Teaching Justice to Children

O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.” ~ Baha’u’llah
Over the generations people fought for justice, equality, and peace. I believe all these fundamental virtues are taught from childhood. So today I want to share with you on how we teach justice to our children. 

Justice is a powerful human virtue. It allows us to measure our actions and act upon consideration for other people. 

Justice is not about “bringing someone to justice” and, therefore, judging them and sentencing them. It is about equality and fairness for all people. It is about a chance for everyone to get access to education, jobs, healthcare; for every child to have a chance to grow in normal conditions, surrounded by happiness. 

Justice is one of the principals that Martin Luther King stood for. Justice frees us from prejudice, it allows us to make judgements based on character, not skin colour, or nationality. Justice gives a fair chance to everyone without exception. It requires everyone to follow the rules and laws. 

Here are some tips on how you can nurture justice in your children:

1. Created simple rules that all family has to follow. E.g. everyone has to brush their teeth before bed. Everyone has to clean up after themselves. 

2. Talk about equality and what it means. Discuss responsibilities and how they change with the age. 

3. Discuss some age appropriate news with your children on what is going in the world. Ask them to think of the ways they think the problems can be solved. 

4. If your family is religious, you can say a prayer once a day together for healing the world. If you are not religious, you can create some confirmations to share that your children can repeat every day. For example: “I am of this world. And this world is mine. It belongs to me just as it belongs to everyone else. Today I am sending healing vibes to the worlds and its citizens”.

5. Teach children generosity, sharing, compassion, caring. You can see some of the examples on how to approach these virtues in my Virtues Series.

6. Teach your children to love the world. To avoid discrimination. To accept everyone as they are. This doesn’t mean letting things slide if someone is doing something terrible. It means keeping hope for everyone can change and everyone deserves a chance to life. 

Martin Luther King Day for Kids on Multicultural Kid Blogs

Welcome to our fourth annual blog hop on Martin Luther King Day for Kids! Find great ideas for commemorating MLK Day with kids and don’t miss our series from last year as well as 2016 and 2015! For even more, be sure to follow our Black History Pinterest board!

Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs’s board Black History on Pinterest.

Participating Blogs

Crafty Moms Share on Multicultural Kid Blogs –

Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior Book Review

Creative World of Varya – Teaching Justice to Children

Raising World Children:

7 Life Lessons Acts of Service Inspire

Jeddah Mom

Virtues Series: Peaceful Dove Craft


I felt it would be great to start the new year with reviving my series – Virtues Series! It was quite successful and I hope to continue sharing ideas and love with you. If you are new to my blog, subscribe this month to receive a Freebie: 9 Printable Virtues Cards with suggested activities! You can also download a set of cards on Quotes on Equality and Peace I created almost 2 years ago.

Today I want to talk to you about Peacefulness. It is a new year, we are 18 years into the 21st century, but our world is still being shaken by so much dispute, wars and tragedies. Our children are growing up not knowing what peace truly is.

When I was growing up, we celebrated Children’s Day by having Side walk Chalk Pictures contests. And every year, as far as I remember, I drew the same picture: a bomb broken in half and crossed with red lines, and in the middle – a white dove, a symbol of peace. And the words that translate into English as: “Peace to Peace, We don’t need Wars!”

So besides sharing with you how wonderful peace is, and some tips to promote peacefulness at home, I want to share a simple craft that you can make with your children at home. You can also draw it with chalk on side walks!

Materials needed:

A piece of white paper

A marker or a pencil of your choice



A straw or a chopstick


Trace your hands on a piece of white paper, in a way so your thumbs meet.

Shape the dove by drawing a head and a tail

Draw some lines on your hand prints to mimic the feathers

Cut out and stick a straw/a chopstick to the back

How to use this dove to promote peacefulness:

  1. Using a map of the world, talk about places that are now at war. Send the dove to those countries on the map. Wish them peace.
  2. Keep the dove in a visible place. Make an agreement that when someone in the family is not feeling very peaceful, they should first get the dove and think about what bothers them, and then try and express their feelings differently.
  3. Learn and sing “Peace is the world smiling”

I hope you enjoyed making the Peace Dove with us today. I wish you a peaceful year ahead!

V is for Virtues


Today I will be sharing about one of my favorite subjects – Virtues. This is something each and everyone has. And somethings each and every one of us should strive to improve.

There are so many virtues, and it is hard to choose which one to concentrate on. So I have created a super simple printable that allows you to play a draw game with your kids, and draw a virtue of the month. In fact, there are 19 virtues, in case you follow Badi calendar, which has 19 months!

What is a virtue of the month? It is a virtue you all agree to practice together. And to gently remind each other if someone doesn’t speak the language of virtues, or forgetting about this virtue.

What is the language of virtues? I first read about it in the book called Virtues Guide by Linda Kavelin Popov (with Dan Popov, Ph.D, and John Kavelin). In this book the concept of the language of virtues is explained as when we replace the words of blaming and shaming with words such as courage, helpfulness, and flexibility, which empower positive shift in child’s and adult’s behaviour.  The whole concept is based on a principles of peace and consultation, where through using virtues, we tap to the very soul of a child, and adult alike. It can be quite a process, but once started and with persistence, one can really reshape the world around!

So, back to printable! I chose 19 virtues, they are: Patience, Kindness, Love, Helpfulness, Appreciation, Excellence, Truthfulness, Forgiveness, Obedience, Gentleness, Cleanliness, Self-Discipline, Generosity, Courtesy, Joyfulness, Peacefulness, Compassion,Unity and Creativity.

What do you do? You print out the list either on stiff paper, or laminate it after printing out. Cut the  virtues out, and using a box, or a hat, let a child take a turn to draw the virtue. Talk about it. Explain to children clearly what this virtue represents, and the ways of practicing it. Decided right there and then how you will remind each other about this virtue. For example, you can emphasize that the action or the word wasn’t kind. Ask your children to use a better word, or expression.

What to do when the child is upset and doesn’t cooperate? Give him time to calm down. Reassure him, ask him to use the words, tell him it is ok to be upset, but it is time to calm down, and then you can talk.

During these months that you set on exploring the language of virtues, come back to my blog and check out my Virtues Series – you can find some ideas and activities here, too!

Of course, it is not possible to avoid all other virtues not listed here! So give yourselves a head start – and you will see how easy it will become with time!
31 Days of ABC - October 2016 | Alldonemonkey.com

After taking a break last year due to the arrival of Baby #3, we are back with one of my favorite series, the 31 Days of ABC! You can look forward to 31 more days of activities, crafts, books, apps, and more, all dedicated to teaching young children the alphabet.

I am so happy to be working with an amazing group of kid bloggers, who will be sharing their amazing ideas with us in the coming days. And this year for the first year we are also adding a giveaway, so be sure to scroll to the end and enter for a chance to win!

So join us as we jump, skip, hop, and read our way through the alphabet this October!

Don’t forget to follow our 31 Days of ABCs Pinterest board for even more great ABC ideas!

31 Days of ABC

Teaching the ABCs – October 1

All Done Monkey: Creating a Preschool Letter of the Week Curriculum

A – October 2

Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails: Apple Scented Glitter Glue and Apple Craft

B – October 3

Witty Hoots: How to Make Fabulous Button Bookmarks

C – October 4

Preschool Powol Packets: Construction Truck Preschool Action Rhyme

D – October 5

ArtsyCraftsyMom: Printable Dinosaur Alphabet Sequencing Puzzle

E – October 6

Preschool Powol Packets: Elephant Art Project and Thailand Lesson

F – October 7

Spanglish Monkey: Spanish-English ABC Flashcards

G – October 8

Royal Baloo: Simple Ghost Painting Project

H – October 9

Peakle Pie: Hide and Seek

I – October 10

Look! We’re Learning!: Insect Activities for Kids

J – October 11

All Done Monkey: Olmec Jaguar Craft

K – October 12

Preschool Powol Packets: I Am a Kite Action Rhyme for Preschool

L – October 13

Raising a Trilingual Child: Letter Learning with a Multilingual Twist

M – October 14

Creative World of Varya – M is for Motor Skills

N – October 15

Peakle Pie: Narwhal Fingerprint Pictures

O – October 16

For the Love of Spanish: O es de Oso

P – October 17

Little Hiccups: P is for Places, A Travel ABC Book

Q – October 18

All Done Monkey: Bilingual Letter Craft – Q is for ¿Qué? Q is for Question

R – October 19

Sugar, Spice & Glitter

S – October 20

Crafty Mama in ME: Patterned Paper Plate Snake

T – October 21

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Puerto Rican Flamboyant Tree

U – October 22

Witty Hoots: How to Make Awesome Unicorn Headbands

V – October 23

Creative World of Varya – V is for Virtues

W – October 24

Scribble Doodle and Draw: Winter Letter Craft

X – October 25

All Done Monkey: Coding for Kids – X Marks the Spot

Y – October 26

Our Daily Craft: Yarn Craft Basket and Books for Kids

Z – October 27

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Learning Spanish at the Zoo

123’s – October 28

Hispanic Mama: Fun Activities and Resources to Teach Numbers in Spanish

Prewriting – October 29

Sugar Aunts: Pre-Writing Lines Fine Motor Activity

Books, Songs, & Apps – October 30

The Jenny Evolution: ABC Alphabet Books

Alphabet Clip Cards – October 31

The Kindergarten Connection: Alphabet Clip Cards

Find more great resources in 31 Days of ABCs 2013 and 2014!



Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win this great prize package, open internationally! Giveaway ends Monday, November 7, 2016 at midnight Pacific Time.


3 month subscription to the Kidloland app, which includes 575+ interactive nursery rhymes, songs, stories, and educational activities to help children learn ABCs, animals, fruits, vegetables, shapes and more!

Alphabet Experts Mega Bundle: 31 Days of ABC Giveaway

The Alphabet Experts Mega Bundle from Kindergarten Connections contains 500+ of alphabet printables, including tons of activities for each letter of the alphabet! ($58.50 value)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One Planet, One People


April 22th is a very special day in our calendars – it is the Earth Day. It is also special because just 10 days before Yuri Gagarin, the first astronaut, went to space! On this day people worldwide show support to environmental protection: some go out to clear parks and water sources; some turn off all energy for at least an hour to help save it. 
When I think Earth Day, I think of how important it is now, especially, to understand the Oneness of humanity. To understand that everything in our world is interdependent. And that if we don’t treat each other and this world as one, we will never be able to preserve our Earth for generations to come. Whatever little we do on one side of Earth, eventually affects the rest of it. 
To understand oneness, I usually introduce the concept of Unity – a very powerful virtue that teaches are about diversity and harmony. “One planet, one people” principle is not new and it gives out a call for us to concentrate on unity and interdependence of all of the creation.
Some time ago I posted a very special game my friend created which we called Ayyam-i-Ha game. To celebrate Oneness of humanity, I would like to add a simple activity which can precede this game and used instead of the cards that are suggested to be used in this game. 
Materials needed:
One sheet of A4 paper
Colors (markers, pencils, crayons)
1. Fold the paper several times.


2. Draw a figure of a person.
3. Cut it out. 


4. Now, unfold to see few people holding hands together/
5. Take your colors and color these people in different colors, resembling the color of skin 


6. Repeat the process
7. Now ask the children to describe differences in paper people they see
8. Have them to fold the cutout to make one person.  Talk about how we are all so different but at the same time we are all humans, one people.
9. Take the globe and stick the paper people around it. Tell the children how we all should embrace this planet – our home – and take care of it. 


You would be surprised what kind of interesting ideas younger and older children will come up with during this simple activity!


Earth Day Books and Music Giveaway

To inspire earth-friendly practices with your family, I’ve teamed up with several kid bloggers to bring you this awesome Earth Day giveaway. Several publishers have offered earth-themed books and music prizes for your Earth Day celebrations. Hopefully, these wonderful resources will inspire a love of nature in your children and motivate them to make a difference in the world. Amazon affiliate links are below for your convenience.

The Earth Day Giveaway co-hosts are:
Kids Yoga Stories, Mama Smiles, Spanish Playground, Creative World of Varya, Crafty Moms Share, The PiriPiri Lexicon, All Done Monkey, and Eva Varga



Water Rolls, Water Rises, by Pat Mora
Celebrate the wonders of the water on planet Earth with this poetic and illustrative bilingual book.

Call Me Tree, by Maya Christina Gonzalez
Act out this beautiful bilingual story following a young child mimicking the growth of a tree.

Kings & Queens of the Forest CD, by Kira Willey
Act out a journey to the forest with Kira Willey’s enchanting yoga-inspired music.

Imaginations 2, by Carolyn Clarke
Use guided imagery to explore nature while learning to calm the mind and body with these relaxation stories.

Sophia’s Jungle Adventure, by Giselle Shardlow
Join Sophia and her family on a jungle adventure while learning to appreciate jungle life and doing yoga along the way.

Every Day is Earth Day Kids Yoga Lesson Plan PDF, by Next Generation Yoga
Create an earth-themed yoga session with this kids yoga lesson plan.

Compost Stew, by Mary McKenna Siddals
Dig into composting with this engaging rhyming text.

Too Much Junk song, by Elska
Get inspired to enjoy nature and simplify your life with this new musical adventure.

Backyard Garden CD, by Earthworm Ensemble
Celebrate nature, green living, and gardening with this uplifting new music.

Earth Day Giveaway | Kids Yoga Stories


Change the World Before Bedtime, by Mark Kimball Moulton, Josh Chalmers, and Karen Good
Find out how the simple things in life that can inspire huge differences that change the world.

Picture a Tree, by Barbara Reid
Discover new ways to experience trees in this book with stunning imagery.

This Tree Counts, by Alison Formento and Sarah Snow
Practice counting with animals that live in trees.

Miss Fox’s Class Goes Green, by Eileen Spinelli and Anne Kennedy
Join Miss Fox as she teaches her forest animal students how to go green.

In the Garden with Dr. Carver, by Susan Grigsby and Nicole Tadgell
Step into the historical world of Dr. Carver as he teaches children about gardening.

What’s So Special About Planet Earth?, by Robert E. Wells
Learn how planet Earth is different from other planets.

Polar Bear, Why is Your World Melting?, by Robert E. Wells
Learn why and how the world is getting warmer and what we can do about it.

Earth Day Giveaway | Kids Yoga Stories



Earth Day CD and Recycled Musical Activities eBook, by Daria MarmalukHajioannou
Sing and dance to catchy folk music to celebrate our beautiful rainbow world.

Nature Anatomy, by Julia Rothman
Take a look at nature in a new way with this book that explains all about the nature with sketches.

Catch the Wind, Harness the Sun, by Michael J. Caduto
Learn about renewable energy with 22 activities on producing and using it.

Ecology eBook – Ecology Explorations, by Eva Varga
Explore your local ecosystems with this hands-on ten-week life science curriculum.

When the Animals Saved Earth, by Alexis York Lumbard
Read a tale about how animals teach humans to restore balance in nature.

Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree, by Durga Yael Bernhard
Explore trees all over the world and see what a child sees when climbing those trees

Earth Day Giveaway | Kids Yoga Stories



The Garden Classroom Journal, by Nurture Store
Download this free Garden Classroom journal to record your gardening experiences.

Garden Journal

Some of the resources above were given to us bloggers free for review, but the decision to include them in the giveaway was entirely our own. Please read the full Contest Rules below for details.

We look forward to your entries. Thank you for taking the time to participate in our giveaway. Please let me know if you have any questions or problems with the Rafflecopter tool below by sending me an e-mail at giselle at kidsyogastories dot com.

Earth Day Giveaway

To enter the contest, sign in using your Facebook or e-mail account and click on the different ways to enter. You can enter every day, using this Rafflecopter online giveaway tool.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest Rules:

  1. Entries are open worldwide.
  2. You can be any age to enter.
  3. Participation in the contest constitutes that you agree to the Contest Rules.
  4. Please enter using the Rafflecopter tool above, obtaining points as follow the different options.
  5. You can enter every day.
  6. No purchase is necessary.
  7. You must enter the contest giveaway with a valid e-mail address. The winner will be notified by e-mail, and at that time, we will request a mailing address. The winner must respond within 72 hours, or we will pick a different winner. The shipping of the books and CDs can take some time, depending on the winner’s location. Each publisher will ship the books separately and will cover the shipping costs.
  8. If you have any questions, e-mail Giselle directly at giselle at kidsyogastories dot com.
  9. The contest closes on Tuesday, April 15th, 2015, midnight EST.

Special Guest Thursday: Teaching Kids to Choose Love {All Done Monkey}














I am posting a bit later this time as my hands were literally busy with a new bundle of joy!
I am so excited for this Special Guest visiting my blog – my dear friend and one of my most favorite bloggers, Leanna of All Done Monkey! She visited my blog twice before with a fun Daffodil activity and a Fruit Pizza recipe! Please don’t follow by Leanna’s FB page, Pinterest, Twitter and G+ to keep up to date with her posts and activities!

Teaching Kids to Choose Love - Alldonemonkey on Creative World of Varya

Starting last fall we began teaching a character-building class for my son and several of his preschool aged friends. Here is one of our recent lessons, on love:

I wanted to give the kids some real “skills” in showing love and choosing to be loving.

We started by discussing what love is (caring about someone, really liking to be with them and do things with them). This was a bit abstract, so I asked them to name people they loved. (Parents and pets were the big winners! I was also so pleased that several shouted out the names of other kids in the class).

Then we discussed ways to show love. We talked about giving hugs and kisses, sharing toys, giving gifts, playing together, doing something nice for them, and telling them “I love you.” While we didn’t discuss the love languages directly, I did keep them in mind so I would be sure to include ways that all of the kids could relate to, rather than assuming they all like to give kisses or say “I love you.” I had drawn some cards illustrating some of these ways and asked them each to put a heart sticker on the card that reflected how they most liked to be shown love. (I thought the moms would be interested to see their answers!) Unsurprisingly, at this age the most popular response was getting gifts 🙂

Teaching Kids to Choose Love - Alldonemonkey on Creative World of Varya

Then we switched to thinking about showing love. I had asked each of the kids to bring a favorite stuffed animal or toy, which we used in some pretend play to practice showing love. Each kid partnered up with his/her mom to practice showing love to the stuffed animal in the ways we had discussed. Afterwards, I asked them to put a heart sticker on the card that showed the way they most liked to show love.

Next we talked about choosing to show love instead of anger when someone does something we don’t like. I gave them each an “angry” mask and a “loving” mask, and we used them to practice different ways to react in disappointing situations.

Teaching Kids to Choose Love - Alldonemonkey on Creative World of Varya

Such as, “Your mom says it’s time to go to bed, even though you’re having so much fun playing. What’s an angry way to react? Now, what’s a loving way to react?” The kids had a lot of fun with this part, especially acting out the “angry” reactions, which seemed to inspire a lot of Hulk imitations 🙂

Our quote for the day was “In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love” (Bahá’u’lláh), so we talked about what kind of garden we wanted to grow in our heart and how we could grow a beautiful garden by choosing loving reactions instead of angry ones.

Teaching Kids to Choose Love - Alldonemonkey on Creative World of Varya

Earlier I had taken an egg carton and cut a slit in the bottom of each cup. I flipped this over and asked the kids to “plant” their angry masks. Next we tried planting our loving masks and talked about how much prettier the garden was. But we had to be careful to keep trash (mean thoughts, etc) out of our garden. To illustrate these we crumpled up paper and tossed it into our garden, noticing how the trash made it so much harder to see the garden.

For our craft, they each made a bag of love for someone they cared about. (Most chose to make one for their fathers). They decorated the bags and filled them with little pictures of things they loved about the person or activities they loved doing with them.

Teaching Kids to Choose Love - Alldonemonkey on Creative World of Varya

I was so happy with how our love lesson turned out, and the kids really enjoyed it. I really hoped it drove home the point that we choose to love every day, often when we are in difficult situations and would rather respond with anger or disappointment. How are you teaching your kids about love?

O FRIEND! In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold. -Bahá’u’lláh

LeannaLeanna is a stay at home mother to a sweet, funny, rambunctious four year old boy and his adorable, smiley baby brother. She draws inspiration from the Writings of the Bahá’í Faith and tries to raise her Monkeys in a fun, spiritual, loving environment. She and her husband, who is from Costa Rica, are raising their boys to be bilingual and bicultural but more importantly to be “world citizens.” Her blog All Done Monkey is dedicated to sharing this journey with you!

Leanna is the co-founder of Bahá’í Mom Blogs and founder of Multicultural Kid Blogs.

Creative Tuesday: Collages for Love

Last week the world celebrated Valentine’s Day which coincided with the 14th Day post Spring Festival – the Lantern Festival.
Growing up in Soviet Russia, we never celebrated Valentine’s Day and I had not much of an idea what it was till I read about it at the University during one of the European History classes.
When I first came to China and became an expat, it was fun doing something for Valentine’s with my friends but the idea never really appealed to me and that was just it – a fun day to eat chocolate and go out with friends.
Now in our family we don’t celebrate Valentine’s. However, I take it as an opportunity to talk about the Virtue of Love.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been homebound with the children due to cold weather and a cold/sinus infection. Since I felt better by Friday, I spent whole morning with my 5 year old and 19 months old making collages for love and appreciation.


The idea is simple: cut out few big hearts and a bunch of smaller hearts. We also used colorful contact paper to make hearts. Then place the bigger heart in the middle of the big sheet of white paper and stick smaller hearts around in a desired order. Write your love messages  and put them on display!



Suggested materials: white sheets of paper, construction paper, colorful contact paper, regular color paper, scissors, glue, pencils, crayons, markers.
What did you do for Valentine’s Day? Do you celebrate it in your family? How do you show your appreciation and love to your family members?

Virtue Wednesday: Love


“Where there is love, nothing is too much trouble

and there is always time.”


Today’s Virtue Wednesday is about Love. I chose this wonderful virtue to talk about in dedication to my dearest husband, who just celebrated his birthday on February 4th.
When I think Love, I always have this fuzzy warm feeling. It is such an uplifting feeling and while often people think that love is all about dreamy state of mind, where your head is in the clouds and your acquire wings, love is actually much more than that.
As a child, feeling love for me was about my parents smile, their encouragement, my friends appreciation, being hugged and kissed, consoled when I was sad.
When I grew up, I realized how much more there is to love: trust, appreciation, friendliness, honesty, care, consideration and more.
One person I could see showing all of this was my husband. When we started getting closer as friends, I could see him being so genuine in his words and actions, no hidden agenda, no hidden motives. He spoke his mind out, yet, he truly cared how it was perceived. I fell in love with this man and 6 years later I am grateful every day for how much love he has in his heart and mind for me, our children and people around. If you want to read the story of how we met and got married, you can read in my post on Our Anniversary.
When we teach children about love, we always tell them that even though we get upset with them sometimes, or they get upset with us, it doesn’t mean the love stops. It just means we have come to some obstacle that we need to overcome together, using the power of virtues, using the power of love.
We start our day with greetings and confirmations, waking them up with kind words and kisses and hugs. We assure them of our love. And they assure us in theirs.
If we have disagreements or some problems between us, we try to cool down and sort things out by communicating with each other, finding a solution, a good compromise. We again assure each other there is always love for one another.
We also talk about showing love not only to family and friends, but to strangers too. We explain that it doesn’t mean running to hug and kiss everyone we see. It is just by being kind, polite and helpful if the need arises. Treating people fairly and equally despite their background and social status.
We talk about overwhelming feelings and how everyone can lose patiences or get angry from time to time. It happens to us, it happens to our children, friends, family and strangers. Sometimes with other people we have no chance to sort things out, but we can still learn from the experience and try to do better on our side the next time we meet with such obstacle.
If we really look around, love is everywhere. It is not hard to see. We just forget to find it at times. We let other feelings overpower the strongest force this world has ever had – Love.
Here I would like to revisit last week’s activity on Heartlings and suggest it again as it really is a helpful reminder about love and consideration.
How do you talk about love with your children? Do you have any interesting activities which teach about the virtue of Love?

Virtue Wednesday: Thoughtfulness

Since my blogging break and hopefully over (at least for the time being!), I am very happy to resume sharing some thoughts and activities related to character development and nurturing virtues.
Today I would like to introduce to you a virtue of Thoughtfulness. And I would like to share with you a couple of quotes that always make me contemplate about this virtue:
“The people of this world are thinking of warfare; you must be peacemakers. The nations are self-centered; you must be thoughtful of others rather than yourselves. They are neglectful; you must be mindful.” 
Abdu’l-Baha (The Promulgation of Universal Peace)
“Let them [all human beings] at all times concern themselves with doing a kindly thing for one of their fellows,
offering to someone love, consideration, thoughtful help” 
Abdu’l-Baha (Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha)
Being thoughtful means being considerate of other people’s feelings, thoughts, comfort. It means trying to put yourself in their place. It also means paying attention to people’s preferences.
Teaching thoughtfulness is as hard as teaching obedience. Thoughtfulness requires a huge amount of love and patience. When reminding a child to be thoughtful and considerate, we have to do the same with them. We are often bound by time-tables, time frames, our schedules and our need to rush. And in some cases, we procrastinate when our children ask us to do something. We always find a way to stretch time and no wonder we find our own children doing the same.
Thoughtfulness to me breaks down into “being full of thoughts about someone”. Literally meaning observing and thinking. When my picky eater refuses to eat what I made, I plead her to think about all the work I’ve done to prepare the meal and how there are people in the world who don’t even get to eat half of what we can afford. Perhaps at the moment to a 5 year old thinking about someone who has no food without seeing them or being around them is actually an empty sound. But as the time passes, as we are exposed to media, as the child grows to notice more and more things around, he/she will start asking questions and want the answers. I suggest not to wait for that moment but to let your child hear about things in a loving manner and not in a way we would complain. E.g.  “I love you and I think of your health, so I made all this delicious healthy food for you. Let’s make each other happy and eat?”  – a loving explanation. “I spent so much time making food and you are refusing to eat?! You are so ungrateful!” – not a loving explanation.
I will admit: I am not always this loving patient mom. I am bound by time frames and schedules at times. I rush my children, I even scold them at times. However, I always try to find a way to change that and improve myself in a first place. My responsibility as a parent to my children is to show them that there IS a better way of living and dealing with things.
So, recently, after a big meltdown that turned into a blowout (because, we lose patience too, you know), I was putting my 5 year old to bed. And she asked to read her a story. Because our 18 months old was very cranky and sleepy and I had to nurse her to sleep, I suggested that we turn off the lights and I can tell a story instead.
And here’s what I told:
“Once upon a time, there was a happy family: a mommy, a daddy, a big sister and a little sister. All was good, but sometimes big sister didn’t want to listen to her parents and she would tease her little sister. She would also throw fits at the table refusing to eat food that her mommy cooked for her. Mommy and daddy would get sad. Sometimes they would get upset. And once in a while they would get very angry. But after that they would feel awful and they would all apologize and say prayers together, asking God to give them more strength and patience.
So one day, after a big angry conversation, mommy had an idea. She suggested that every time someone gets angry or upset or someone makes another angry or upset, they give each other hearts. And at the end of the week they can count those hearts and talk about how to improve so they are all happy. First week, there were so many hearts! It was actually fun to sit down and discuss what happened during the week and come up with ideas what would be a better way to deal with different situations.
As the time passed, the number of hearts became less and less. Somehow it didn’t feel nice. Then mommy and big sister came up with the solution: since it is always so nice to receive hearts, why not give hearts at times when they make each other happy? This way the number of hearts will always be large and it would also be very thoughtful to concentrate on upsetting thing but rather concentrate on happy moments.
And so they continued giving hearts to each other. They still had their weekly discussions on self-improvement, but they were even more fun as no one could even remember why each heart was given for. And as the time passed, it seemed that most of the hearts were given in order to remember the happy moments.
The End.”
And then… my 5 year old asked whether it was ok to give me and my husband and our 18 months old hearts if she did something that upset us. And that’s how the Weekly Heartlings were born. We have just started. And we haven’t really come to a point where we can say we have thoroughly improved our ways. But it is a start! And most important – it makes everyone happy. And since this activity is designed for the whole family, it takes into consideration each and every member.

How to Use Weekly Heartlings:

1. Cut out of paper hearts of desired size.
2. Glue sort of pocket to a piece of thick construction paper, 1 for each member of the family.
3. Write on top: Weekly Heartlings. And Below: If you made someone happy or sad, leave a heart in their pocket – show your love and thoughtfulness.
4. Place the board somewhere in a visible place and at the height accessible to the youngest children who can participate consciously in this activity.
5. Make another pocket to place near the board and place all the hearts inside.
6. Explain the idea to your family members at a family circle or during a family consultation.
7. Use the hearts as you wish. Encourage everyone to put hearts in the pockets.
8. At the end of the week, collect and count the hearts. You can add extra hearts to make an even number for everyone. Talk about your week. Discuss where you can improve yourselves. You can also recall decisions made the week before and follow up on how you’ve been doing in fulfilling them.
Oh, and per my daughter’s advice: every time you give a heart, give a hug to this person as well! Because apparently, one can’t be given without the other. Isn’t it thoughtful?!?
How do you teach thoughtfulness to your children?

Virtue Wednesday: Forgiveness

“Do not look at the shortcomings of anybody; see with the sight of forgiveness. The imperfect eye beholds imperfections. The eye that covers faults looks toward the Creator of souls.”

(Abdu’l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 93)


I chose this virtue for a reason: as parents we often tend to forget that forgiveness is so simple, especially when it comes to forgiving ourselves for being unfair to our little ones or not having enough patience to train them.

Everyone makes mistakes. It is true. But through mistakes we learn. And giving someone, even ourselves, another chance is just what we, human beings, do. Forgiving someone for making a mistake, no matter how big, is showing love and compassion. Helping someone and ourselves learn through the mistake made is a process, sometimes it is a very complicated one.

Continue reading »

Virtue Wednesday: Forgiveness

“Do not look at the shortcomings of anybody; see with the sight of forgiveness. The imperfect eye beholds imperfections. The eye that covers faults looks toward the Creator of souls.”

(Abdu’l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 93)


I chose this virtue for a reason: as parents we often tend to forget that forgiveness is so simple, especially when it comes to forgiving ourselves for being unfair to our little ones or not having enough patience to train them.

Everyone makes mistakes. It is true. But through mistakes we learn. And giving someone, even ourselves, another chance is just what we, human beings, do. Forgiving someone for making a mistake, no matter how big, is showing love and compassion. Helping someone and ourselves learn through the mistake made is a process, sometimes it is a very complicated one.

Continue reading »