“Those who are working alone are like ants, but when they are united they will become as eagles. Those who work singly are as drops, but, when united, they will become a vast river carrying the cleansing water of life into the barren desert places of the world. Before the power of its rushing flood, neither misery, nor sorrow, nor any grief will be able to stand. Be united! It is rather dangerous to be an isolated drop. It might be spilled or blown away.”
Attributed to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Lady Blomfield, The Chosen Highway, p. 171
One of our new readers came to us with a question about using Virtues Cards (nifty cards featuring different spiritual qualities, created by The Virtues Project) in teaching groups of children. We just recently bought a deck of these cards ourselves, so we’re not experts by any means—but we’ve got plenty of ideas.
One of the ways we can help people understand abstract concepts is through the use of storytelling and role play. These put otherwise abstract virtues into a very tangible context that adults and children alike can more easily understand and learn from. In fact, this is why the lessons in Ruhi Book 3 always include stories, and dramatic activities in Grades 2 and up: they model different spiritual qualities and practices, and help children to think about how they might show those qualities in their lives.
So, as for how to use the virtues cards? Here’s the “experiment” we recommended to our friend. You can try it, too!
Pick one of the cards and read the virtue’s definition and some of the examples.
Ask the participants to think of a situation in which that virtue could be used; if nobody speaks up, you can suggest one based one the examples given.
Then, ask them to create a story based on that situation, and ask them to break into groups and tell each other the story.
Finally, bring them back together and ask them to create a short dramatic skit based on the story; practice it with them, and see how it goes.
At the end, get them to reflect on what they learned about that virtue, and have them share any insights they may have had about using that virtue in their lives.
The nice thing about this idea is that you don’t really need to buy a deck of cards to use it. You could just as easily write down the virtues yourself on sheets of paper, or blank index cards.
Have you had any experience incorporating virtues cards into your children’s classes, or any other insights about teaching children about spiritual qualities? Let us know in the comments!