June 10, 2011

Virtues and Manners and Sevice, Oh My!

Fridays have become our sort of character training day.  Not that the kids aren't expected to behave with character during the rest of the week, but it just so happens that the more formal intricacies of manners and upright conduct have come to be taught with planning and intent on Fridays.  On top of that, the American West Heritage Center, where the whole family volunteers, just happened to pick Friday as our day to work.  So it has become our service day as well.

We've been working on memorizing the Prayer for the Western States during circle time.  We did the first half this week and we'll do the second half next week.  They seem to know it for the most part.  Sometimes they act it out with hand motions, sometimes the word 'illimitable' gets all jumbled up and confused looks span their sweet faces (no matter how many times we talk about what that word means) and generally everyone comes back in strong for "OF GUIIIIIIDAAAAANCE!"  Big finish!

Today's lesson ended up being timely for the kids, as well as hilarious for me to see what they did with it!  I intended for it to be a lesson on manners when offered food that isn't our favorite, and on gratitude for even the most routine things, like being given lunch or dinner in your own house.  I printed out these cute coloring sheets of a pig eating a stack of pancakes that had the words, "It was delicious!" printed at the top.

It was timely because the night before, Haven had been sent to bed with no dinner on account of grumbling extensively about having to eat the meal I made (which he chose, by the way) instead of me making him scrambled eggs for dinner (which he decided he wanted only after I made his first dinner request).  An hour or so later, Hunter was sent to bed with no last snack (that's our routine snack right before we brush teeth) because when I offered him a cookie, he demanded two instead of saying thank you.  I'd like to say this is out of character for them, but for the last couple of weeks they've really been trying to see what they can get out of me.  I figure if I hold my ground for long enough, they'll eventually accept that I am a mom and not a short order cook.

When I mentioned what our topic was, both boys looked at the floor and Hannah Jane looked right at them with that sisterly look that silently says, You know this lesson is for you.  Right?  We mentioned the night before and how it was in the past, but that there are some things coming up that this will apply to as well.  Like being a sleep over guest in someone's home and how different families eat different foods and sometimes we won't really like what they offer us, but we are supposed to be grateful guests anyway.

After we talked a bit about not only being grateful guests in other people's homes, but of also showing appreciation for those you live with day in and day out, I showed them the picture of the pig and the pancakes.  I only picked the picture because the pig mentioned how delicious the food was and it wouldn't kill them to offer up a compliment about the food they're given once in a while instead of wishing out loud that it were something else.  But after the chat we'd just had, the kids made up this elaborate story about the pig.  Here's what they came up with as a group, each interrupting the other to add a line to the story:

"Okay, so there's this pig and he's spending the night at the Taylors' house. Because they're his god parents too.  Right?  And what the Taylors don't know is that the pig absolutely hates pancakes!  Hate is a very strong word, you guys...  But the pig is a good little pig and so he doesn't want to hurt their feelings.  So not only does he eat the pancakes, but he tells them that the pancakes were delicious because he knows that if he uses good manners, the Taylors will invite him back to spend the night again and maybe they'll even take the pig to Badasht!    And play games in a cabin with Anya!  Dats one lucky pig.  I wish I had pancakes at the Taylors' house right now."

Can you guess which color was which kid?  

They got to work coloring their pigs and Haven says, "Hey guys...what color are a pigs' eyes?  Because I think my pig is the wrong color."  To which Hannah Jane answers, as if she were in a little PSA for Baha'i kids, "Remember, Haven, this is a Baha'i pig.  So he can be any color he wants to be because you know what Baha'is love most, right?  Unity.  And unity means that you can be whatever color you want, even if you're a pig and you'll still get to hang out with the other pigs!"  Haven gave a sigh of relief, as if all of this made perfect sense, and got back to making the whole thing solid green.

I just love hearing how they string ideas together!  It cracks me up!  It also makes me think of how much time I waste planning out how things will go that they are just going to take totally in their own direction.  Like the pig.  I couldn't have made up a story that good on my own!  Butit was way more memorable than any lesson or story I could have come up with!


  1. Ted Taylor10.6.11

    Wow! I just read the story about the pig, and told Nevin he had to read it. He told me he already had! We would be happy to be the Godparents for the pig too. If he's part of your family, he's part of ours. I love how the pig can be any color he wants. I am so looking forward to seeing all of you when you visit here, and then come to Badasht.

  2. Darrell, I thought so too! These kids crack me up!

    Ted, we've never actually met this pig, so that's between you guys. All we know is that he hates pancakes. But I already informed Shirine that if he shows up, maybe you could just offer him french toast :) We can't wait to see you guys either! We have a count down going on!


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