Thursday, March 31, 2011

Power of Mom

This week's bal/balika-2 syllabus has an amazing topic on Amazing Lady Devotees during Shriji Maharaj's time, primarily focusing on Laduba, Jivuba, Zamkuba, and Kushalkunvarba. Let's look at the three question rule to see how this would work.

What is the simple message? This really can be geared for which mandal (bal or balika) and age group that we have in our mandal. Here are some ideas:
  • Moms are very important. They help us understand Satsang.
  • During Maharaj's time, lady devotees had the same bhakti and attachment to Maharaj as great men devotees.
  • Bhakti and devotion to Maharaj transcends gender (and race and creed).
  • Maharaj stressed respect for all.
  • We can have the same type bhakti towards Maharaj today as these devotees did during Maharaj's time.
The key here is to focus on our audience and choose the message accordingly. Once the message is chosen, we need to focus one ensuring that message goes through. Sometimes, we shy away from saying the message directly; however, in bal/balika mandal, it maybe a good idea to say the message you want to impart several times directly and link it back with stories since children retain better through repetition.

Unexpected - Funtivity
The challenge with Bal/Balika mandal is to find an age appropriate activity. If we miss this aspect, then the message or activity goes over their heads or they get really bored. It is tricky, but something new is always better than nothing new. We also need to tie in these examples with our simple message. Here are some ideas.
  • Write a letter to mom. After we say the prasang, a good way for repetition is to have the kids write a letter to their mom repeating what they learned and adding how their mom helps them. This will also really make the mom happy as well. And happy moms mean happy kids. This is generic enough that we can say our simple message and have the kids explain that simple message to their moms in a letter.
  • Read the following letter or put it on a screen. This can be tied to the fact that mom's do so much that we take for granted. A very nice tie in with the first simple statement. Really this can be transitioned into any of the simple statements - Maharaj understood how much mom's did, thus he stressed respect for all, etc. Son can easily be change to daughter in the following text. Again gauge how successful this will be with your kids, or try it and see.

  • A little boy came up to his mother in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper, and handed her a piece of paper that he had been writing on. After his Mom dried her hands on an apron, she read it, and this is what it said:
    For cutting the grass:$5.00
    For cleaning up my room this week:$1.00
    For going to the store for you:$.50
    Baby-sitting my kid brother while you went shopping:$.25
    Taking out the garbage:$1.00
    For getting a good report card:$5.00
    For cleaning up and raking the yard:$2.00
    Total owed:$14.75
    Well, his mother looked at him standing there, and the boy could see the memories flashing through her mind. She picked up the pen, turned over the paper he'd written on, and this is what she wrote:
    For the nine months I carried you while you were growing inside me: No Charge
    For all the nights that I've sat up with you, doctored and prayed for you: No Charge
    For all the trying times, and all the tears that you've caused through the years: No Charge
    For all the nights that were filled with dread, and for the worries I knew were ahead: No Charge
    For the toys, food, clothes, and even wiping your nose: No Charge
    Son, when you add it up, the cost of my love is: No Charge.
    When the boy finished reading what his mother had written, there were big tears in his eyes, and he looked straight at his mother and said, "Mom, I sure do love you." And then he took the pen and in great big letters he wrote: "PAID IN FULL".

  • If you have really little kids show them this video or even reading this book maybe a good way to start the conversation about mothers in general.

The prasangs themselves are great. The emphasis here should be two things: storytelling and tying back the story to simple idea.

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