Sunday, November 01, 2009

On This Weekend I Do My First Baha'i Children's Class: "Prefer Your Brother" was the hit of the day

My daughter is getting married next weekend.  Today was the bridal shower for her in our home. I was given permission to be out of the house, however. What's a guy to do?
I picked up a big box of crayons at Target, did a quick review of Ruhi Book 3, got an angle on a lesson plan, drove over to South Sheridan Street on Hilltop, and did a Baha'i children's class. My first, solo.
I didn't want to ask the friends from the other side of the cluster, Helen and Tahirih, who were kind enough to conduct the class last Sunday to have to drive here again this week. Better to have folks closer conduct the class. The teacher of another on-going children's class in the Hilltop neighbrohood and fellow teaching & consolidation team member, Deb, had plans to be with fam and friends this Sunday. So I stepped up.
I brought my crutch, my iPod with its 4400 songs. That meant I could call on not just one version of "Prefer Your Brother," but four.
I knew from the experience last week that coloring would be a hit. I had already noticed how culturally appropriate the coloring pages are at the back of Book 3, which I'd copied, for this Kenyan Muslim family. And I got a tray of crayons that popped up into three tiers, which I thought the kids would like.  
I started off having the children start coloring and invited them to sing along to the song they were introduced to last week, "We Are Drops." The joined in immediately. That gave me confidence. And it all flowed from there.
The 12-year old started to sing a song she learned at school. It was "The Water Is Wide," which I have in my song collection, a version by Pete Seeger with choir. I thought, "How odd she knows that song." And then I thought, "No, it's not." I played a bit of Pete's recorded version.
"Prefer Your Brother" was the hit of the day. I played three different version. They caught onto the words quickly. More importantly, then understood the concepts behind the song and were able to explain them perfectly. They will remember the song and lyrics, no question.
The children impressively recited Qu'ranic verses, too.
I also played some Nabil and Karim, the "My Prayer." I thought these Hilltop kids might like hip-hop, too. They did. They asked me if I had any LilWayne. I didn't.
But really, it was the songs they could sing along to that they liked the best.
I wished I had some songs in Swahili or other songs from West Africa. They had a tape of a singer named Kofi. They recommended Awilo . I'll have to look into them.
After 45 minutes, I was thinking that I should probably go. Just then, Arbai came home. She is the 25 year-old mom who was raising 8 children in that home, some of her own and some of her sister's, the sister being deceased, I believer. A teenager boy and a young man also joined us. And Arbai clearly wanted to be in on the class, too. So we sang the songs again we had learned before. She began coloring right along with her kids. It was beautiful.
I was in the home for 90 minutes. A 90-minute Baha'i class that went by in a flash.
Next weekend I won't be able to do the class, because family will be around because of my daughter's wedding and celebration. So someone else will be enlisted. Whether a newby or an old salt, they will be thrilled with the reception at the home on South Sheridan. I'll be experiencing a different kind of reception, the one after my daughter's wedding. -gw

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