A few days ago the training for teachers of Baha’i children classes took place in a Latin American city where I happened to be. I did not attend the whole program but did see enough to write on this post.
Let’s start with the statistics of this meeting: there were about 36 youth aged 11-15 from different communities around one of the major cities, 6 tutors (which meant each had about 6 participants in their group) and from which 3 also served as aides during the day and 2 as guardians during the night, there was one cook and her assistant and one main person who was in charge of it all; this person did all from the organization of the event, the main talks, the teaching of songs, games and crafts, as well as making sure the food was on time, the youth went to bed when told and even cleaning up at the end of the event. WOW!!
At first I was a bit skeptical about the success of the event but decided to go to help either way. There were so many things going on that I cannot write all of it. I will just highlight what to me were amazing events:
First, some of the youngest amongst the group were the most dedicated students. They read carefully, filled out the sheets and sang songs as loud as they could. I had the opportunity to help in the purchase of groceries one day and took one of the participants with me. She was happy to join me and while we drove we had a nice and long conversation. We talked about many things including life after death. I was in absolute shock when this 12 year old could so eloquently and in simple terms explain the concept of death and the nature of the soul. That is when I realized that the Word of Baha’u’llah had definitely touched her young heart and made her show all her gems and let mankind benefit therefrom.
Second, of course there were some participants that came exclusively for the socialization and they were loud, rude and careless. I was very worried for the person in charge and wanted to do something to help her. One night I told her before I was leaving that it filled me with sadness to leave her with all those youth and she said to me in the sweetest voice: “go, I am good, this is where I want to be. I am happy with my kids”. There was nothing I could say. This person was completely devoted to the education of these youth and did it with the utmost love and sincerity. Despite the mess and chaos that was created very often, she remained loving, patient and happy throughout the event. I was in awe. She is really the personification of an angel!
There were times when we had to do the study of the Ruhi Book 3 about the education of children and when it was time to go out for recess, some of the participants wanted to stay and study longer! It was lovely to see! In the same way, when it was time to go back to it, they were keen to start. Absolutely worth the time dedicated to organizing and carrying out the event.
The last day, when people were going home, different groups left on different buses. Some had to wait on the side of the road, including myself. So we did. I was the last to arrive and when I did all I could hear from the opposite side of the road was the songs they had learned in the course. It totally filled my heart with joy.
Even though not all of them took as much as they could out of it, those who did will go back to their communities and pass it on to the children they teach Baha’i education classes to or even start their own class.
This is why Baha’i classes are so important to our community…because it is the base from which upright and spiritual individuals grow out of. Most if not all of the youth who attended the training a few years ago were the children that the now older youth taught classes to! In the same way, those children currently in classes are the ones that like their older peers will be teachers and so on. The circle grows and it is growing rapidly. It is an exciting movement!