September 18, 2012

spiritual empowerment group ~ a new beginning

"Divine civilization, however, so traineth every member of society that no one, with the exception of a negligible few, will undertake to commit a crime... They will become enamored of human perfections, and will consecrate their lives to whatever will bring light to the world and will further those qualities which are acceptable at the Holy Threshold of God."

 (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 132)

after being away for 3 months and taking a few weeks to settle back into life here in Accra, it was time to resume the jr. youth group sessions.  with the exception of our 13 year old daughter, the group consists of kids from the neighborhood.  four of them were 14 years old when we formed, but they were all related to their younger siblings and it helped give the group solidity and support.  now that it's a year later, and all of them have turned 15, they are no longer interested or available for the sessions.  it's one of those growing pains that initially stings but soon gives way to sweetness..

with the older kids no longer actively engaged in the spiritual empowerment program, we were now a group of 5.  i called and invited them to come regroup this past weekend.

from among the four jr. youth who are remaining in the group, there are 2 other siblings, Magdelene (11) and Gideon (10), who have consistently attended Baha'i children's classes and Devotions with our family this past year.  they have been more than eager and interested to create their own jr. youth group as they've seen the enjoyment it brings to their older siblings.  i invited them to come by at the end of the session to play soccer with the group, but they showed up at the beginning of the session.  i let them hang around while we were setting up the space as i wondered what to say to them..

when everyone was gathering to sit down together, i had to address the possibility of having Magdelene and Gideon join the 'gems of justice' group.  as we were consulting, my daughter offered, 'well if they are going to join the group, shouldn't my brother join, too?  he's 11.'  at that moment it clicked for everyone and they answered, 'yes!' and all of a sudden we were in a joyful dialogue about how to help them catch up by studying Breezes of Confirmation as they continue to progress through Glimmerings of Hope.  the older siblings in the group said they can tutor them in the spirit of service. :)  everyone felt happy and energized..this was the moment of sweetness!

it was completely unforeseen how the group would evolve into one that is based on the appropriate age and full of eagerness to learn and serve!  it was one of the best sessions because all of them were participating and interacting as close friends.  i felt so grateful and excited to see a new beginning emerge for this group.

this term, we're planning on presenting a step-dance presentation at the next reflection meeting in november, as well as attending a weekend camp at the Baha'i institute which is an hour away.  we will continue to learn how to manage and care for the keyhole garden and enjoy some new service and sports activities. 

Gideon and Dyami working together
i know that Gideon is not quite ready for the group, especially in terms of his ability to read and comprehend some of the concepts we're discussing.  even if he's not officially considered as part of the group, i believe that being part of this learning process with his friends will have a beneficial effect on him in every way.

he is the first soul i met here in the neighborhood and he's been the one child who has come to every tutoring session, Devotions, children's class and storytelling night that we've hosted.  i have learned that connecting spiritually with 9-10 year olds is a vital precursor to introducing the spiritual empowerment program when they become jr. youth.

Magdelene, Ayana, Dyami, Emil, Jude & Gideon (missing: Akua & Elizabeth)

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