Monday, September 21, 2009

Institute process and children's classes empower and unify in Scottsdale

If it’s coming from Scottsdale, AZ (A), I know I’m going to smile. Wait till you see these two brief reports! First, as you may have seen in recent stories from all over the country, the friends are finding a certain approach to children’s classes very effective in which they engage the parents’ involvement by inviting them to go through the training (i.e., Ruhi Book 3) to become children’s class teachers themselves. The first is a particularly inspiring example of this process:

After a successful weekend, the teaching teams returned to start their Bahá’í children’s class and to accompany a few parents so that they are able to assist with the classes. As the teachers started gathering up the children, one teaching team, which included a seeker, visited the home of one of the parents and started to study Ruhi Book 3 in Spanish with her. She actively participated in the discussions. The group studied for 30 minutes, including some initial concepts from the Writings of the Faith regarding the spiritual education of children, as well as the lesson plan for that day’s children’s class. . . .

We had two children’s classes today: one using the lessons from Book 3 for the younger children and the other using the lessons from Book 3A for the older ones. The above-mentioned mother was immediately involved in serving the children by assisting with the class. Her daughter has also expressed an interest in helping with the class. These are some great examples of wonderful souls we are discovering who love to serve others and understand the importance of spiritual education for their children.

Next, we see the experience of some teaching teams, also with a focus on children’s classes. See the power of the institute process to give a new believer confidence to reach out to her neighbors! What is especially moving is not just her courage, but also how enthusiastically she offers all the elements of community life (i.e. the core activities) as a way to bring people together.

Today two teaching teams made their plans to visit new arrivals to an apartment complex in which we have ongoing activities and invite their children to attend the children’s classes there. The teaching teams included one of the recently declared Bahá’ís, who is the grandmother of some of the children that attend the children’s class. She is currently in a Ruhi Book 2 study circle and wanted to work on her practices for this course (i.e. sharing the deepening themes).

The teams recited a few prayers before setting out. The new believer mentioned to her team member that she was very nervous since she had never done anything like this before. So when they arrived at the first home, this team member assumed that he was going to do all the talking. However, to his surprise, she did all the talking! She conversed so wonderfully and with courage. She started building a relationship with her neighbor and she invited her two grandchildren to the children’s class. She also told her about the 19 Day Feast and how we come together and pray and listen to one another, consult and reflect about the well being of their community and their children. She also invited her to study together in an atmosphere that is informative, loving, and illuminating. All this time the other team member was praying and staying quiet. After they said goodbye, they both reflected on how wonderfully she did, and she couldn't believe that she felt so nervous, but when she opened her mouth to speak everything just flowed wonderfully.

The other team had also success inviting more children to the class. Altogether 6 children were invited, with some being old enough (i.e., junior youth age) to help as teacher’s assistants.

No comments: