Welcome to the Month of Loftiness 171!
In this issue – Children and Children’s Classes
Articles on Children:
Games and Activities
Ruhi Crafts http://ruhicrafts.blogspot.com.au/
‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Treatment of Children
On 5 May, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá met with a group of 35 children in the hotel salon. After listening to them sing the song “Softly, His Voice Is Calling Now”, the Master called each child to him individually. Some He took on His lap, others He kissed or stroked their hair: … All with such infinite love and tenderness shining in His eyes and thrilling in the tones of His voice, that when He whispered in English in their ears to tell him their names, they answered joyfully and freely as they would to a beloved father … The children’s joy in His own happiness seemed to culminate as one dear little tot ran to Him and fairly threw herself into His arms. Afterwards, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave each child an envelope full of rose petals, then invited them all to Lincoln Park, across the road from the hotel for a photograph. (Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p. 117)
‘When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá first arrived in England, he was the guest of a friend in a village not far from London. The evident poverty around him in this wealthy country distressed him greatly. He would walk out in the town, garbed in his white turban and long Persian coat, and all eyes were centered upon this strange visitor, who, the people had been told, was “a holy man from the East”. Naturally the children were attracted to him, followed him, pulled at his coat, or his hand, and were immediately taken into his arms and caressed. This delighted them, of course, and children are never afraid of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, but what pleased and amazed them still more was that when they were put down, they found in their little hands a shilling or sixpence from the capacious pockets of “the holy Man’s” long coat. Such bits of silver were a rarity in their experience, and they ran home with joy to tell the tale of the generous stranger from the Orient, possessed apparently of an endless store of shining sixpences. ‘The children crowded after him and so many sixpences were dispensed that the friend who entertained ‘Abdu’l-Bahá became alarmed, and talked the matter over with Miss Robarts, who was also a guest in the house. “It is a shame!” they said indignantly. “He comes to us accepting nothing, and is giving to our people all the time! It must not go on!” (Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 73)
O loving God! I am a young child, a suppliant, a captive. Be Thou my refuge, my support, my protector. I am in distress: give me the means of tranquillity. I am needy: bestow upon me the treasure of the Kingdom. I am dead: give me the Spirit of Life. I am weak: favor me with power and strength, so that I may be a maid-servant in Thy Threshold, with perfect purity and sanctity; sacrifice myself unto Thee, be quit of myself and seek Thee, walk in the path of Thy good pleasure, speak Thy secret and witness the signs of Thy Oneness wherever I look. O God! Make me ablaze, like unto the fire of Thy love, and make me free from attachment to this mortal world, until I find the peace of soul and the rest of conscience. Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty! Thou art the Hearer, the Seer! (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 196)
Teaching Unity is a guide for parents and teachers, with learning activities for ages 8-12. It’s filled with fun, hands-on, kid-tested learning activities, written in plain language and designed for any level of educator from novice to experienced. It’s based on the principle of the oneness of humankind; organized in a sequential, step-by-step format. The lessons incorporate a variety of teaching and learning strategies, including warm-up activities, demonstrations, readings and stories, crafts, songs, felt lessons, role plays, discussion starters, memory quotes, puzzles, poems, worksheets, research projects, outdoor games and more. In addition to detailed lesson plans, there are simple patterns for making instructional materials, student handouts, song sheets, music scores, plans for a children’s performance, and a comprehensive planning guide for organizing a weekend retreat or week-long Unity Camp. Your purchase includes free downloads with four colorful PowerPoint programs, printable handouts and over 70 pages of color photos and illustrations to accompany the lessons.
Lorene Ryhard is a writer of children’s story books aimed at entertaining children and parents while modelling character qualities, emotional intelligence, and awareness of self and others. Children love them! She has five titles in the works so far, and the first one is now available as an audio book.
Gentle Geoffry is the story of a little boy who is dealing with his intense feelings before the birth of his twin siblings. As the story unfolds, we watch Geoffrey learn to deal with his feelings and find the gentle side of his nature.
Listening to children sing or recite their prayers often moves me to tears! In this month’s video, we hear the creative, talented and professional child rapper, Kristine H, sing the following children’s prayer in rapper style:
O My Lord! O my Lord! I am a child of tender years. Nourish me from the breast of Thy mercy, train me in the bosom of Thy love, educate me in the school of Thy guidance and develop me under the shadow of Thy bounty. Deliver me from darkness, make me a brilliant light; free me from unhappiness, make me a flower of the rose garden; suffer me to become a servant of Thy threshold and confer upon me the disposition and nature of the righteous; make me a cause of bounty to the human world, and crown my head with the diadem of eternal life. Verily, Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty, the Seer, the Hearer. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i Prayers, p. 36)
I can’t wait to hear more from this talented musician! Thanks to Nabil Moghaddam for bringing her to light!
Sarah Perceval of State of the Heart Storytelling is a classically trained actress and storyteller who specializes in telling sacred stories. She is fascinated by the patterns of story in the history of all religions, patterns that are profound and beautiful. She also loves the power and simplicity of wisdom tales, and the capacity of stories to draw an audience in and bring people together. Her storytelling has been described as: “A heartfelt experience, captivating and magical.” (Steve Nobel, Alternatives at St James’)
Sarah has an extensive background as an actress and puppeteer and started sacred storytelling to unite her creative and spiritual paths. She tells stories and runs workshops for a variety of organizations, events and communities, often faith and interfaith events, intercultural and dialogue programmes. She has told stories in mosques, synagogues, cathedrals, churches, Bahá’í centers, Quaker meeting houses, Buddhist and Hindu temples, living rooms, libraries, wedding venues, woods and a variety of tents.
Her clients include: St Ethelburgas’ Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, Alternatives at St James’, The Dialogue Society, The Interfaith Council for Wales, The Whirling Dervishes of Konya, Koruso Interfaith Choir, The Scottish Storytelling Centre, Network of Islamic Artists, Art Beyond Belief, Faith Around the Elephant Interfaith Group, The Bahá’í Academy for the Arts, Lambeth SACRE, High Wycombe Arts Festival, Thursday’s Child Interfaith Festival, Changing Times Youth Festival, Richmond libraries, Cyprus Arts Festival, The Anis Foundation, BBC London ‘Inspirit’ programme and others.
To hear her tell the Story of Siyah-Chal
To watch her speak on “Understanding the Baha’i Faith”
This month’s author is also one of the founders of UnityWorks, a non-profit foundation whose mission is to promote understanding of the oneness of humanity, the value of diversity and the need for unity. The foundation provides training, materials and support for K-12 Schools. Their program is designed to educate staff and students about living in a diverse society, to promote culturally-responsive teaching, to increase equity and reduce prejudice, to improve race relations, to close achievement and opportunity gaps, and to encourage positive multicultural change.
They also provide diversity training for educational institutions, businesses and community groups; from day-long workshops on a single topic, to a full 30-hour course on Leadership in Diversity.
UnityWorks is on a mission to promote understanding of the oneness of humanity, the value of diversity and the need for unity.
Listen to what kids, parents, teachers and schools have to say about race and acceptance – in less than 5 minutes; and join them in helping to raise a generation of prejudice-free children!
Do you know of any other great resources for children and children’s classes? Post your information below!