Monday, November 09, 2009

On Prayers, Songs, Coloring, and Playing a Game: Key ingredients of Ruhi-style Children's Classes

Due to a most wonderful event, my daughter's wedding, and the opportunity to spend the weekend celebrating with family, I did not participate in the children's class on the Hilltop as I normally do. The class was in very good hands, however, as this Monday morning report from one of the Baha'i teachers is a clear indication. -gw

Photo: "December 7, 2007 - Kenya. Notice the Baha'i Greatest Name on the wall." Uploaded on February 1, 2008 by Departure Lounge on flickr

Three of us along with four children visited with dear Kenyan friends Sunday afternoon. The delightful young mother was home together with her mother, two teenage boys I’d not previously met, and four children who had participated previously in classes. Their uncle was not in thehome as he’d gone to teach an Arabic class in Kent. We visited a while with mother & the baby while the grandmother worked on embroidering a bedspread and the teenagers were watching a soccer match on TV.

Then we offered to share some prayers. The kids were called to come join us and we began our class, with the grandmother and teenagers in the room. The mother was fully engaged and kept the baby in the heart of the action too. We shared some prayers, but the boys felt too shy to share today in spite of their mother’s encouragement. Then we sang “We are drops” a couple of times and the boys began to join in. We reviewed some of the quotes they’d already learned like the “prefer your brother” quote and “So powerful is the light of unity..” and then reviewed the hand actions that went along with it.

When we saw how engaged the boys were with the hand motions, we decided to teach them how to sing “Blessed is the Spot” while using the hand motions, and sang that together a couple of times in English and once in Spanish. We talked about the meaning of that prayer and then introduced the quote from lesson #2 “O Son of Spirit! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart.”

We said the quote together a couple of times and then sat on the floor in a circle and rolled a small, soft ball from one person to another while saying the quote one word at a time. Then we said the quote all together a couple more times and then used the ball-rolling technique to learn each other’s names: rolling the ball to a person and asking them to say their name.

Then we pulled out the coloring sheet and while everyone colored, we used the technique in Ruhi Book 3 to illustrate the meaning of key words in the quote. Where appropriate I substituted the kids’ names for the unfamiliar names in the examples which they all enjoyed; e.g., “Hasani has to decide whether to spend his money on cookies or on a story book. His parents counsel him to buy the story book. His parents give Hasani wise counsel.”

After coloring we played a game together: I brought a small stool and challenged the kids to see how many people could fit on the stool together, using their pure, kindly, and radiant hearts to work together. They had a lot of fun trying to figure it out. We left their home at about 4.45pm. I was so happy we were able to use 4 of the 5 elements of the Ruhi-style children’s class: Prayers, songs, coloring and playing a game.

Last weekend when I taught the class, one of the children from this Muslim family asked me, "Are you Muslim?" I said that I was a Baha'i and believed in all of God's Manifestations. His sister said, "Baha'is are like Muslims." -gw

Photo: "December 7, 2007 - Kenya. Notice the Baha'i Greatest Name on the wall." Uploaded on February 1, 2008 by Departure Lounge on flickr

Posted via email from Baha'i Views

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