

To illustrate the theme of today’s lesson – the children shared the story of Nettie Tobin and the cornerstone. They then cooperated on a joint ‘book-making’ project, where each of the children took on a specific part of the story and illustrated it, to then be collated into a beautiful little book ‘Netty’s Rock’. What a wonderful job everyone!

The book is currently at home with one of the collaborators, and we’ll show more pics next time. Here is the making of…


The last page of the children’s book contains the quote for today’s lesson:

“The supreme need of humanity is cooperation and reciprocity.” – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá


Lesson 11 – Being fair, contributes to unity & harmony

We know that all the peoples of the world are meant to live in unity as one family. In a family, everyone is treated with fairness. We learn to find ways to work together for everyone’s benefit. The well-being of every member is connected to the well-being of the family as a whole. Should harm come to one member, all are affected. Similarly , we should be fair in our dealings with all those who cross our path, never taking advantage of anyone. We strive to show forth such fairness and justice in our daily lives that we become worthy of the trust and confidence of our fellow human beings. (Introduction from the Ruhi Curriculum, lesson 11, Set 4, Grade 2)

We used an activity from the Australian Peace Pack to supplement today’s lesson. Using the quote by Bahá’u’lláh:

“Be vigilant, that ye may not do injustice to anyone, be it to the extent of a grain of mustard seed.”

…we created a beautiful little piece of art – with a nest made of tissue paper, and a tiny mustard seed stuck in the middle of it. So tiny in fact, that we lost several of them until we managed to tape one into the centre of our ‘nests’. It definitely helped visualise that we have to be fair at all times, and can’t let injustice happen – even though it might only be to the extent of a grain of mustard!

For drama, we started out with warm up exercises and some playing with out voices – using the expression ‘Oh!’ in lots of different ways: as if someone had stepped on our foot; as if we’re sleepy; as if someone is giving us a present; etc…. there were some amazing sounds coming out of the children! 🙂

The scenario we enacted was based on the harvest story – the villagers have to harvest all their fruit, as big storm is supposed to come, just as they set out, the teacher approaches them, saying he needs help with fixing the school’s roof, as last time there was a storm all the books got wet. The villagers decide that some should go and help fix the roof. Then this scenario plays out in two different ways – in the evening when everyone is back from picking fruit/fixing the roof, the people who picked the fruit first don’t want to share them with everyone. In the second setting, they decide that since everyone has done something for the village they should share all the food and have a big feast.

There’s been some great acting and very creative use of props (I think it was a couple of yoga mats that were used for fixing that roof …) Well done everyone!

See you all next week, when we’ll look at another aspect of living in harmony – through co-operation.

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!

Lesson 10 – and welcome back :)

We had our first childrens’ class today, after the school holidays. Welcome back everyone! After some beautiful prayers read by all children and some pretty impressive poi-action, waiata, and morning tea, the older class launched into Set 4 of Grade 2.

This set of lessons (3) is all about living in Harmony. And the first one, about the importance of unity. As with the previous 3 sets, we started learning a new prayer. To help us do so, we created a ‘mural’ containing all the imagery of the beautiful language used.

Our students today worked hard to plan their mural of the prayer…

This is the complete prayer:

O Lord God!

Make us as waves of the sea, as flowers of the garden, united, agreed through the bounties of Thy love. O Lord! Dilate the breasts through the signs of Thy oneness, and make all mankind as stars shining from the same height of glory, as perfect fruits growing upon Thy tree of life.

Verily, Thou art the Almighty, the Self-Subsistent, the Giver, the Forgiving, the Pardoner, the Omniscient, the One Creator.

We then looked at one part of the drama activity for this lesson – the story of a hand, where the fingers fight and then decided they don’t really need the thumb. The thumb agrees to just go and have a rest and leave other fingers to fend for themselves – when they try to pick up a pen and write, or close some buttons, or even catch a ball, they run into troubles. Realising, they can’t quite do it without the thumb. They make peace and start working together again – even though they’re all different – short, long, bending this way and that – they are very strong when working in unity and harmony.

…fingers fighting…

…and fingers working in harmony 🙂

We finished our lesson for today by making little ‘hand-puppets’, out of popsicle sticks and foam-hand-shapes, to remind us of the story, that even though we’re all different and have different roles, looks etc – we’re only reaching our real strength when we work together.

Next week we’ll continue with our lesson and work through the story and drama elements we didn’t get to today. See you all then!

Last class for this term – Crafts! :)

Happy end of term everyone!

We had our last class today and as our last few lessons were all about knowledge and learning the sciences, arts and crafts, we finished our term with a very crafty session! yay! Sewing handpuppets, stuffed eye-monsters and sausage dogs; harakeke weaving, pompom making, and baking delicious banana chocolate chip muffins…What a wonderful way to finish up – enjoy the pictures and see you back on the 22nd of July!

And here something to share for next month’s Maori Language Week – the unity Prayer in Te Reo (the link below lets you download a pdf version of it). We’ll be practicing it more in new term. Ka kite anō.

Unity Prayer in Maori

Lesson 9 – Gaining knowledge is a life-long process

We spend our lives learning about the world around us. It’s a life-long process that never stops, for as long as we live. True understanding brings joy to our hearts, therefore it’s important to ask questions about the things we discover.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá tells us that truth is one. No matter what angle we look at it from, or where we find it. To find the truth, we must let go of prejudice and superstition and keep our minds open at all times. Looking for answers in sometimes the most unusual places.

To finish our unit on ‘knowledge’ we spent quite some time memorising the prayer from 3 lessons ago. First we cut up the prayer sheet into strips to then assemble the puzzle pieces and then flipped over more and more strips to remember the words by the little ‘pictures’ only…

Assembling the lines of the prayer – a team effort!

To memorise, we then removed more and more ‘lines’…

…eventually having removed them all, and just using the little ‘pictures’ as a reminder.

All children then got to fill in the gaps in their memorsation booklets with stickers, for a wonderful effort!

Yay! we did it – stickers symbolise the achievement of having learnt by heart this prayer.

After our big memorisation activity, we read the story for lesson 9. It is about an amazing early Bahá’í named Táhirih. Whe was born in Persia in the early 1800s. At that time, it wasn’t customary for women to receive any schooling, but Táhirih had an insatiable thirst for knowledge, was well read and eager to always learn more. Even though she could not sit in a class with men, she would sit behind a curtain, hidden from view, just so she could deepen her understanding and broaden her knowledge… We’ll learn more about Táhirih in  a later lesson, of how she become one of the most outstanding heroines of the Bahá’í Faith and a champion of the cause for women. Her courage was unwavering and she dedicated her life to learning and gaining knowledge. Composing beautiful poetry and articles that reflected her deep understanding of the teachings of God.

We then finished off with the drama session for today – a collectively enacted story about the ‘search for truth’. A group of children try to find out why their river which has always been flowing steady and abundantly, had dried up. Walking, climbing and running up to the mountain to get to the river’s source. Eventually they realise that the source is unblemished and running free, but that there is a blockage further down the track, that’s diverting the water. The children join forces and push the huge tree trunk out of the way, so the water can flow steadily down the mountain again. 🙂

Next Sunday is the last class of this term. As we didn’t get a chance to do a lot of art/crafts today, we decided to have a special arts/craft session – we’ll be baking (muffins!) and sewing some soft-toys! Any contributions of material, buttons, thread, etc. would be greatly appreciated! See you all then!

Lesson 8 / Knowledge helps us contribute to the betterment of the world

Our current set of lessons is all about ‘knowledge’. To start out today’s session, we conducted a little ‘science’ experiment. See the video and pictures below!

Getting the paper lantern ready…

The lantern filling quickly with hot air…

The Magic Lantern Experiment from Leyla Neilsen on Vimeo.

…and it flies!!!

After lots of excitement about the lantern  (and speculations on its landing) and a promise, to do this again sometime – we continued with our lessons. To concluded our ‘knights of knowledge’ activities from the previous classes with a QUEST. Using this copymaster (God’s_Tokens_Quest), we used one set of the larger ‘tags’ and stuck them to the outside of paper cups, placing them around the room (sun, rain, sky, mountains, etc). Then each child cut out a set of the little tags with various ‘tokens’ of God, which we can find all around us in nature. Each child then went on a quest, walking around the room to place these tokens into the appropriate cups.

Once all tokens were placed, the children took turns in reading out what tokens can be found in nature – eg. Mountain: steadfast, grandeur, majesty, etc. Animals: kind, caring, companion, etc… it was a beautiful example to see how much nature can teach us about God.

Moving to Lesson 8, today’s aspect of knowledge was about ‘using knowledge for the betterment of the world’. We discussed how knowledge can help us learn things that we can then use to make our world a better place – eg. become a doctor, to help sick peeople, become a cook, to feed people, an architect to build safe houses to live in, a teacher to teach others, and many more ideas were shared!

Reading the wonderful story of Dr Susan Moody, who was a female doctor from Chicago in the early 1900s and agrees to move to Iran, to become a doctor for women and later opening a school for girls, was very inspiring and we used our drama time to enact her story. See the pictures below…

Well done everyone! We will practice our memorisation again next week – as we ran out of time today – but here it is if you have time before next week to practise it:

Exert every effort to acquire the various branches of knowledge and true understanding. Strain every nerve to achieve both material and spiritual accomplishments. -‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Lesson 7 / Knowledge of God : part II

Today we continued our quest in gaining more knowledge of God. Our fabulous ‘Knights of Knowledge’ finished creating their armour, to be ready for the search of truth and answers… chest plates, provision bags, matches, swords and much more was added to the ‘equipment’.


We then started learning the new prayer for this unit. To help us memorise the words and understand the concepts within, we created a series of ‘pictograms’.

Do you know a melody, that goes with this prayer? If so please share it in the comments below – we’d love to learn it! Have found an ‘old’ one by Mary Davis but it doesn’t cover the whole prayer, only the first few lines.

We finished off today’s lesson by playing the game initiator/investigator – everyone stands in a circle, one person (investigator) steps outside for a minute. The rest of the group decide who the initiator is, and he/she starts various actions for everyone to follow (clapping, stamping, jumping, etc…). The investigator is called back in to stand in the centre of the circle, trying to find out who the initiator is. We had to play at least 8 rounds! 🙂 Fun game!

There won’t be a class next weekend, as it’s ‘Queens Birthday’ weekend and two of our teachers are away. See you all back on the 10th of June.

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