Monthly Archives: August 2009

Baha’i Education of Children – what Baha’i children’s classes are about

Recently I have been more involved in teaching young children Baha’i classes. And it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to describe what these classes are about for those out there who are not familiar with this concept or have questions regarding what we do. I will try to do this to the best of my ability…So here it is:

Baha’i children’s classes are as the name states, based on the teachings and Writings of the Baha’i Faith. There are different components to each class:
1. Prayer and meditation.- this is a very important component because it not only helps children memorize prayers and learn to show reverence and respect during their own and others’ prayers but it helps children maintain that innate connection with God, as well as to get into the habit of saying prayers daily.
2. Singing.- Pretty self-explanatory. The songs we sing have higher motives such as the abolition of all kinds of prejudice, the unity of the Messengers of God, qualities and virtues we should show forth in order to fully shine as human beings. This is a very fun activity for the kids.
3. Story-telling.- This component of the class helps illustrate the topic of the day’s lesson. Usually these stories are based on the story of the life of ‘Abdu’l-Baha (the son of the Founder of the Baha’i Faith – Baha’u’llah). This is so that they can relate to an actual person; a person who was the Perfect Exemplar of what we should aim to be: kind, generous, loving, caring, detached —and the list goes on.
4. Games.- Obviously every class deserves some fun and physical activity. Children must be allowed to play, that is what their job is!
5. Arts and crafts.- Depending on the circumstances and the age of the students, the teacher picks a suitable activity for the children to express themselves artistically. Most times it would consist on colouring sheets with illustrations that reinforce the concepts studied throughout the lesson.

These are the 5 main components of a Baha’i children’s class. See? Nothing strange…just activities that encourage children to ask questions, know that they are spiritual beings and that they have been endowed with the capacity to show forth all the attributes of God such as courage, patience, respect, trust, truthfulness and love.
There are Baha’i children’s classes running all over Australia and the world. If you would like information about them, you can ask me or simply look for the website of the Baha’i community of the city you reside in. Good luck!

Why do we need the Messengers of God?

Ok, let’s try to explain this concept I recently learnt.
Let’s first think about a man in the jungle…without anyone to teach him anything. Considering his surroundings and what he can see, this man would indeed adopt the ways of the animals he sees. If a man on the other hand were educated, he could bring about all the qualities and capacities that are inherent in him. Without an Educator there is no civilization.
Education is of three kinds:
1. Physical – that which tells us about our body and health
2. Material – includes the arts and sciences that we learn about in school and academies
3. Spiritual – this is the most important of the three since it is the one that helps us develop our true nature as human beings by acquiring divine perfections.

In order to progress we need an Educator that can bring about these three kinds of education. This task is far too great for any human being thus, we need a perfect Educator, sent by God. These Educators or Manifestations of God are the ones to bring to us those Teachings that help us organize our matters pertaining our body, technology and sciences and arts, as well as the most important: how to enhance our spiritual nature. Now, this last one is in accordance to our capacity of understanding at the time of the Manifestation’s appearance in the world. This means that no Messenger has come and denied the truth of the previous one but instead has given further instructions.

This is why we need an Educator. If a person was to say we do not need the guidance of the Manifestations of God would be as if a child was to say that he does not need to go to school because by himself would attain perfection using his reason and intelligence.
Here is a beautiful Quotation from the Baha’i Writings:
“God’s purpose in sending His Prophets unto men is twofold. The first is to liberate the children of men from the darkness of ignorance, and guide them to the light of true understanding. The second is to ensure the peace and tranquility of mankind, and provide all the means by which they can be established.”