“Strive, that your actions day by day may be beautiful prayers…” – we started our childrens class with the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, beautifully put to music by Joe Crone, and sung by Anthony & Michael Zemke on their ‘STRIVE’ CD. (check out the video clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqIA39iOMTk – thanks Kris!)
It was a perfect lead-in to today’s theme of ‘steadfastness’. One of the virtues, that is definitely not that easy to practice, and one – we discussed – that needs a lot of effort and courage at times.
We looked at examples, where we can show steadfastness, in school, at home, when playing with friends, and found, that if we are steadfast, our friends and family will find it easier to rely on us, as we won’t ‘change our tune’ so quickly or give up, if things get hard. Using a tree as an image of steadfastness, we discussed, that by practicing this virtue, our roots will become stronger and help us withstand all the winds, blowing from different directions.
With an exercise from the ‘Brilliant Star’ Magazine (issue September/October 2010, p27) we practiced the overcoming of hurdles and obstacles, finding the letters in the image to help us fill the gaps in the words, that then formed a quote from the Bahá’í Writings:
“Courageously meet and overcome the many obstacles that stand in your way…Our afflictions, tests and trials are sometimes blessings in disguise…”
The story on overcoming hurdles illustrated beautifully, that just like when we practice for a sport and push our limits to achieve more, we can do the same with practicing to become spiritually fit. Using occasions when troubles arise to exercise a virtue – patience, forbearance, perseverance, etc.
To remind us of practicing steadfastness, we then painted some gorgeous little pet rocks, and even created their environments (pond, see, grass) – we used a fun technique with wax-crayons, drawing the outlines and then painting over them with very watery watercolours – see for yourself, the colourful results 🙂
This was our last class for this term – we’ll be back in May… 🙂 We might move the class venue to 69 Bell Street in Featherston, but will inform you all in time before the new term starts! Happy school holidays everyone…
…what does steadfastness mean? And how do you explain it to an audience of 3 to 11 year olds…?
Not an easy task, but we agreed, that there are some great examples of steadfastness – the mountains, solid steadfast, not moved by every little wind or change around them. Or trees – with their roots deep in the earth, holding on, maybe sometimes swaying in the wind, but not jumping from place to place, constantly changing their mind.
Looking at the Virtues Guide (p 237 onwards) we learned that being steadfast also means being true – to someone or something. To stick with it, even if there are obstacles in the way.
To help us with learning our quote for today’s lesson, we traced our feet, and decorated them into beautiful footprints. These we then layed on the ground like footprints on a path and practiced the words, while steping from footprint to footprint.
The children did very well! It’s amazing to see how movement and interaction with the words, helps them memorise the quotes much quicker.
We finished our class with a game of “The Wolves & Goats” (see Ruhi Book 1, page 30) – where we set up a little obstacle course with cushions, representing the bridge the goats have to cross. Under this bridge a family of wolves are sleeping, they love to gobble up goats, but only do so if they hear them. So as soon as the wolves stop snoring, the goats (children) have to freeze. A great game to get everyone involved!
Oh – and of course, we started today’s class with singing along to the beautiful video ‘Strive’ – check it out here:
Have a great week everyone – see you next Sunday – where we’ll talk about ‘Humility’. 🙂