Sunday, November 18, 2012


Thanksgiving is around the corner, and so thankfulness seemed a timely virtue to focus our attention on. We began memorizing:

'Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face...' Abdu'l-Baha
(We are using #13 from the cd, Angels in the World)

Lucie was our mail carrier today (we have a rotating 'Helping Hands' chart)

She found our new 'thankfulness' gem. I had planned to have each child say something they were thankful for as the gem made it's way around the circle, but alas we were a little wild today and this didn't happen.

We read our weekly letter and 'My Book about Thankfulness' from the Radiant Hearts materials (a fantastic resource, if you haven't already explored it.)

Then we had a conversation about about how it is easy to be thankful when, say, it is your birthday and you are surrounded by presents and cake and friends. But Abdu'l-Baha is asking us to be thankful even in times of 'adversity.' And that is not easy at all. Whenever we are sad or frustrated or just in a bad mood, we can remember all the blessings in our lives. 

Expressing gratitude for what we have lifts us up out of our negative emotions, just like a balloon.  We pretended to be balloons, filling up our lungs as much as we could, and then letting it all out. And we learned this song, pretending we were balloons slowly filling up:

We used activity #10 from the Radiant Hearts 'thankfulness' lesson plan to talk about how challenges and difficulties in our lives are often a blessing to be thankful for. We discussed a series of cards that illustrated a scenario in which a child underwent something difficult that enabled them to achieve something greater (ie. learning to draw a circle led to having the capacity to write letters). Challenges help us grow and strengthen our spiritual muscles. The children made insightful comments and shared personal experiences they were reminded of in their own lives.

Eunice and Eliot performed a puppet show for us,

and we drew/wrote what we were thankful for inside thankfulness balloons during art. Each art project is done on scrapbook-sized paper, hole-punched, and compiled in an art book. This and the virtue journals come to class each week in canvas bags decorated with gems.

And here are the children eager to share their virtue journals. 

I would love for you to share your favorite actions songs or games for children (Baha'i or not) in the comments! We are making a class list to draw upon when the wiggles set in. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Love: Baha'u'llah's Birthday!

Today we had a great class all about love and the Birth of Baha'u'llah. We had a sweet and thoughtful conversation about what we might give Baha'u'llah for His birthday tomorrow. Suggestions included saying prayers for Him, practicing a virtue, being kind to each other, playing a song on the ukelele, giving Him a remote control car, cleaning up our toys, and giving Him strawberries.

We read Song of the Nightingale by Grant Hindin Miller about a nightingale who feels a strange stirring in his heart that compels him to sing all through the long, cold night. Morning dawns in the city of Tehran on November 12th and the very heart of the world is forever transformed. It is an exquisitely illustrated and beautifully written love story.

The children also drew pictures and wrote letters to Baha'u'llah during art and we put them all in an addressed envelope. At the end of class we all went outside and chose a spot to leave it where we thought Baha'u'llah would find it tomorrow. If it is gone next week, we will know that He received our gift.

We also made bells, since one of the titles of Baha'u'llah is 'The Most Great Bell,' and learned this song:

We sung this song as well:

The children each keep a virtue journal in which they and their parents record the virtues they have practiced at home the previous week. 

It is one of the most special and anticipated moments of each class as each child has a chance to shine. Even on the wildest days, they settle down and truly listen to one another, taking pride in their accomplishments. Today, one child shared that he was 'perseverent and respectful' to a classmate who was being unkind to him at school. We talked about how Abdu'l-Baha was also kind to those who treated him poorly and that it is one of the most difficult things to do. You could tell that the children looked at their friend--who had followed in Abdu'l-Baha's footsteps--a little differently after that. 

I look forward to learning about Thankfulness next week as Thanksgiving approaches!


My goal is to keep a record of our weekly Baha'i Children's Classes in Eliot, Maine. To remember the cute things, to inform the parents, to post the prayers and quotations for memorization at home, to reflect (and hopefully improve upon), and to provide a resource for others engaged in the work of accompanying small souls.

Each class follows this format:

-Hello song
-Lighting of prayer candle and song

-Gem (a tangible symbol for the virtue of the week)
-Letter (introducing virtue and sparking discussion)
-Other props/ activities

Story/ Puppet Show



Closing Circle
-Virtue Journal sharing
-Closing prayer

We just finished our third class of the year and my next post will start from this point. As a quick catch-up though,  we began the year with a lesson on the importance of acquiring virtues and memorized the quotation,

Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.     -Baha'u'llah

The following two weeks focused on 'love,' since this is the very reason we have been created and the motivating force behind all other virtues. We have also been memorizing:

O Son of Man! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life.  Baha'u'llah