Today’s lesson: god is our true friend.
June 22, 2013: Today was our first class on the topic of being a true friend, taken from Lesson 13 of Ruhi Book 3, Grade 2, Set 5. We attracted the younger brother of one of our students, who joined us quite enthusiastically when he heard that there were cookies in class last week. (Oh well.) We let him know that the hot chocolate was a one-time thing, and he still stayed; hopefully he wasn’t too disillusioned.
We started out by asking the children whether they could remember some of the friends they made in kindergarten. Most of them said they could. We asked them what makes someone a good friend, and we got a variety of good answers, such as spending time together, caring, kindness, and so on. We then asked whether they were still in touch with their good friends from kindergarten, and we got mixed answers. Most of the younger children were still in touch with their friends, but many of the older ones had immigrated to Canada since they were small, leaving their friends behind. When one of the younger children said he would be sad to leave friends behind, one of the older ones replied: “That’s part of life! You don’t always keep the same friends all your life.”
Taking the opportunity to segue into the day’s topic, we asked them: is there a friend that will always be with you your whole life, and beyond? They eventually came up with the answer we were looking for—God is our true friend, who will never leave our side. We moved into the memorization part of the class, presenting them with cut-up pieces of paper with the words of the quote on them: “Incline your hearts, O people of God, unto the counsels of your true, your incomparable Friend.” We challenged them to put together the quote, without having shown it to them beforehand. They enjoyed the challenge, and went at it enthusiastically, successfully putting together the whole quote on their own.
To finish off, we handed out the corresponding colouring page from Ruhi Book 3, Grade 2, using them to tell the story of how Bahá’u’lláh taught His fellow prisoners in the Siyáh-Chál to sing “God is sufficient unto me”. As is usual when we tell stories of Bahá’u’lláh’s imprisonment and exile, several children asked: How could the Sháh imprison Bahá’u’lláh even though He had done nothing wrong? We answered that lust for wealth, power and influence had blinded the eyes of the Sháh and made him fear Bahá’u’lláh rather than love Him. I wondered whether this was really a good enough answer for the children, whose tender hearts are developing such a strong love for God—we had a discussion of the concept on our Facebook page later on, which turned up a great idea for a game about the need for spiritual education.