All posts by learner9

Teaching my children formally about spiritual concepts

So, the shoe has dropped.  I now am on the opposite side of what I remember as a child – I am now the teacher and my daughters are now in a class I offer them and their friends, about spiritual concepts.

It’s interesting.  It’s been a challenge.  It has been a joy.  It has been a growth experience – did I mention it has been a challenge? 🙂

I have learned to steel my resolve and I have looked in the mirror.  I should actually remind myself to do that more often 🙂  I remember thinking when I was a child, why did I feel most picked on, by my mom when she was teaching me, when other kids were doing the same- I now see, I probably did then as well… but was blinded by the injustice, I felt 😉  I now know for sure, you always want your child on best behaviour, as in your mind, this dictates the behaviour of the rest of their peers.  However, I should remind myself to be more gracious, let her feel at ease. 🙂

It’s been awesome to be part of the class, to hear the children have conversations with each other about important subjects like justice, and truthfulness.  To watch them learn to work together, play together, help each other be better.  That’s the best.

Although they live in the same neighbourhood, they come from different backgrounds (ethnicity, family dynamics, language, behavioural, religious).  They are young, some new to the area, some older, and haven’t had a chance to bond outside a lot, but it seems this has helped with that.  Also, parents have shared that their children have shared their conversations with them from class, for example “mom we talked about being generous and giving our things away” and it wasn’t conversations that were happening earlier.

I would like to share practically my experiences teaching the class, but am not sure if belongs to this blog space, or if I should start another solely for that purpose.

There are two quotes I need to remind myself about

“Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value, education alone can cause it to reveal its treasure and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.”

and also

“Children are the most precious treasure a community can possess, for in them are the promise and guarantee of the future. They bear the seeds of the character of future society which is largely shaped by what the adults constituting the community do or fail to do with respect to children. They are a trust no community can neglect with impunity. An all-embracing love of children, the manner of treating them, the quality of the attention shown them, the spirit of adult behavior toward them—these are all among the vital aspects of the requisite attitude.”

This is why I hold the class, and why I offer it to a wider group of children than my own.

I hope my efforts are sincere, and helpful.  I am thankful for the opportunity.

It has been helpful to go through a training to become a children’s class teacher (Ruhi book 3), the spiritual, the curriculum and practical aspects of teaching a class – so very helpful.  It has also been so helpful to look over peoples experiences on how they offered it.  I hope to add to that body of knowledge.  The internet is amazing for this!  I want to pay it forward.

As a parent having my children memorize short verses related to spiritual qualities that calls them to higher behaviour and thinking is the best, and the fact that they just sing it on their own with no prompting.  Or instead of me nagging them when they need a reminder to be their higher selves I just have to sing a little song, not to mention it’s a helpful reminder to myself.

It’s good to have a structure of what they are learning, the challenge is making sure that at home we do more learning and not just rely on the curriculum, despite the class being at  home.  The two should complement each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Prayer and Children

Prayer and children

It was so interesting to come across this article some months ago as it was as if I was writing that very blogpost except maybe a year behind.

This father shares his experience of trying to engage his daughter in a routine of prayer, his experiences, his reflections and I am so grateful that he shared it.

We were trying to instil a pattern of nightly prayer, teaching reverence and doing it in a way that did not take into account that our children being as young as they are may need different teaching methods than modelling and instruction.

I appreciated his reflections about :

– making prayer joyful – allowing children to express from the bottom of their hearts how they want to share prayer… (this has been a struggle for me I have to say because I try to balance the ingrained feeling for me that anything other than sitting nicely and saying, reading or chanting a prayer

– suggestions on how to create atmosphere/specialness/sacredness during prayer e.g. lighting candles

– his ideas about meditation and how to help them understand it by watching us practise it – I think I will have try this out…

There is another article about prayer that I came across that was helpful:

http://www.brilliantstarmagazine.org/parents-teachers/spirituality-children/prayer-and-meditation/five-tips-for-praying-with-children#.UtLZoWRDsRg

It sets out five tips and elaborates each one – I give my own thoughts on each topic below:

– choose a time to pray: I totally agree and it was so easy to start and end our days when we just had one child and that was before she started school.  Now as we start so early, and she not being an early riser, makes that much more challenging… so for now we just end our days that way…

– make the prayer time age appropriate:

– explain the expectations of prayer time: my daughter seems to do this although I can’t remember if I did when we started out.

– set a prayerful environment:  I love the idea of encouraging the children to wash hands and face before prayers so that it shows what is happening inside.

– sing prayers set to music:  I totally agree.  All the prayers and Writings we would say together were sung until this year.  She totally absorbed it all and loves singing them.

Another article I came across is about prayers and Writings put to music being played around the house:

http://www.enablemetogrow.com/2013/03/29/musical-prayers/

I found that this is what we’ve done since the girls were small and it has proved helpful/joyful for them and us – it makes it quite easy to learn them and have positive words around us.

I hope you enjoy the articles/blog posts as much as I did! If you have any thoughts or experiment and have reflections I’d love to hear them :)

Birth of Baha’u’llah (2013)

When Bunny was 2 I taught her a song about Baha’u’llah that was fitting to commemorate His birth.  The lyrics are as follows:

“Do you know what we remember, on the twelfth day of November, we give thanks to the land of Ta, for giving us Baha’u’llah.  So rings the bells and sound the horns, for this is the day that He was born.”

It’s short, sweet, and you can add actions to it that help a two year old remember and bring more joy to their hearts when singing it – which is what I really hope to instill in her heart when she thinks of any Manifestation of God – love and joy!

This year, we added to it by following the suggestion from the following blog entry at All done Monkey – making the bell streamer.  So when friends came over we sang the song to remind us what it was for and lift our hearts and then let the little ones cut and decorate them.  Now we just have to string them up and hang them before Tuesday!

First post

I am a Baha’i, as is my husband.  We are therefore raising our children as Baha’is, with the understanding that they have their own souls and their own spiritual paths and at age 15, when they reach the age of spiritual maturity they will take ownership of the path they are walking.  So far my biggest learning is that raising my children is nurturing my own faith.  “By faith is meant, first, conscious knowledge, and second, the practice of good deeds.” Abdu’l-Baha