Today’s lesson: ‘abdu’l-bahá.

May 26, 2007: 1.5 hours, 5 children, average age 6-7. Despite procrastinating (!!!) on this lesson up til pretty much the last moment and a rather hasty blitz of last-minute preparation, the content of this lesson turned out rather well. We had a whole set of materials available about ‘Abdu’l-Baha, created by someone (locally?) a few years back for the commemoration of His visit to Montreal in 1912. Very nice materials, including stories and an fill-in-the-blanks exercise sheet—I’ll post it here if I can get permission. We also supplemented these materials with a picture sheet called “What Would ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Do?”, so the kids had plenty to do. (N.B. La version francophone de cet exercise est disponible, titrée Que ferait ‘Abdu’l-Bahá?)

The lesson revolved around four important points about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—points that everybody has to know about Him:

  • ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was the Centre of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh.
  • ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was the Servant of Bahá.
  • ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was the Perfect Exemplar of Bahá’u’lláh’s Teachings. (The “What Would ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Do?” sheet tied in with this.)
  • ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was the unerring Interpreter of Baha’u’lláh’s Words.

We discussed these until everyone got it; afterwards, these same points were repeated and illustrated in the materials used—the children cut out the illustrations (very nicely, too) and pasted them onto colouring paper for effect.

No big complaints about this class. The only place where we had a bit of a hiccup was that the fill-in-the-blanks exercise we used asked questions that we hadn’t covered in class, so we had to do tell some extra stories during that portion of the class so everyone could get it.

Also, it was impressive listening to the questions asked by the kids during the lesson. Some of them, rightly so, had (and still have) quite a difficult time understanding why someone would ever have wanted to put Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha—who were such loving and kind and gentle people—in prison and treat them so badly. We told them what we knew: that certain people in power saw that everyone loved and followed Baha’u’llah, and feared that they would lose their own influence over those people. So, thinking to get rid of that threat to their continued influence, they persecuted and imprisoned Baha’u’llah and His family. These aren’t easy questions to answer, but the fact that the children are asking them shows that there is a real love for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Bahá’u’lláh growing in their hearts, and that’s so good to see.

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