There’s been something new learned — and something new to try the next time — with every children’s class session offered by Baha’is in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Fairfax County East, Virginia, in the NoVA East cluster.
The results haven’t been spectacular, but slow and steady is how you build a sustainable core activity.
The biweekly class, begun in early summer, held its third session on July 1 on the playground of a sprawling apartment complex. It had been scheduled for the day before but was moved because of extreme heat and a power outage.
Three teachers were on hand – two to pick up the children of families they had previously met and one to remain at the class site in case any additional children showed interest.
Lesson one: Four teachers would be better. It’s quite difficult for just one team of two to visit such widely spread units.
Lesson two, which occurred to the pair halfway through picking up children: Leaving just one person, a man at that, at the site was problematic because it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to approach children alone.
As the session started, the teachers noticed a group of children playing nearby. It turned out they are daycare students, and the owner cautiously permitted them to take part in the class.
A range of activities — coloring, memorizing a quotation, singing a song — captivated the children. The daycare owner as well, truth be told.
In closing, the Baha’is gave each child from the daycare a flier and said they’d love to meet their parents.
Thirteen days later, the date of the next scheduled class, four teachers gathered on the quiet playground and said prayers.
Two teachers then went around to the apartments of previously contacted families, while the other two stayed behind to watch after a baby and scan for children to invite.
More than a half-hour later, the pair returned empty-handed. Most of the families weren’t home, they explained, and the others were busy.
Undeterred, Nate Stevenson, one of the teachers, went off with a fistful of fliers for the leasing office.
When he returned empty-handed, it was a good thing. Even though the leasing office had no place to leave fliers, he had encountered several parents and explained the class to them.
Another trip out with fliers had the same result. Stevenson even stopped his car in the middle of the road, flashers on, at one point as he came upon a group of families and wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass.
Lesson three: Be thankful for any little victories that can be built on.
Explains Nuril Kingsley, one of the teachers, “Listening to Nate’s story and witnessing his spirit, we were so uplifted that we didn’t have any opportunity to feel down about not having children that day.
“Then we consulted little bit about the need for us (all the teachers) to meet to consult, and share learnings that we’ve gained so far and make any necessary adjustments. At the end of our consultation we decided to wrap up our outdoor class for the day.
“While we were packing up all of the materials, we agreed that it is, indeed, a spiritual enterprise and that the Divine Plan is at work. We left the site feeling uplifted by each other’s faith and determination.
“I was driving home thinking how lucky I am to have all these friends as my partners, who enable me to learn and be inspired.”
The class continues on alternate Saturdays. Prayers are requested.