Monday, July 23, 2007

On Bringing Baha'i Children's Classes to the Children: MissB and the Boys:

There is something so awe-inspiring about the fact that Baha'i communities are no longer satisfied to have children's classes for Baha'i children at locations that are convenient for Baha'is but are increasingly taking children's classes to where large numbers of children and their families reside, whether Baha'i or not, often meeting in apartment complexes. MissB in Minneapolis describes such an effort. -gw

"My friends at our children's class. The boy on the right is one of my favorite kids. Today when we talked about Abdu'l-Baha and the meaning of his name (Servant of the glory), he said 'immmpressive!' He went on to say this about Jesus, my camera, and Eddie fitting into a kid's lakers jersey. It was his word of the day." Uploaded on July 15, 2007 by m_ninja on flickr

My friends and I have been doing a Baha'i children's class at their apartment building in Minneapolis. All the kids are Oromo, Ethiopian, or Somali, and we usually only find boys. Today we talked about purity of heart, and I sat with one of the younger boys, Abel, talking about the picture he was coloring in and the quote at the bottom of it: "My first counsel is this; possess a pure, kindly, and radiant heart."

The conversation led to what he does to help his parents and siblings, and he said "I hug them, and I give them flowers ... and trophies!"

I noticed that these kids talk about God a whole lot. Some are Muslim, some Christian - most of them think about God every day (or at least hear about God from their parents). As we talked about a story of Abdu'l-Baha, one boy - the one in the picture, on the right asked me who I think God is. This was actually a difficult question. I've never tried to explain my belief in God to a child before. I thought back to a beautiful discussion in one of the books of the "Ruhi" curriculum, a sequence of courses that are part of an international training institute, designed for people of every background and religion. The discussion that came to mind was a hypothetical one laid out in Book 6 between a young girl named Anna and her friend Emilia, where Anna explains to her friend many important concepts within the Baha'i Faith, including God. The tough part was making this accessible to a child who has only learned English in the past several months and has his own ideas of who God is. Still, I'm glad I opened my mouth and said something rather than backing out and avoiding his important question.

I really love all of them so much. The one on the left has a sweetness about him, I can't put my finger on it, but he just melts my heart. Today at the end of the class, which we do every Saturday and plan to keep doing, he said "Hey! Maybe we can do this again next week!"

missb, "Let's hear it for the boys," missb's blog

{Re-posted with permission}


dan said...

I just replied to this post before realizing you linked to it. Baha'i children's classes are awesome! Teaching children really makes you aware how truly special and essential a service it is, and how great are the blessings connected with it. The fact that Baha'is are selflessly bringing this service to the world at large is refreshing and inspiring.


Marjan said...

The blog Dan linked to above has been so useful. It's been helpful to learn about what it looks like to apply the lessons in Ottawa and how the teachers are connecting with parents.