Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community.
So many people in the world, especially young people, are looking for their calling and something to cling to, something that gives life context and a purpose, something that bathes everything else in meaning, magically making sense of life. For me, this yearning for a deeper meaning to life is a sign that humans have souls, and it is a reminder that we are not content with simply getting on with life. We seek connections and a path to channel our energies. This search for deeper meaning can lead to wonderful things: some examples that come to my mind are when people become very devoted to their field of work, which leads to much-needed discoveries and advancement, or when people dedicate their lives to the spiritual education of children and empowering junior youth.
But what is finding oneself really? And how does one find oneself? 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
As Baha’is, we know that education is of three kinds: material, human and spiritual. As a mother, I have always found the first two kinds relatively easy to manage. When it comes to their spiritual education however, I tend to feel a little more uneasy, especially since Abdu’l-Baha refers to this kind of education as the “true” kind when he says:
Divine education is that of the Kingdom of God: it consists in acquiring divine perfections, and this is true education…
The pressure is mounted with the following quote:
Training in morals and good conduct is far more important than book learning. A child that is cleanly, agreeable, of good character, well-behaved – even though he be ignorant – is preferable to a child that is rude, unwashed, ill-natured, and yet becoming deeply versed in all the science and arts. The reason for this is that the child who conducts himself well, even though he be ignorant, is of benefit to others, while an ill-natured, ill-behaved child is corrupted and harmful to others, even though he be learned. If, however, the child be trained to be both learned and good, the result is light upon light.
A few of the mothers in our community recently decided to start a children’s class specifically for those aged between zero and five. These preschool classes aim to encourage the development of morals and good conduct in our young ones, with each lesson based on a different virtue and featuring prayer, singing, stories and crafts.
Below are the 10 main steps we took when starting up the preschool classes: Continue reading
Monika Mackenzie is the artist behind the newly released Leaves of Wisdom: A Baha’i Colouring Resource for Children (Volume 1), which contains over 100 illustrations. She’s also the illustrator behind the Facebook page Bahai Colouring Pages, where you are warmly encouraged to save, share and print what’s posted. Her work includes beautifully illustrated quotations from the Writings, or phrases like “Happy Naw Ruz”, and is a wonderful resource for parents, children’s class teachers or for programs for little ones during Holy Day celebrations, Feasts or other gatherings. Leaves of Wisdom was launched on Ridvan and I was delighted when Monika agreed to tell us a little bit about herself, her unique artwork, and her desire to share it with everyone. Continue reading
Pictured above is the Brilliant Star team and key contributors at their 2013 Annual Meeting. From left to right is Annie Reneau, Susan Engle, Lisa Blecker, C. Aaron Kreader, Amethel Parel-Sewell, Amy Renshaw, Donna Price, and Foad Ghorbani.
In the Baha’i Faith we know that “Children are the most precious treasure a community can possess, for in them are the promise and guarantee of the future”, so there’s no doubt that coming up with creative and meaningful ways to support our children is important, and that’s why I couldn’t wait to do a post about Brilliant Star!
Brilliant Star is an award-winning Baha’i-inspired children’s magazine and website aimed at children of all faiths, and invites them to explore concepts based on principles central to the teachings of the Baha’i Faith, like encouraging their development as world citizens, their appreciation for cultural and racial diversity, peace among all religions and nations, the equality of women and men, and the elimination of prejudices.
The magazine really had a profound effect on me when I was a child, and I remember how I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it whenever a new issue came out. Now, some 45 years on (yep, Brilliant Star first started in 1969 as Child’s Way and then became Brilliant Star in 1983), Brilliant Star continues to publish six times per year with subscribers in over 40 countries, coming from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and faiths.
I decided to touch base with Brilliant Star’s Editor and Creative Director Amethel Parel-Sewell, to find out more about this wonderful resource: Continue reading
A lot of my friends are always telling me that we really need more resources to support our Baha’i holy days and celebrations.
So, to help with your Ayyam-i-Ha celebrations, I am absolutely delighted to let everyone know about the digitally restored and remastered re-release of the Happy Ayyam-i-Ha album by William Sears and the Ayyam-i-Ha Kids!
For those of you who have never heard of it – the Happy Ayyam-i-Ha album is simply a classic. It blends the wonderful storytelling of Hand of the Cause of God Mr. William Sears with sing-a-long songs performed by children.
Released in 1979, the album received the 1979 Christian Angel Award for the ‘Best Children’s Album of the Year’, and it was the first time in the association’s history that the Angel Award had been given to a non-Christian group. Continue reading
It’s not often you hear about Baha’i inspired novels aimed at children, and so when I heard that there was this great series of books called The Fellowship Farm series, I had to find out more.
The Fellowship Farm books are a series of ten novels for primary school aged children. Readers follow the Fitzgerald family who live on a farm in Tasmania, Australia as they go about their daily life. The Fitzgerald family experience crisis and victory, seize and neglect opportunities to develop their virtues, achieve (and on occasion fail to achieve) unity, as they go to school, work on the farm, go camping, find abandoned puppies, live through bullying and a even a snake bite, build a tree house, host Holy Days and so on. In an engaging way their stories offer a model of a healthy, loving family striving to practice the Teachings of Baha’u’llah.
The feedback from everyone who’s read the books has been fantastic, so I decided to catch up with Melanie Lotfali, the author of these wonderful books, to find out more. Continue reading
As the proud parent of a very active, very cute, and rather loud one year old, I’m all of a sudden much more interested in everything to do with raising children. So I was particularly excited to see a wonderful new Baha’i blog that’s been running for the last few months now called Enable Me to Grow. It’s run by two Baha’i mums collecting resources for other mothers to ‘intentionally cultivate their own spiritual growth as well as nourish the spirits of their little ones’.
There are already quite a lot of posts on the site as the pair have been blogging with a vengeance. My personal favourite so far is the activity based “Write Your Spiritual Bucket List” which is super pertinent with Baha’i new year just past! Definitely a time to use your new fast-induced spiritual powers to map out new year’s resolutions! Continue reading
The Ruhi Institute has made available for download, recordings of the songs contained in the new lesson plans for Grades 1 and 2 of the Teaching Children’s Class book.
These songs can be downloaded for free, and you can also download a page which contains both the lyrics and the chords for each song – so that’s pretty cool!
These materials can be used in both children’s classes and other educational activities, and The Ruhi Institute also permits the songs to be translated and recorded into various languages, provided that no recording be sold or used for commercial purposes in any way.
You can access the songs here: http://www.ruhi.org/resources/songs.php