After opening prayers have been recited, review with the children the prayer they have been memorizing over the last three lessons. You can then introduce a new one for them to learn, making sure to explain the meaning of words and phrases and providing concrete examples as necessary. Four class periods will be dedicated to the memorization of this prayer.
Nearness to Thee is my hope,
and love for Thee is my companion.
Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come.
Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful,
the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
Be Fair listen HERE.
Be fair, be fair
And strive to provide for the comfort of all
Be fair, be fair
And strive to provide for the comfort of all
When we are fair in our dealings with others
We gain the trust of our sisters and brothers
When things are divided equitably
Justice will shine for the world to see
When you give comfort and aid
You'll follow the path that the Master laid
When wise and just in what you say and do
You'll bring joy to hearts around you
[Alternative song: Listen by Red Grammer; mp3, lyrics]
The children will learn a quotation related to the quality of compassion today, which you can present to them in the following way:
God is the Most Compassionate, the All-Merciful. In times of difficulty, we turn our hearts to Him and ask Him to comfort and strengthen us. So, too, must we show compassion to others. When someone we know has a problem or is sad, we should do our best to be understanding and to help him or her. We must be compassionate and kind with everyone, under all conditions, like the tree that gives fruit to one and all, even to those who throw stones at it. Bahá’u’lláh showed forth compassion at all times, to all people, though His life was filled with suffering. To help us in our efforts to be compassionate, let us memorize His words:
[When we have compassion, we feel sympathy for someone and then we get involved. Sometimes we get involved directly, and other times we might get involved by sending money or gifts to help people in need. Compassion is more than just feeling sympathy; it also involves doing something that helps someone else.]
“The Kingdom of God is founded upon equity and justice, and also upon mercy, compassion, and kindness to every living soul.”
1. The doctor was concerned about the health of children in the villages, and so he opened a clinic to care for them. The clinic was founded out of his love for children.
2. Jenna and Mercedes have been friends for a very long time. They always study together and share with each other useful things they have learned. Their friendship is founded on kindness and love.
1. All of the people in the kingdom worked hard for its prosperity. When all of the crops were gathered, the king divided them among his subjects, according to the size of their families. The king treated his subjects with equity.
2. The town council had to build a road to the next village. It decided to wind the road around the farmland. In this way many were able to benefit from the new road but the farmers did not suffer. The council showed a sense of equity in its decision.
1. Li Yong noticed that his friend May was unhappy, so he went to find out whether he could help her in any way. May explained to him that her mother was ill in the hospital. Li Yong listened and comforted May, offering to go with her to the hospital the next day. Li Yong showed compassion to May.
2. One day Shiori was walking in the countryside and saw a little lamb whose leg was caught in a fence. Shiori gently removed the leg and put a bandage on it. Shiori showed compassion to the lamb.
When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá travelled to the West, in every city He visited, many people came to see Him and listen to His encouraging words. Day and night He met with people of all kinds—the young and the old, the wealthy and the poor, officials and ordinary citizens. Some came out of their great love for the Master, and others came because they were curious about what He had to say.
One day a woman arrived at the home where the Master was staying and knocked on the door. She was an ordinary person who longed in her heart to spend a few moments with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “Do you have an appointment to see the Master?” asked the man who opened the door. She said that she did not. In that case, she was told, it would not be possible for her to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as He was meeting with some very important people. She turned away sadly and started walking down the steps in front of the house. What disappointment filled her heart! But suddenly a messenger from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá appeared, asking her to return. The Master wished to see her. His voice was heard saying with power and authority, “A heart has been hurt. Hasten, hasten, bring her to me!”
[A man was walking along and fell into a pit. It was just deep and steep enough so he could not climb out. He called and called and ﬁ nally someone heard him. He explained what happened and the person said, “Man, I feel your pain!” and sat down and started crying over the situation (Sympathy). Shortly another person came by, saw the ﬁ rst person sitting on the edge of the pit crying, heard the man calling from below and looked over the edge. The man in the pit saw him, told him what happened and the second person said, “Oh man, I feel your pain!” and jumped in (Empathy). A short time later a third person came by, saw the one sitting at the edge of the pit crying and heard the second man in the pit calling out. He leaned over and the man who ﬁ rst fell into the pit explained what happened. The third person said, “Man, hold on, I will be right back.” The third person (Compassion) went to get a rope and pulled both out of the pit. Everyone rejoiced! Compassion took action while Sympathy and Empathy could not see past the pit]
[Lua Getsinger, one of the early Bahá’ís of America, tells of an experience she had in `Akká. She had made the pilgrimage to the prison-city to see `Abdu’l-Bahá. One day He said to her that He was too busy today to call upon a friend of His who was very poor and sick. He wished Lua to go in His place. He told her to take food to the sick man and care for him as He had been doing. Lua learned the address and immediately went to do as `Abdu’l-Bahá had asked. She felt proud that `Abdu’l-Bahá had trusted her with some of His own work. But soon she returned to `Abdu’l-Bahá in a state of excitement. “Master,” she exclaimed, “You sent me to a very terrible place! I almost fainted from the awful smell, the dirty rooms, the degrading condition of that man and his house. I left quickly before I could catch some terrible disease.”
Sadly and sternly `Abdu’l-Bahá gazed at her. If she wanted to serve God, He told her, she would have to serve her fellow man, because in every person she should see the image and likeness of God. Then He told her to go back to the man’s house. If the house was dirty, she should clean it. If the man was dirty, she should bathe him. If he was hungry, she should feed him. He asked her not to come back until all of this was done. `Abdu’l-Bahá had done these things many times for this man, and He told Lua Getsinger that she should be able to do them once. This is how `Abdu’l-Bahá taught Lua to serve her fellow man.]
Divide the children into pairs, standing side by side, with the left leg of one child tied to the right leg of the other. Have each pair walk from one designated spot to another. You can make the game more challenging by placing small obstacles in their path, such as branches and stones. Be sure to do this in a safe way. Alternatively, instead of simply walking, the pairs can be asked to jump like frogs, gallop like horses, and so on.
- Set up some drawing paper - the number of pieces equal to the number of participants in the activity.
- On the top of each paper is a scenario of what would compassion look like if... your dog is caught up in his leash? a friend is confused about what the teacher said? Someone is sad because her mother is sick in the hospital? A new student is lonely and feels left out? Your father seems very tired after work?
- Explain the instructions - this is like musical chairs, we walk around the table when the music plays, and when the music stops, we have to sit at the paper closest to us. We then have to start drawing a comic strip related to that question. When the music starts playing again, we have to stop drawing straight away, get up and start walking around the table again. When the music stops, we sit and continue the comic strip someone else started.
- At the end, people can share what they see going on in the comic strip with the rest of the group.
We did this game last week with a group of 8-9 year olds, and it worked out really well :):)
- [Someone Else's Shoes
- Service projects e.g. food drive?
Compassion - from the Family Virtues Guide
What Is Compassion?
Compassion is understanding and caring about someone who is in trouble or has made a mistake. It is being kind and forgiving because another person really matters to you. It is feeling sorry when someone is hurt (it might be you) and needs someone to understand. It is forgiving someone who hurt you because you understand why they hurt you and care more about that person than your own hurt. It is feeling the pain of someone who is in trouble even if you do not know that person. It is caring deeply and wanting to help - even if all you can do is to listen and say kind words.
Why Practice Compassion?
When people feel bad or find themselves in trouble, they usually feel very much alone. Feeling alone can make things even worse. At such times, people start to believe no one understands or cares about them at all.
Being compassionate tells a person that they are not alone. It makes you a friend when someone needs a friend. It gives you a good feeling and makes you useful at the same time. It helps you to understand other people and yourself.
Without compassion, the world is a hard and lonely place. With compassion, we are all connected and hard times are much easier because others understand and care.
How Do You Practice It?
Compassion begins by paying attention to yourself and to others. Notice when someone looks sad or is having some trouble in his life (it could be an animal or a person). Go up to that person and show you understand care by:
- Sitting close by, letting him know that you are there and that he is not alone
- Listening if he wants to talk
- Sharing your own experience if you have a similar one
- Understanding and forgiving him if he hurt you without meaning to
- Doing what you can to help - it might just be praying for him
What would compassion look like if...
- Your dog is caught up in his leash
- A friend is confused about what a teacher said?
- Someone is sad because their mother is sick in the hospital?
- A new student is lonely and feels left out?
- Your father seems very tired after work?
Signs of Success
Congratulations! You are practising compassion when you...
Keep trying! You need more practice when you...
I have compassion. I notice when someone needs attention and freely offer my help.