avoiding gossip and backbiting (take 1)

Today’s lesson: avoiding gossip and backbiting.

May 26, 2006: ~2 hours, 2 children, ages 6 and 10. Due to amazing weather conditions, most of the class was held outside, with a healthy dose of walking around. We started off by reciting prayers together (along with a few other adults), after which we continued memorizing Blessed is the Spot with the kids, accompanied by gestures to help with memorization. We had a good walk down to a nearby park in search of feathers, to help tie in with the ‘Feathers in the wind’ story. We didn’t find any – just some young leaves – so we headed back home for a break and continued along with the story. The children seemed to understand the story quite well; we asked a few questions to help some of the main concepts sink in. Afterwards, we went back outside and did about fifteen minutes of skits showing how to avoid gossip and backbiting. Afterwards, we took another walk outside to play some soccer (and tag, and marco polo).

We tried a few new things this week. One was to invite some of the adults into the opening prayers and readings. Another was to provide prayer books so that children who wanted to could read new prayers from books if they wanted to – we usually read the prayers we’ve already memorized or recite them from memory. We also put more of an emphasis on practice this time around, in the form of the skits. Much like participants in the local institute process are devoting more time to the practice included in the Ruhi curriculum, we took a little inspiration from Counsellor Scott’s talk and tried teaching some concrete skills instead of just learning what we “should” be and “should” do. I think it made a difference in the children’s understanding of how to avoid gossip. We’ll bring it up again next week and see what the reactions are. In any case, I think we’ll be using this skill-building angle more often – it seems to be much more in keeping with the spirit of the Baha’i teachings. Thoughts?

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