14. THANKFULNESS
“Be then content with My pleasure and thankful unto Me.” 17
What does thankful mean? Yes, it means that we want to say ‘thank you’ to someone. What would you like to thank your parents for? Should we thank God for our friends and teachers? There are so many things for which we need to thank God. He made us and gave us all the talents we have. He also sent all His Messengers to teach us all how to live together happily.
How do we show that we are thankful? Yes, we should always say ‘thank you’ to people who do things for us. We can also do kind and helpful things for them. This shows by our deeds that we are thankful.
We also need to thank God every day, for everything He has given to us. Now the puzzle is how do we show God as well as tell Him that we are thankful, when we cannot see Him? ‘Abdu’l-Baha told us that the best way to thank God is to love one another! He said that just saying ‘thank you’ is not enough. Our thanks must come from the heart. We must show that we really mean it. To show how thankful we are to God we must do good deeds. We must do what will please God. We must obey God. By doing this we show that we are truly thankful.
Here is a story about a boy who learnt kindness from a little cat.


THE LOVING CAT
Wayne was very lonely. He had no-one to play with. No friends lived nearby. What could he do? Just then a little cat came in through the window and jumped down onto the floor. “Shoo! Shoo!” said Wayne. It was then that Wayne could see that it was limping. “Ag, shame!” he said. “What is the problem?” He picked up the little cat and then he found that it had a sore on its foot. “Wait a bit. I know what I can do. I’ll put some ointment on it.” He carried the cat into the bathroom where he found the ointment and put some on the cat’s foot. The cat began to purr. It rubbed itself against his legs to say ‘thank you’. When the family had supper he fed the cat and when he went to bed it jumped up onto his bed and slept there all night. The next morning his mother said, “You know Wayne, that is not your cat and some people might be very worried to have lost their cat. You should go to see the new people who have moved in next door and ask if they know anyone who has lost a cat. Wayne picked up the little cat and went next door. He knocked on the door. Before he could ask if anyone had lost a cat, the little boy who answered called out, “Mommy, Mommy, here is someone with my cat!” He held out his hands to take the cat. He stroked it and hugged it. “I am so happy to have my cat back. I thought that he had run away and that I would never see him again.” Just then the mother came in. “Oh, thank you so much for finding our cat. A dog bit it and it ran away. I see that you have been very kind to him. You are welcome to come and play here. Thank you so much for finding him.”
Because Wayne was kind he is now welcome to play next door.
ACTIVITIES
YOUNGER CHILDREN
Colour the ‘Thank you God’ picture. Draw some more flowers and birds to make the picture very beautiful.
 

“Walk ye in the ways of the good pleasure of the Friend.” 16
It is important for us to be obedient to those who know more than we do. Our parents have the job to keep us safe from harm and so they tell us to be careful. They say, “Don’t touch the hot fire or you will get burnt.” “When you are bigger you can cut with that sharp knife.” Sometimes we do foolish things when we do not listen.
Now God, who has made the whole wonderful world, knows just what will harm us and what will make us happy. Sometimes we don’t understand why He tells us not to do certain things, but we should listen anyway, just because we know He is our Friend and He knows what is best for us.
Here is the story about a baby bird who did not listen.
THE DISOBEDIENT BABY BIRD
A mother and father bird and their three babies lived in a nest high up in a tree. The parents had to go off to find food for their babies and leave them alone in the nest. When the babies were very little they were good and sat quietly in the nest waiting for their mother or father to come with the food. As the babies grew bigger they used to look out over the edge of the nest. Their parents warned them about the cat. “The cat looks very friendly but he eats little birds. Never listen to the cat and never go near the cat,” they warned. One day when the parents were away the cat came and sat under the tree. “I am so happy to see you,” said the cat. “Please come and play with me.” “Oh, no!” said the baby birds. “Our parents told us about you. You eat little birds!” “Oh, no!” said the cat. “I would never do that! You are my friends. Come and play with me.” “Oh, no!” said the baby birds. Then the cat began to cry. “I am so lonely,” he said. “I have no-one to play with.” The first and second baby birds said, “No never! Our parents told us about you. We will not come and play.” But the third little bird looked over the edge of the nest. “He is such a beautiful cat,” he said, “and he is crying because we will not go and play with him.” “Oh, please,” said the cat. “Please come and play with me.” With those words the third little bird jumped down from the nest to play with the cat. “Snap, snap!” The little bird was gone, and there was a smile on the face of the cat! Just then father and mother bird came back. “Shoo!” they shouted and chased the cat away. “Now we know why we must listen,” said the two little birds who were still in the nest.
ACTIVITIES
YOUNGER CHILDREN
Colour the picture
OLDER CHILDREN
Act out the story of the three little birds. Who will be the parents? The children? The cat? Where will the nest be? Where will the cat stay?
16. Bahaú’llah, Hidden Words, Persian 43

 


 

“To give and be generous are attributes of Mine.” 14

 

Do you know what the word generosity means?  Yes, it means to give and share freely with others.  ‘Abdu’l-Baha was a wonderful example to us and there are lots of stories about His generosity.  This story is about a time when He was still a child. 

 

‘ABDU’L-BAHA AND THE SHEPHERDS

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Father was a very rich man and owned many villages in the countryside.  One day ‘Abdu’l-Baha went up into the mountains with some of the workmen to see the thousands of sheep his Father owned.  The shepherds were so happy to see ‘Abdu’l-Baha that they prepared a delicious feast for him.  Do you think that it was a feast of braaied lamb chops over their camp fire?

 In the evening when it was time to go home, the head shepherd told ‘Abdu’l-Baha that it was the custom in that part of the country to also give a present to the shepherds.  “I haven’t got anything to give you,” said ‘Abdu’l-Baha.  The head shepherd continued to say that it was the custom to give presents and that they expected ‘Abdu’l-Baha to give them something.  The boy, ‘Abdu’l Baha, must have wondered what he could do and then he came up with the answer to his problem.    He gave all the sheep to the shepherds!  What a surprise!  When Baha’u’llah heard about this He laughed and said, “We will have to protect ‘Abdu’l-Baha from himself – some day he will give himself away!”                                                 Vignettes

 

‘ABDU’L-BAHA AND THE CLOAK

When he was grown up ‘Abdu’l-Baha was always giving things away, even his own clothes.  His wife had great problems with this, especially when the very cold winter came with icy wind and rain, and sometimes even snow.  Once when she was going away on a journey ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s wife was afraid that he would give away his cloak (a coat which is more like a blanket without sleeves).  She bought him a second cloak and left it with one of her daughters asking her not to tell her father about it.  How surprised they must have been when soon after she had gone ‘Abdu’l-Baha came and asked if he had another cloak.  His daughter had to tell the truth and say that indeed he had one that she was keeping for him.  He then asked how he could be happy having two cloaks when he knew there were others who had no cloak at all?  He then gave away the second cloak.                                                   Vignettes

 

We too need to learn to be generous and give things away to those who need them.  There are so many needy people and organizations that look after poor people, who welcome anything that we can give them.

ACTIVITIES – ALL THE CHILDREN

Do the children know any poor people?  Have the children seen any poor people?  Is there a poor person in your street?  Is there a poor person at school?  Is there a children’s home or shelter for the homeless that we know?  Can we collect some used clothes, books, or toys, or can we buy some sweets?  Let the children make a plan to be generous and decide how they will do it.  Help them accomplish their goal.

 

Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Annamarie Honnold, adapted.

14.  Baha’u’llah, Hidden Words, Persian No. 49

“The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice.” 15
Justice is a big word that means being fair. In the Hidden Words we read:- “The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me.” God thinks that justice is very important and if we want to please God we must learn to be fair to others.
Is it fair for a big child to play with the ball all the time and not give his little brother a chance? Is it fair for the first child to get home to eat the best food? Is it fair that one child takes another child’s pencil?
But there are two sides to being fair. We have to learn to be fair to others, but also parents, care-givers and teachers and bigger children have to make sure that children are fair to each other. Sometimes they even have to punish someone who has not acted fairly, in order to teach them about fairness.
We will go back to the unfair behaviour we have just read about. What would be fair for the big child who plays with the ball? (Discuss this. When a fair plan has been agreed remind them that that is how they should behave). What would be fair in the case of the one hungry child who comes home before the others? (Discuss this). Instead of just taking another’s pencil, what should the child without a pencil do?
So you see, fairness or justice starts when we are small. We need to think “Would I be happy if someone did that to me?” or “What would ‘Abdu’l-Baha say?” Then we will know what the fair thing is.
We need to continually think about what Baha’u’llah has taught us. He is the Messenger of God for this day and we need to listen to Him. He blesses many people especially those who listen. Baha’u’llah says, “Blessed is the house where the mention of God hath been made.” Our homes are blessed because we say prayers there and we read the Holy Writings and try to do what God wants to do.
ACTIVITIES
Give all the children photo-copies of houses. The little ones will need assistance with the folding. The older children can be shown the house pattern and then make their own designs. They can draw the ‘inside’ of the house as several rooms before drawing people inside. Expect more of older children.

15. Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words, Arabic No 2

 


 

“I loved thy creation, hence I created thee.” 12
We are so lucky to be who we are and to know that God loved creating us. “O Son of Man! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee.” Isn’t it wonderful that God made us because He loved us. God made us just as He wanted us to be. Although we may be a boy or a girl, black, brown or white, tall or short, that is what He wanted. We must be happy to be who we are and try to be the very best person we can be. Now say, “My name is . . . . . . , and God loves me.”
We feel God’s love when people love us and when we are kind and loving to other people. The more we love, the more we feel God’s love. His love comes to us through other people and through the wonderful world that God has made.
Here is a story about a loving little girl.
THE WORN OUT JERSEY
There was once a very poor girl named Rika who lived with her grandmother as both her mother and father had died. They were so poor that they often did not have enough food to eat and Grandmother could not buy new clothes for Rika. She was very sorry for herself. “No-one cares for me. No-one loves me,” she thought. She was very sad. Then one day an old lady who lived nearby said to Rika, “You know Rika, my back is very, very sore and I find it difficult to sweep my house. Will you come and sweep my house for me and I will give you a little money? Rika agreed to help the old woman. The old lady was so happy that Rika was helping her. She kept saying to Rika, “Thank you, thank you. You are helping me so much.” Everyday she said, “Thank you,” to Rika and Rika began to feel happy. The old lady was kind to her and grew to love her and Rika grew to love her too. All this love made Rika very happy although she was still poor. In winter when it was cold, she had to wear the same jersey with holes in it every day as she had no other. One cold day as she was walking down the road she met a little girl who was shivering with cold. She had on a thin little dress and no jersey. “Why are you crying,” asked Rika.. “I am so very cold,” said the little girl. “Where is your jersey?” asked Rika. “I haven’t got one,” said the little girl. “Well, take mine,” said Rika taking off her jersey with the big holes in it and giving it to the little girl. The little girl was so happy. “Thank you, thank you,” she cried, dancing round and round. This made Rika so happy that she started dancing round and round too. While they were laughing and dancing a lady came by. “What happy children,” she said. “What makes you so happy?” “We are sharing a jersey,” they said together.
“Well, you have made me so happy,” said the lady, “that I am going to buy you each a new jersey. Sharing and happiness make the world a happier place,” she said. So the girls went with her to buy the new jerseys and then the girls were very happy and the lady was very happy too!
ACTIVITIES
GROUP A
Colour the picture of Rika and her new friend.
OLDER CHILDREN
Play the ‘Love’ card game. Preparation. You will need at least 10 cards per player so copy the number of sheets of ‘cards’ accordingly. Cut out the cards. The winner of the game is the first person to get a set of L, O, V, E, and a HEART. Play:- Deal out 5 cards to each player and place the remainder face down on the table with one card turned face up to the left of the pile. After looking at his cards, the first player decides whether he should pick up the card which is face up on the discard pile, or the one turned face down. He then finishes his turn by discarding a card placing it face up on the discard pile. Then it is the turn of the player to his left. When a player has won (see above) the game can stop or it can continue until every player has a set of L, O, V, E and a HEART.
12. Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words, Arabic 4