In "Moral Tales," a Tapestry of Faith program
You may wish to clarify some elements in the story. The story begins with "Long ago the Buddha was born as a little parrot." You may, instead, begin the story, "Once there was a little parrot." Or, you may tell the group as much as you like of the following:
This story is a Jataka tale. It is one of hundreds of tales that the Buddha told. He was raised as a Hindu, and the Hindu religion believes that we each are reborn many times, as different animals and people. When we die, we come back as another person or animal.
All of the Jataka tales are about the Buddha in one of his former lives.
Later on, the story mentions "Gods of a happy realm... floating high overhead in their cloud palaces... " The idea of multiple gods living up above and looking down on Earth is also from the Hindu tradition.
Before you begin, look around the room and make eye contact with each person. Read or tell the story.
Ring the chime (use other sound instrument) to indicate that the story is over.
Follow the story with a discussion to deepen children's understanding that when we act from our hearts and don't give up, we can help to make change and inspire other people to work with us. In the discussion, you will also aim to help children to understand how working hard for something that we believe in can strengthen us spiritually. Not only do we feel true to ourselves when we persevere, but our sense of connection to others is strengthened as well. Use these questions:
After this discussion about the story, switch gears. Ask the children about their own experiences with working hard and not giving up. If you have already covered this adequately in Activity 1: Gems of Goodness, briefly mention one or two examples from stories the children shared earlier.
Children's examples of perseverance are very concrete, at this age. Share some of your own experiences of working toward a goal. Examples: working and saving money to buy a bike, practicing a musical instrument or a sport when other friends were going out to play, helping to tend a garden or take care of a pet. Another example of perseverance that they might have experienced would be making something that takes a lot of time such as a sand castle, a snow person, a tree fort, something complicated with Legos, or a sewing or knitting project. Allow some children to share. Then say:
See, you already know how to work hard for something, if it is important to you.
Later, they can draw on this memory to work hard when love and conscience call.
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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
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