Photo courtesy of Samin Todd
As our family made the one hour journey to the world conference in the city of Geelong, Australia, my seven year old son made quite the soul-stirring remark from the rear seat of our car, his high-pitched, raspy voice tugging at our heartstrings.
“Mum, I invited my friend to come along this weekend.”
“Oh really? What did you say?”
“I said, ‘Hey, do you want to come to the conference tomorrow?'”
“And what did he say?”
“He said, ‘What’s it about?’ And I said, ‘To make the world a better place.’ So he said he’d ask his mum.”
My son had become inspired after watching this video released by the United Kingdom about the world conferences. He even wanted to approach his school principal and invite him to the momentous occasion.
There are so many lessons we can reap from this simple yet brazen conversation between two children: courage, friendliness, boldness, love. If only we all had that same level of determination. It is most definitely a gift, and one that we tend to repress as we age and as we become more conscious of the perceptions of those around us.
It is for this reason that I believe it is vital that our global conferences cater as much for our children as they do for the rest of us: that they empower, inspire and spur our children on so that the upcoming nine years and beyond see our children harness their inherent gems and propel them forward with utmost steadfastness.
But how can this be achieved? Here are some ideas from my humble part of the world. Continue reading
In this year’s flourishing of online resources related to Abdu’l-Baha, I have found it particularly poignant to see materials created for children by children. Light of Unity is a nine episode podcast mini-series of stories about Abdu’l-Baha as told by a group of children in Indonesia.
Wendy Yap graciously shared the initiative with us and in this interview, she tells us how it came about, what’s it’s meant for the participants, and what they hope you will take away with you when you listen to podcast:
In recent years we have been blessed with a number of new authorized translations of prayers by Abdu’l-Baha (you can find them all here on the Baha’i Reference Library).
Ahva Afnani Aflatooni, a young mother, has illustrated and designed a beautiful board book to adorn many of those prayers and it’s titled Bursting Into Bloom. Board books, thus named for their thick cardboard pages, are perfect for little ones to hold. It’s wonderful to see another resource made available for really young kids.
Ahva generously agreed to tell us about the prayer book she designed. Here’s what she shared with us: Continue reading
The dynamic team at First Valley Books that created the vibrant and engaging children’s book Little Champions of Justice have a new project in honor of Abdu’l-Baha as we commemorate the centenary of His Passing.
Mighty: 7 Stories About Abdu’l-Baha for Children Who Want to Serve the World is their latest creation and it’s really a gift to the children of the world: it’s been translated into five languages, it’s available as a free download and you can purchase physical copies of the book on www.firstvalleybooks.com, you can listen to all the stories here on our Soundcloud page, and you can see simple videos of the stories on our YouTube channel.
We’re beyond beyond grateful that the team at First Valley Books gave us permission to share this wonderful resource on Baha’i Blog. We wanted to share with you a little bit more about the book so we asked the team a few questions, and here is what they told us:
As parents, we ought not be surprised when we became inundated with questions of “why?” from our children — if anything we should celebrate it! Baha’i communities around the world have dedicated programs geared towards our children’s empowerment, where they are actively encouraged to ask questions and independently investigate truth. Continue reading
Tuaine Hamilton, who some know as Ine, has created a thoughtful and beautifully designed tool for helping children develop their innate qualities and inner gems: virtue cards!
You may recognize Ine from her Studio Session “Listen” or from her interview about her album that bears the same name (you can read it here if you’d like).
I was delighted to hear from her about her virtue cards. In this interview, she tells us why she created them, how they can be used, and what she’s learned in the process of making them. Here’s what she shared: Continue reading
Having recently celebrated the fact that we’ve published over 300 Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions around the world so far, we thought it would be great to share a number of Studio Session songs we’ve published based on a short prayer by Abdu’l-Baha which starts with “O God, guide me…”. There are two translated versions of this prayer which we’ve included below, however, the newest version is shown first:
O God, guide me, protect me, make of me a shining lamp and a brilliant star. Thou art the Mighty and the Powerful.
O God, guide me, protect me, illumine the lamp of my heart and make me a brilliant star. Thou art the Mighty and Powerful.
So here are 10 Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions based on the “O God Guide Me” prayer by Abdu’l-Baba that we’ve published so far, and please let us know if there are any you think we’ve missed in the comments section below. Continue reading
I was excited to learn about an awesome new initiative called ‘Nurturing Human Beans’, a series of free activity booklets aimed at helping children put spiritual principles into practice.
These activity books were created by a couple of my friends named Anisa and Dina, both mothers, who were trying to figure out what activities they could do with their children, especially during this time of isolation as a result of the current pandemic. Their first activity booklet is titled ‘LOVE – A Practical Guide for Kids (During Social Distancing)’, and like all their booklets, they aim to connect children and their actions with spiritual principles that bring meaning to the circumstances they find themselves in.
I wanted to learn more about this wonderful free activity booklet and the ‘Nurturing Human Beans’ initiative as a whole, so I got in touch with Anisa and Dina to find out more. Here’s what they had to say: Continue reading
When I was a child in early primary school my mother became a Baha’i. We learned as a family about what it meant to be a Baha’i and we didn’t have a conscious awareness of the importance of unity – especially between siblings. My sister and I fought a lot and I was often very cruel to her as the older sister. If we played in the pool, for example, we might splash each other and if at some point I splashed so hard that I made her eyes sting from water and chlorine I would think nothing of it, and her visible suffering would probably only encourage me to splash harder.
In 1984 I was 11 years old when my mother, sister and I attended the dedication of the Temple in Samoa. There were many Baha’is staying in the same hotel as us. I remember playing in the pool with two children whom I had never met before and have never met since – though I’ve heard they live in our region. We chased each other and splashed each other. And over thirty years later I still remember the profound impact of the behaviour of those children on me. Navid splashed his sister Nava and they were having fun, but then the water got in her eyes. Nava indicated that her eyes were hurting and her brother immediately stopped and swam over to her, apologised and checked that she was ok. I had never seen anything like it. He behaved with the same kindness in his interactions with her as he would have with me (a stranger) or with his teacher or with anyone. Kind was the only way he knew how to be. It was a highly developed quality of his soul, not a performance that could be turned on and off depending on circumstances. Continue reading
Mine Rich in Gems is an incredible resource for teaching children and junior youth (from the ages of 2-14). Created by a family team made up of wife and husband, Lili and Wei, along with daughters, Kati and Christi, Mine Rich in Gems offers downloadable Baha’i-inspired activity booklets and materials in support of Feasts, Holy Day celebrations, children’s classes, home visits and other occasions. These resources are jam-packed with stories, games, puzzles and coloring sheets.
I got in touch with the team behind Mine Rich in Gems to find out more about how they came together and what they’re working on. Here’s what they shared with me: Continue reading