LESSON 16: LIVING A VIRTUOUS LIFE
The next 3 lessons are about devoting our lives to service.
What does that mean: to devote our lives to service? How do we even start to do this with so much going on in our lives every day?
The first step in this process is to live a virtuous life.
What exactly does living a virtuous life mean?
By reading the story, and learning the prayer and quote in the next three lessons, we will begin to understand how we can devote our lives to service. We can then also understand what service is and how we can serve every day of our lives.
For lessons 8 and 9 we will continue to memorize the prayer below
O Thou kind Lord! These lovely children are the handiwork of the fingers of Thy might and the wondrous signs of Thy greatness. O God! Protect these children, graciously assist them to be educated and enable them to render service to the world of humanity. O God! These children are pearls, cause them to be nurtured within the shell of Thy loving-kindness. Thou art the Bountiful, the All-Loving.‘Abdu’l-Bahá
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The following ideas will assist you in explaining to the children the quotation they are expected to learn today
God loves us and always wants us to be near Him. One way that we are able to draw nearer to God is through service. We serve God when we serve His loved ones. There are many ways in which we can serve our fellow human beings. We can, for example, visit the sick, help those in need, and share what we learn with others. We should strive to serve all people, whether rich or poor, friends or strangers.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá was our perfect Exemplar. He showed us what it means to walk a path of service to humanity. His entire life was dedicated to helping other people. In fact, His very name means “Servant of God”. He was never concerned for His own needs or comfort. He did not seek after wealth or power. He never wanted any titles or recognition. His only desire was to serve God and humanity. “My station is the station of servitude,” He often told the friends. This is the highest station-to place oneself in the service of others. This is the station that we are all trying to achieve. What greater joy than to bring joy to another soul. What greater honor than to be seen as a true servant of God and humanity. That we may all follow in the ways of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, let us memorize the following quotation:
That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race‘Baha’u’llah
MEANING OF WORDS
Dervi always pays close attention during art class and spends many hours preparing herself for each class. Dervi dedicates much of her time to the arts.
Hung Wei’s father has a vegetable garden. Everyday Hung Wei helps his father weed and water the garden. Hung Wei is dedicated to helping his father.
Mumbi, Apiyo and Tocho cleaned the schoolyard after the storm had left it full of broken branches and leaves from the trees. They were happy to render this service to the school.
Sachiko walks four kilometers to give a children’s class. She is happy to walk this far each week because she wants nothing more than to be of service to the community.
At school we saw pictures of people from many different countries. All of these people belong to the human race.
The museum has musical instruments from all over the world. Looking at their many shapes and sizes, the children were reminded of both the diversity of the human race and of the love of people everywhere for music.
MEMORIZATION AID FOR QUOTE
PICTURES TO REMEMBER THE QUOTE HERE
A Story On How To Serve
You can remind the children of the story of Lua Getsinger they heard in Lesson 2 regarding prayer and then tell them the following story about her, which will help illustrate for them what it means to be a servant of God.
You remember from our lesson on prayer that Lua Getsinger was one of the early Bahai’s in the West who visited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the prison-city of ‘Akka. One day during her visit, the Master took her aside and explained to her that He had many pressing matters to attend to and would not be able to call upon a friend who was very sick. He wished Lua to go in His place. He told her to take some food to the sick man and care for him as He had been doing.
Lua learned the address of the man and immediately set off to do as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had asked. She felt proud that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had entrusted her with a task that He would usually have carried out Himself. But, only a short while later, she returned to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in a state of excitement. “Master, “she exclaimed, “surely you cannot realize to what a terrible place you sent me. I almost fainted from the awful stench, the filthy rooms, the degrading condition of that man and his house. I fled lest I contract some terrible disease.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá gazed at her sadly and sternly. If she wanted to serve God, He explained, she must 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 sick man’s house. If the house was dirty, she should clean it. 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 for His friend many times, and she should be able to do them this once, He told her with firmness. That is how Lua learned an important lesson about what it means to serve her fellow human beings.
Draw any part of the story
DRAMA / GAMES
This period of the class can begin with the usual stretching exercise. You may then lead the class in the next set of activities related to the theme of this lesson, that is, the spirit of service. Explain to the children that today they will improvise a situation that will help them gain further understanding of what it means to serve humanity. Divide the youngsters into groups of three and then describe the following scenario for them:
Ask the children to imagine that they arrive home one day and their mother tells them that their aunt is sick. Their mother has prepared some soup for her, and the children ask whether they can take it to their aunt and look after her for a while. Their kind offer brings joy to their mother’s heart, and the three children set off with the pot of soup. Have the children show you how they would carry the soup carefully to the aunt’s house, making sure not to spill it. When they arrive at the house, they greet their aunt and inquire after her health. First, they take care of her needs. Ask the children to tell you what specific things they would do for her. Perhaps she is cold and needs more blankets, or requires water or a book, and they bring these things to her. They can demonstrate for you how they would carry out these tasks. Next, they look around the aunt’s house to see what chores need to be done, for example, washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, or doing the laundry, and they practice performing these tasks. Once they are familiar with all the elements of the scenario, each of the groups can act it out in its entirety.
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We read earlier: What greater joy than to bring joy to another soul…
There are many ways to bring joy. here are some suggestions:
- Bake a cake or make cookies for someone who is ill or sad.
- Send a card, or make one and send it.
- Help someone with a task they are struggling with
- Pick flowers or buy flowers and take them to someone who needs cheering up
- Can you sing or play an instrument? then why not do so to bring joy to the heart of a friend?
Make Yummy Cookies
This is also posted on my old blog Here
The first cookie is known as Christmas Crack: don’t let the name scare you away. This cookie takes 5 minutes and is one of my cheating recipes, i.e. you do not make it all from scratch but use a prepared ingredient, in this case, saltine crackers.
The first time I heard of using salt crackers in a cookie I was not interested but think “salted caramel” and it is close to what magic happens in this recipe.
This cookie has semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips melted on top of salt crackers that have been covered in caramel.
The second recipe I found in a children’s cookbook years ago and again the name scares you away: Fat Albert! The base for this cookie is graham crackers again a caramel covering and lots of sliced almonds.
Use: To give to someone the gladden their hearts.
We are thinking of using cookies in little cellophane bags for table decorations. I also make these for Naw-Rúz to have on hand when we have visitors.
Age: Some of this can be “done” by children age 3 and up. All ages can help eat!
Time 10 minutes
Christmas Crack and Fat Alberts are the same measurements for the ingredients except for the fact that one uses almonds and the other chocolate. The cook time and temperature are also the same so the directions below are for both.
Christmas Crack Ingredients
28-30 Saltine Crackers
250 mL (1 cup) Butter
250 ml (1 cup) brown sugar
500 mL ( 2 cups) chocolate chip
Fat Albert Ingredients
28-30 Graham Crackers
250 mL (1 cup) Butter
250 ml (1 cup) brown sugar
500 mL ( 2 cups) chocolate chip
Directions for both:
- Heat the oven to 400F (200 C)
- Cover the cookie sheet with graham crackers for Fat Alberts or saltine crackers for Christmas Crack crackers should be touching.
- Melt the butter over low heat in a saucepan.
- Stir in the sugar and bring mixture to a boil. Be careful not to let the mixture boil over.
- Pour the sugar mixture over all the crackers (graham or saltine)
- For Fat Alberts: sprinkle the almonds now.
- bake for 5 to 8 minutes until bubbly.
- Remove from the oven
- For Christmas Crack immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips and as they start to melt use a spatula to spread over the surface. try to cover all the surface and you can also let it seep in between the crackers.
- Let cool and then break into squares.
TIP: I cut both sugar and butter to 3/4 cup without the taste or look of the cookie being affected.
Download the pdf here
Make a musical instrument
Making musical instruments from items around the house is easy. Zing instruments blog has some easy ideas. It is sure to cheer the heart of someone. Have fun!
We have made so many flowers in the past I am sure you are all experts. Here are a few easy flowers to make if you need them:
- Paper flowers
- Felt Flowers here and here
- Cupcake liner flower
- Bottle cap flower, string art flowers and more
BRILLIANT STAR MAGAZINE HAS A CRAFT SAVING FOR SERVICE
The link is here
Here are some other ideas for making a bank to save up for service:
Coin Bank Made from any type of can with a plastic lid
DRAW SCENES FROM THE STORY
You can review with the children the quotation from today’s lesson, before helping them to recite the following passages they memorized in Grade 1 regarding the purity of heart and sincerity:
O Son of Spirit! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heartBaha’u’llah
We should at all times manifest our truthfulness and sincerity‘Abdu’l-Bahá