If you have young children, it can be difficult to complete a conversation about the Faith during a playdate. You can easily be halfway done with answering the question about what “Baha’i” means when a child needs to go to the toilet or a drink has been spilled on the carpet.
It is helpful for us to remember that, while it may seem like a challenge at times, teaching the Faith is not only a blessing, it is also an obligation. The Universal House of Justice writes that Teaching the Cause of God is one of the requisites for spiritual growth (see the full passage here).
[quote]To the extent that the conversation continues beyond the initial encounter and veritable friendships are formed, a direct
teaching effort of this kind can become a catalyst for an enduring process of spiritual transformation. Whether the first contact with such newly found friends elicits an invitation for them to enrol in the Bahá’í community or to participate in one of its activities is not an overwhelming concern. More important is that every soul feel welcome to join the community in contributing to the betterment of society, commencing a path of service to humanity…[/quote]
-Universal House of Justice, Ridvan Letter 2010, paragraph 4
Living a Baha’i life – following the Laws and precepts to the best of our ability – is a wonderful first step to teaching. However having meaningful interactions explicitly centered around the Faith is also important. After all, if our Faith guides our own lives and is such an important part of our existence, why wouldn’t we want to share this with those we care about?
The busy lifestyle of a mother caring for young children can make the traditional model of teaching (having long discussions) seem difficult however it is possible to make sharing the Faith part of daily life in addition to having conversations face-to-face. Here are a few creative ways to share your love for Baha’u’llah and His Healing Message with friends, family, neighbors and co-workers, near or far:
If you use social networks to share favorite articles and pictures, are you including Baha’i themes in your posts? Subscribe to the Baha’i World News Service, Baha’i Blog, or other Baha’i inspired pages and share inspiring or thought-provoking posts with your friends. Not only will this make your social media interaction more meaningful but you will also be reminding yourself of your spiritual identity as “Baha’i” becomes part of your virtual image.
2. Offer prayers for friends in need.
How often do you pray for people close to you or situations you hear about? Sometimes your prayers may be of a private nature and in other situations people may appreciate knowing that you are praying for them, even if you cannot – for one reason or another – meet up to offer prayers in person. If a friend’s child is sick or had a family member pass away, offer some prayers via email, phone, or card. Bahaiprayers.org is a great resource for sending a prayer via an email link.
Recognize Baha’i Holy Days by sending e-cards or homemade cards to friends. Utilize the special opportunity to share a bit about the history of the Baha’i Holy Days and what they mean to you. For example, some families have a “family tradition” of sending a Naw Ruz letter to family and close friends, updating them on what the family has been up to over the year, favorite memories, along with a few pictures and special quotations to inspire the new year. Brainstorm how you can include those you love in your Holy Day celebrations, even if you cannot spend time together in a physical sense.
4. Host a Devotional Gathering in your home to recognize special occasions.
Choose a special date – such as the anniversary of a relative’s passing, a wedding anniversary, or a birthday – and invite those you love over for some special prayers during a one-off devotional gathering. Honoring special moments in your life by sharing your love for the Baha’i Writings can truly deepen relationships. And if you cannot actually host a devotional meeting in your home, you could always send out some favorite quotations by email. Find some tips for making devotionals family-friendly here.
Sending a card for a birthday or thanking a teacher for a great school year? Include an inspirational Baha’i quotation inside. Another idea is using the Monthly Letter activity from the Radiant Hearts program to share with friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. Sharing the powerful messages from the Writings will inspire you as well as the recipient.
As you share your love for the Faith and the confirmations it gives you with others, you will likely find your own dedication to spiritual growth and responsibilities increasing.
What ways do you integrate teaching the Faith into your busy life and how does teaching influence you?