Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A copy of story, "The Better Offer"
Preparation for Activity
- Read through the story a few times. If possible, prepare to tell the story rather than read it. Practice telling it aloud. Try adopting different voices for the merchants or for Uthman ibn Affan.
Description of Activity
Tell the children that this is a true story from the Arab lands that happened nearly 1,400 years ago. It illustrates that generosity reaps benefits for both giver and receiver. To help the children better understand this concept, you will engage them in a brief, guided discussion after you tell the story.
Make eye contact with each listener before you begin. Then, tell or read the story.
Use the chime, rain stick, or other instrument to signify the story is ended.
Engage the children in a brief discussion. Aim to help them repeat and integrate the message from the story, as they make links between the story and their own, real life experiences of being generous. You may like to use these questions:
- I wonder why Uthman ibn Affan brought so much food all the way to Medina, and then gave all his food away. Why do you suppose he did that? (Affirm all children's answers related to kindness. If none of the children mention kindness nor the notion that Uthman ibn Affan expected to be rewarded by Allah, be sure that you do.)
- What kind of reward do you suppose Uthman got? (Draw out or offer contributions such as "It feels good to make others happy," "The pleasure of seeing everyone happy and healthy because they were well fed," "People might have invited him to dinner or become his friend," "People would have been grateful," People might have wanted to be generous with him in the future," or "People would think he is nice, or think of him as a hero.")
Now, tell the children you will go around in a circle, giving each child a chance to share about a time they were generous, especially times when they might have been rewarded for their generosity. Remind the children that there are different kinds of rewards. You may say:
Sometimes a reward is something you can see, taste, or hold, such as a toy, a treat, or a gift of money. Sometimes a reward is a nice feeling, as when someone thanks you or tells you something good about yourself that makes you feel good.
If children have difficulty thinking of possible rewards, either for Uthman or for their own examples of generosity, it may be helpful for you to share about a time you felt "rewarded" by being generous. Or, you may wish to offer these examples:
- One girl shared her snack with her friend one day at school and felt rewarded by how much her friend enjoyed the food. Another day, the girl forgot her snack and her friend shared his with her.
- One boy helped raise money to buy a cow for a family that didn't have enough food or money. When he did this he was rewarded by feeling proud and by knowing that he had helped to make a difference for a family.
Thank each child who contributes.
Including All Participants
Some children have difficulty sitting still, even when they are paying attention to what is happening around them. This can be frustrating for teachers, as well as for the children who find themselves in situations where they are expected to maintain stillness for prolonged periods of time. If you have children in the group for whom this is the case, consider adopting the use of "fidget objects" as described in the Resources section. These fidget objects can provide an outlet for a child's need to move that need not disrupt the storytelling or discussion.