Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Program to Connect With Parents

This story of one program, put on by children in the Lancaster, PA (B) cluster to reach out and establish connections with parents, shows the enthusiasm that non-Baha’I parents have for neighborhood classes provided for their children.

The Universal House of Justice wrote, “The friends should have every confidence that those parents who are not Bahá’ís themselves but who send their children to such classes will rejoice when they see the effects of a Bahá’í education on their tender hearts and minds.”

We witnessed this joy in parents last week, when we had a dinner and prayers with the children and their parents from our neighborhood class. During one of the classes, the children had crafted beautiful invitations for their parents to this event. As the children and their parents arrived, we had them engage in an activity together: decorating their own cupcake desserts! It was a joy to see these parents and children working together and it was such a fun way for the parents to meet and see how these children have come together to form real bonds of friendship.

Before dinner, the youngest child, who just turned 4, recited “O God, guide me….” After dinner, the children sat on the floor in a circle to play a guessing game we had planned for them, and after enjoying this for awhile — parents looking on — I asked them if we could now share some of the prayers and quotes we have learned together. When asked how we sit for prayers, the children all sat up straight and crossed their legs and assumed a posture of devotion. The parents listened intently as they sang together the “Remover of Difficulties” and “O God, educate these children.” I explained how we have worked to memorize quotations and while showing pictures the children associate with the quotes, asked them to recite some of them so their parents could hear. One by one they helped each other remember the words to different quotes of the Blessed Beauty. While all were sitting together in this spirit of prayer, it was easy to discuss with them a plan to divide the class into two, so that they could better benefit from age-appropriate lessons. Parents themselves talked about how other children in the neighborhood could be approached to join the two classes! Days of the week were selected and agreed upon and it was astonishing to see how organically it happened….the multiplication of children’s classes before my eyes!

This dinner/devotional took place during the first formal break we have had in the classes since last June. The weekly regularity of the class has served to create a sense that this is part of life for these children and it has also reinforced the trust of parents, who now know that there is a real commitment to the moral development of their children. And if there has been any sacrifice associated with maintaining this class, the faces of these dear children as their hearts connect with the Word of God is more than enough to make any feeling of sacrifice well worth the effort.”

No comments: