Open the class by saying a prayer you know by heart, and then ask some of the children to recite prayers. In this lesson, they should finish learning the prayer they started to memorize in Lesson 4. So today you should review it with them to make sure they can say it well.
Yes I Believe You
You tell me about this new Age
How thrilling the world ought to be
You tell me that mankind is one family
And that there is a way to world peace
Yes I believe you, yes I believe you
Yes I believe you, I believe you
I believe you with all my heart
You talk of a new race of men
People who have all their trust in God
Men and women who are doing their best
To bring divine unity to all
You say that the Glory of God
Over a hundred years ago
Came to fulfil all God’s promises to man
And usher in a new golden Age
In presenting the quotation the children will learn today, you may wish to draw on the following ideas:
When our words and deeds reflect what is in our hearts, we show forth the quality of sincerity. Sincerity inspires us to be truthful and faithful in our dealings with others. For example, when we say that we are sorry for something that we have done, we also know in our hearts that we will make every effort not to repeat our wrongdoings. It is through our sincerity that others can see the purity of our hearts and place their trust in us. To help us remember the importance of this quality, we will memorize the following quotation of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:
“We should at all times manifest our truthfulness and sincerity…”
Put to music HERE.
1. Asha cleaned the mud off the seashall that he found at the beach and polished it until it was smooth and shiny. When he was finished, the shell’s true beauty became manifest.
2. As the sun rose and the morning fog lifted, the splendour of the mountains became manifest.
1. Leo’s classmates often play games instead of studying. Leo is worried that they will not do well in school, so he suggests that they all study together and tries to think of ways that they can help each other learn. Leo’s concern for his classmates is sincere.
2. Rosa promised her mother that she would do her homework every day. When her parents are away, Rosa diligently works on her homework assignments. Rose was sincere in her promise.
[For our lesson, as we had spent quite a while reviewing/learning the prayer above, we decided to do the quotation memorization after the story; while introducing the virtue prior to the story/at the beginning of the lesson]
To understand the concept of sincerity, the opposite "fake" was looked at. Real v. fake things were compared. First, was a real pear and a fake pear: The fake pear may look a little bit prettier on the outside and have no dents or bruises, but when you look down to the essence of what it is, it lacks depth and value. Taste good? help them grow? nutrition? We determined that it is much more helpful for us if we had the real thing.
Next: Louis Vuitton purses. The materials used and the care that goes into making a real designer bag far exceeds the fake look alike.
We related all this to the thought of being a fake person. I gave them a couple examples by acting out things. I would say something nice to their face, ask them to go away (within ear shot) and say the opposite thing to the other sister. An example would be, “Abby, I like your shirt.” She then walked away, and I said to Kenzie, “I don’t really like her shirt at all.” I talked about how just like things can be fake or real, people can act fake or real.
When introducing today’s story, you may wish to explain to the children that, sometimes, we can better understand what it means to possess a quality by listening to a story that shows when it is lacking.
For many years a large tree stood behind a house that belonged to a husband and wife with several children. As the tree grew, its branches reached up and out, shading the back of the family’s home. One winter morning, the father was passing under the tree when he met a neighbour. They spoke briefly of the comings and goings in the village. After a while, the neighbour, taking notice of the large tree, said to the man, “You know, it really is time for you to cut that enormous tree down. It is sprawling and unruly. What if one of the branches were to break off and fall onto your roof—or worse yet, hit one of your children while they play in the shade?” When the two had parted, the man considered his neighbour’s advice. The tree had stood in this place since before he could remember, and no harm had come of it. It gave good shade in the summer and shielded the house from the bitter winds of winter. It seemed sturdy and strong. “Still, perhaps my neighbour has a point,” the man said to himself. “Appearances can sometimes be deceiving. What if the tree is not as sturdy as it seems?” And so he decided to cut it down.
It was a difficult job, for the tree was very big, indeed, and had many limbs and branches, some of them quite high. Just as the man finished, his neighbour returned, this time accompanied by his two sons and a cart. “I see you decided to take down the tree,” the neighbour said, looking at the many stacks of wood. “I suppose you’ll need someone to take those piles away. Perhaps we can help you. I have brought my cart and my two sons, and we will be happy to remove all this from your yard.” Without waiting for an answer, the sons began loading the wood into the waiting cart. As they pulled away, the man sat down on the stump of the tree that had sheltered his home for so long. It was then that he realized that his neighbour had not been concerned for his family’s safety after all, but for the supply of firewood that would keep him warm through the winter months. “Appearances can, indeed, sometimes be deceiving,” he said with a sigh.
Begin by instructing one of the children to leave the room or to go some distance from the area where the class is being held. The others hide a small object e.g. pencil, and the child is asked to come back into the classroom and to find that small object. The others help by clapping louder and louder/saying warm/warmer as the child comes closer to the object, and clapping more quietly or saying colder/cold as the child moves away. The children should be careful not to mislead the friend who is searching for the hidden object; otherwise he or she will lose trust in the others, and the game will be futile.
[For the art activity, we broke the prayer we were memorizing up into phrases. Each phrase, we wrote on a piece of card. The children then illustrated the phrases as they understood it. It was then a puzzle for the children to assemble together.]