"O God! Rear this little babe in the bosom of Thy love, and give it milk from the breast of Thy Providence. Cultivate this fresh plant in the rose garden of Thy love and aid it to grow through the showers of Thy bounty. Make it a child of the kingdom, and lead it to Thy heavenly realm. Thou art powerful and kind, and Thou art the Bestower, the Generous, the Lord of surpassing bounty."
At the conclusion of the prayer, one or two children should be asked to say a prayer they already know. You may then help them review the prayer they began to memorize during the previous class.
Alternative prayer: "Say O God! Attire mine head with the crown of Justice, and my temple with the ornament of equity. Thou, very, art the Possessor of all gifts and bounties." - especially if they all already know O God guide me...
A Noble Way mp3 HERE
Justice is a noble way
Justice brings a brighter day
A light to those in need
Shining through good deeds
Oh, justice is the way.
We know 'Abdu'l-Baha would share
Showing love and showing care
He was content with less
In order to bring happiness
He was content with less
To be just we have to give,
Share our love and joy to live
Sharing blessing we receive
A better world we will achieve
Oh, justice is the way.
After the songs, the children may memorize a quotation from the Writings of Baha'u'llah. You could explain it the following way:
God loves justice. He is pleased with us when He sees us treating other people with fairness and justice. We must respect the rights of every human being and make sure we do not take away from anyone what they deserve. In order to help us be just, let us memorize this quotation of Baha'u'llah:
"Tread ye the path of justice, for this, verily, is the straight path."
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1. Many leaves have fallen from the trees in the forest, covering the path. Fumiko walks through the forest. She treads the leaf-covered path.
2. Pedro like to help all his friends play happily together. Pedro and his friends are very unified. Pedro treads the path of unity.
1. Luis has a donkey. He took it to graze in a meadow and left it alone. The donkey found the path home by itself.
2. There are two ways to go to school. Millie always likes to take the path that goes by her grandmother's house.
1. Carlos was given crayons to hand out during class. There were ten crayons and five children. Carlos gave two crayons to each child. Carlos was acting with justice in handing out the crayons.
2. Anna has lots of water in the well in her yard, but sometimes her neighbour's well runs dry. Anna never allows this neighbour to suffer and always makes her feel welcome to take water. Anna loves justice.
[Quotes from other religions:Buddhism: He, who inquires into what is right and wrong is indeed just and wise. Dhammatthavagga: 256
Judaism: Execute true justice. Show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother. Zechariah 7:9
Islam: Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of any-one lead you into the sin of deviating from justice. Quran 5:8 (Asad)]
One day, 'Abdu'l-Baha wanted to go from 'Akka to Haifa. He went to take an inexpensive seat in a regular coach. The driver was surprised and must have asked himself why 'Abdu'l-Baha was so frugal as to ride in this cheap coach. "Surely, Your Excellency would prefer to travel in a private carriage," he exclaimed. "No," replied the Master and He traveled in the crowded coach all the way to Haifa. As He stepped down from the coach in Haifa, a distressed fisher woman came to Him and asked for His help. All day she had caught nothing and now had to return home to her hungry family. 'Abdu'l-Baha gave her a good sum of money, turned to the driver and said, "Why should I ride in luxury while so many are starving?"
- It's Fair to Share Game
On individual slips of paper write down the name of things or animals such as: bird, bunny, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, candy bar, TV remote, basketball, brush etc. Prepare a few more slips of paper then the number of children in the class. One child draws a slip out of a basket and reads it to them self and sets it aside without saying it out loud. If there are non readers in the class they can draw and a teacher can whisper what it says in their ear. The child pretends they have this imaginary thing for a few seconds and then pass it to the person next to them. For example if it said "bunny" they might cradle it in their arm gently, pet it a couple times and pass it to the next person carefully. If it said "hair brush" they might pretend to brush their hair a couple times and pass it to the next person. If it's a sandwich they might hold it like a sandwich, take a big bite and pass it to the next person. The item continues around the circle like that person to person. The only talking is when the object is handed from one person to the next the receiver says "Thanks for sharing" and the giver says "You're welcome". Everyone copies what the first child did even though they might not know what the object/animal is suppose to be. When the object has made it back to where it started everyone else in the group makes one guess as to what it was they think they all just shared. The person who started the round tells everyone what it actually was. Let everyone have a turn being the first.]
To end the class, each child is given a copy of Drawing 2 to colour, after which you recite a closing prayer or invite a few of the children to do so.
[Alternative art activity: Straight Path of Justice drawing/painting]
1. Sorting stones - where there's a pile of items (stones, flowers, candies), and the children have to be just and work out how to distribute the candies evenly in a matter that is just.
2. Use a long piece of paper, get the children to paint their feet and walk along "the path of justice", leaving their footprints on it.
3. We've made a trail - much like an obstacle course, where the children have to follow the trail in unity over seats and under tables whilst holding hands (or walking backwards, on one foot), to illustrate endeavouring to do what's right - even if there's challenges or obstacle in front of us.
4. For the art activity, we've had card shaped feet (they could even trace their own feet), which we decorated as "feet of justice", and writing the quote on them to take home.
5. Making little signs that say "just" and "not just" on either side. You can tell the children a story, or just give them scenarios - and they have to hold up their sign and tell if it's "just!" or "not just". The children can give their own examples. E.g.:
- (J) Sharing crayons with others
- (J) Following the rules when playing a game.
- Taking away someone's toy without asking to use it.
- (J) Making sure everyone gets a slice of cake.
- Cutting in front of others in line without permission.
- (J) Taking equal turns on the swing.
- (J) Finding a game everyone can enjoy.
- Taking someone's candy if they were mean to you.
6. For memorization, the “step game“, in which children stand in a line and slowly advance one step at a time, each saying one word of a quote in sequence when they step ahead, continuing until they cross a finish line. We used bristol board to write out quotes and prayers in large print so that they can easily be seen from a distance.
7. There was another activity I saw somewhere that actually involves building a carriage - a print out that you fold into a carriage, and has the quotation on it.
What is justice?
Practising justice is being fair in everything you do. It is seeing with you own eyes and not judgin something or someone by what other people tell you.
Justice means that people receive what they deserve. Everyone gets his fair share. It is just for people to receive a consequence or punishment when they do something wrong, so they will remember to do things differently next time. It is also just for people to be recognized when they are doing something right or making an improvement.
Being just is standing up for your rights and the rights of other people. If someone is taking advantage of you, it is not just to allow them to continue doing it. If someone is hurting you, it is just to stop them. It is never just for strong people to hurt weaker people. Justice means that every person's rights are protected.
When you practice being just, you treat each person as an individual. You don't judge people or put them in categories. You just see them one by one.
Why practice justice?
Without justice, people who hurt or take advantage of others get away with it and keep on doing it. Without justice the world can be a cruel and dangerous place. People are judged or treated differently because of their sex, race or religion. Innocent people, like young children, suffer for no reason. People with wealth and power get away with things that poor people cannot. We need justice in order to protect the rights of everyone.
When justice is practised, people can expect to receive what they deserve. If they work to earn money, they it. If they are accused of something, they have a change to say what really happened and to be heard fairly.
When people are being just, they don't separate themselves from other human beings because they look or sound different or come from a different culture. Everyone has a fair chance to be seen for who they are.
When there is justice, everyone receives a fair share.
Hoe do you practice it?
Being just is investigating the truth for yourself, accepting what others say only as their opinion. You see the facts with your own eyes and ears. You think for yourself.
When you are just, you act without prejudice by seeing each person as an individual. You don't decide things about them because of their race, colour, nationality, religion or sex, whether they are far or thin, rich or poor.
When you are just, you admit your own mistakes and accept the consequences. You share with others - so everyone has a fair share.
When you are practising justice, you don't gossip or find fault behind someone's back. It wouldn't be fair, because they aren't there to tell their side of things. If you have a problem with someone, you go directly to that person and work things out.
When you are being just, you stand up for yourself, and for others. You don't accept it when someone acts like a bully, cheats, or lies. Being a champion for justice takes courage. Sometimes when you stand for justice, you stand alone.
What would justice look like if...
- You are with a group and they start to gossip?
- Everyone is teasing a child who looks different?
- Someone makes a remark to you about people of a different race?
- An older child starts to get rough with you?
- Something in your room is missing and you think your brother took it?
- You are cutting the cake at your birthday party?
Signs of Success
From the Family Virtues Guide: Justice
Congratulations! You are practising justice when you...
Keep trying! You need more practice when you...
I act with justice. I investigate the truth for myself and form my own opinions. I do not gossip or backbite. I stand up for the rights of others and myself.