Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Involving Children in the Process

As Baha’i parents, we often have a lot of information and help when it comes to raising children both as Baha’is and as individuals in a crumbling world order; but what about the children as active Baha’is in a process they will soon be asked to shoulder? 

Children are not some separate entity from our Baha’i lives, not even when teaching. If our kids don’t see us modeling the process, they won’t learn to do it themselves. Think about how much easier it would have been for most of us to start teaching directly had we grown up practicing.

Both challenges #1 and #2 are appropriate for both adults and children alike. If you have the kids memorize and practice the first two lines of Anna’s Presentation then it is available for them at any moment. I love hearing when the kids come home and said they told a teacher or another student about the Faith. It’s so important that they are encouraged to teach and then share their stories! 

There are many other ways to involve children in the teaching process besides just telling people they meet. Children can be invited to take part in home visits and go door-to-door. 

Last summer, we held a teaching project and went door-to-door. My 13-year-old went with an adult and another jr youth as part of the teaching team. The adult knocked on the first ten doors and modeled what to say and how to act and showed the jr youth how to use Anna’s Presentation. Then the jr youth took turns knocking on doors (with the adult by their side) and introducing the Faith. 

Afterwards, my son was so excited! For weeks he would mention how much fun he had teaching and telling people about the Faith. For me, a generally timid sort of person, it was an example of how kids can do things without the fears adults carry. Since that time, both the kids have been door-to-door several times and each time they return filled with a joy and spirit gained only when engaging in genuine service to the Faith. 

Even if you, yourself, have fears, don’t let it be part of your children’s lives. Let go and be confident and bold and be an example to your kids. Even if you’re trembling inside, do it anyway. 

I know, I know… Talk is easy and action takes courage; courage I struggle with every day. I keep praying that God remake me in His Will so that I can help my children to be the shining examples I haven’t been. I want them to be so much better!

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