By Nona Simons
Being on a teaching team can be fun, funny, and very moving. It creates wonderful experiences that one wants to remember. These selections also show how we utilize principles about systematic plans that we have learned from materials inspired by the Universal House of Justice. Here are a few stories about these kinds of experiences.
We open our telephone meetings with a prayer. Early on, we studied some materials on consultation together and are attempting to use these tools as we formulate our individual and joint goals. We try to relate our activities to specific ways in which they reflect the Teachings. We always feel energized and refreshed after our telephone meetings. Our friendship continues to grow.
Getting To Know The Neighbours
My teaching partner has been working on getting to know her neighbours. She has had several talks with them. This last Christmas, she made flower baskets with Christmas lights that were really pretty. She handed these out to some of her neighbours and they loved their gifts. This is one way of her laying the groundwork for a friendship and opportunity to teach the Faith. She is also learning what the needs of her neighbourhood are so that she can find a way to be of service to the neighbourhood. Some of her neighbours have been invited to her home. Her neighbours were also given a booklet about relationships which she wrote, and responded to it in a positive way.
Studying Bahá’í Teachings and Messages Together
Once we completed a Ruhi Book 6 refresher together, we studied the Social Action Document by the International Community, and are now studying Frontiers of Learning. My teaching partner has a great way of relating concepts in these documents to things we do in our everyday lives. We each learn from the other as we discuss what these documents mean to us.
Enriching Family Unity and Devotions
We both have a goal of enriching our marriages, as a good family foundation is important not only for teaching the Faith, but in everything else that we do. To this end, we both have daily devotionals with our husbands. My partner is reading entire books with her husband, a little bit each day. I say short prayers with my husband and include short quotes that I have memorized. We both have noticed growth in our marriages and can honestly say that our daily devotionals have a lot to do with this.
We are also doing more social activities with our husbands. My partner’s husband attends a Study circle. I hand out with my husband’s professional colleagues and really enjoy many of his friends. They are now my friends as well. I also work for my husband by preparing documents and doing computer operations for him. Our work relationship is bringing us closer together and teaching us about how to be better communicators.
Teaching the Faith through the Arts
One of my long-term goals has been to post my artwork on my Facebook page, and to include pieces with Bahá’í subject matter in this body of work. Just a few weeks ago, I finally posted my artwork on Facebook! One piece that was posted is an illustrated Bahá’í prayer by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. I am working on developing them into gift cards and wallet-sized cards to hand out to friends. When I was originally drawing the piece, several peoples’ hearts were deeply touched. I have some photoshop images that my partner helped me with and I have to finish the formatting and print the cards out. This is a challenge because I don’t have a printer or photoshop on my computer, and my husband’s computer is cranky and available time to print is limited. However, this has not stopped me from moving forward with this project, albeit not as quickly as I would like.
My teaching partner and I have wanted to do a joint project for a long time. My partner suggested that we make cards together and hand them out to friends. I would provide artwork, and she would use her computer expertise to make them into gift cards or wallet cards to hand out to friends. She would also include Bahá’í quotes in the card design or verse. We did this with the illustrated Bahá’í prayer. My partner also developed a wallet-sized packet of prayers and a synopsis of the Bahá’í teachings. She has given out two packets so far and I have given out one. The cards are placed in pretty wallet-sized containers. Several have prayers, with photos of flowers on the back. One outlines the principles of the Faith, one gives a Bahá’í website, and one gives our name and number as a contact person for learning more about the Bahá’í Faith. We are really excited by the project because even though we live across the country from one another, we are doing a teaching project together!
This is a humorous story about a teaching team meeting and how the meeting makes us feel
Subject: Funny Story
“Here goes; I think it should be included in our teaching team report! *giggle, giggle* “
“Yesterday I felt like I just had to call My Teaching Team Partner and tell her about a new idea I had for how I could use my talents and be of assistance to my LSA/community by publishing a newsletter. I told her to call at any time. I kept my cell phone by me, including when I was in the shower and conditioning my hair with a home remedy. While I was conditioning my hair, Teaching Team Partner called. I mentioned I was just getting out of the shower. She asked if she should call later. I told her “no” that I would talk to her now, anyway, knowing that it is sometimes hard for her to answer the phone when I call her. Well, we were talking way past the time I was supposed to rinse the conditioner out of my hair, so I took a 4-cup measure and went to the bathroom sink to rinse my hair. I put the phone next to me in a safe place so it wouldn’t get wet, but still in a place where she could hear me on its speaker phone. Then I proceeded to rinse my hair while we consulted about the newsletter. I ended up putting too much shampoo in my hair! Now it was even harder to rinse out the oil and honey mix I had tried on my hair. So there I was, happily consulting with Teaching Team Partner and rinsing my hair at the same time. It was a long consultation and I was still rinsing my hair! We consulted about how we could do the newsletter using the tools that House has given us for approaching a project in a systematic way. Starting small, consulting and collaborating with an administrative body (in this case my LSA), and meeting within a specified time frame to reflect on how things were going and consult on where to go next. I don’t know if Teaching Team Partner knew that I was under the sink the whole time we consulted! She took great pains to be sure I understood everything she was saying. After our consultation, I sent her an e-mail where I laid out how I was going to approach my LSA with this idea and plan for future implementation and reflection. In that way, she could be sure I was understanding everything she said! Now comes the sad part: The conditioner did not help my hair one bit! I still have the frizzies and it is hard to get my hair to look good! Darn! But this does illustrate the enthusiasm and commitment that a member of a teaching team can have when consulting with a teaching partner about goals and how to implement them!”
Now, if you don’t have a good laugh, I will be disappointed. I hope your heart will be as touched as mine is by this wonderful experience! Lol!
Much love, Nona
Teaching Team Partner Response
Absolutely in the spirit of Abdu’l-Baha! He loved and told hilarious true stories of the believers, with the greatest joy!
Thanks for that glimpse of heaven on earth.
Teaching Team Partner