the universal house of justice

Today’s lesson: the universal house of justice.

June 23, 2007: 1.5 hours, 4 children, average age 7. Not bad for a class held right after coming back from a week-long road trip across the United States. All told, the lesson itself was what took the most time; one of the difficulties we ran into was getting the kids to be able to pronounce “Universal House of Justice”. We spent the past few lessons going over some of the Central Figures of the Baha’i Faith (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi) so this class was part review: what were the four main things we learned about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá? what were the two main things we learned about Shoghi Effendi? Then we asked: what did they both have in common? Answer: they protected the Baha’i Faith after the passing of the One whom they succeeded. That’s how the Universal House of Justice fits in. We brought a picture book with photos of the Arc on Mount Carmel, and explained the basics of what the Universal House of Justice is and what it does. As many times before, we also shared pilgrimage stories with the children—they always seem to have lots of questions when we do that, and since we know our own pilgrimage stories very well (we were there!) it’s not too difficult to tell.

the guardian, shoghi effendi

Today’s lesson: the guardian, shoghi effendi.

June 9, 2007: 1.5 hours, 8 children, average age 7-8. A simple, effective class; could have been better, but we did well with what we had. I wasn’t too worried about this class because the lesson was very straightforward: share the story of Shoghi Effendi. We reviewed the lesson on ‘Abdu’l-Baha before starting and launched straight into Shoghi Effendi’s story afterwards. We had examples of books he had translated (The Dawn-Breakers) or written (God Passes By) and showed the children; I had also prepared photos of the Shrines and the gardens surrounding them, but I forgot them at home (doh). We had the usual issues with discipline but were able to handle them satisfactorily and had more than enough material to last for the entire class. Shortening the class to one and a half hours has certainly given us a lot of breathing room; it’s not a lot of time to get concepts across, but we avoid a lot of breakdowns since the children’s patience and concentration naturally seems to dissipate after an hour and a half. Oh well.