Oct 122017
 October 12, 2017  Baha'i, Parenting and Faith

5 million people are throwing a party, and you’re invited! Here’s why the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah matters to you – even if you’ve never heard of the Bahá’í Faith before. (There is a children’s book giveaway at the bottom, so be sure to scroll all the way down!)

Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha'u'llah: Why It Matters | Alldonemonkey.com

Friends, this is a very different post than you have read here before, but I decided I needed to share with you something straight from my heart.

The world is in travail, and its agitation waxeth day by day….

– Baha’u’llah

These days I’m afraid to turn on the news when I wake up. It seems like every day there is a fresh tragedy – another shooting, another natural disaster, another day when I’m feeling heartsick to see more people suffering.

What’s worse is that our own disunity and lack of coordinated vision prevent us from truly helping those in need.

Some days, I look at my own beautiful children and wonder about the world they are going to inherit. Sure, we can do our cute unity crafts and learn about peace and love, but sometimes there feels like a disconnect between that Kumbayah world I’m teaching them about and the one I see on the news.

And it’s not just me. Social media is full of friends in despair – people bitter, disheartened, and finding it difficult to muster the energy to wage another battle for justice or to raise the standard yet again for common decency and understanding.

Yet what if I were to tell you that a Prisoner who lived half a world away and more than a century ago foretold our sufferings and laid out a formula to heal humanity’s wounds and bind it together again as one human family?

Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship… So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.

In a matter of days, Bahá’ís around the world will celebrate the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. But wait, you might be saying, what does this have to do with me? 

He Who is your Lord, the All-Merciful, cherisheth in His heart the desire of beholding the entire human race as one soul and one body.

The Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah

The Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah is not so much one event as a series of activities that have been happening in local communities around the globe for the past several months, all culminating in big celebrations in every city and town marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of a spiritual Teacher whose Writings have spread around the world, inspiring and transforming families and communities in virtually every country on the globe.

The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.

Yet His words are not mere platitudes. Baha’u’llah – who spent 40 years of His life in imprisoment and exile because of His teachings – laid out a practical plan to bring about structural change in our society and create a framework for global governance that recognizes:

– the importance of both spiritual and material development

– the equality of men and women

– the underlying unity of the beautifully diverse human family

– the common spiritual foundation of all the major world religions

– the essential harmony of science and religion

– the centrality of justice to all endeavors

– the importance of education

– the need for the abolition of all forms of prejudice

And it’s already working.

More than 5 million Baha’is around the world have been putting His teachings into practice for more than a century, slowly building up institutions on the local, national, and international level that use consultation as a form of decision-making, that put the unity and well-being of the group ahead of individual egos, and that seek to carry forward “an ever-advancing civilization.”

Related Post: Resources to Teach Children about the Bahá’í Faith

A group studying the spiritual empowerment of junior youth at the Baha'i centre in Montero, Bolivia. Copyright © Bahá'í International Community

A group studying the spiritual empowerment of junior youth at the Bahá’í center in Montero, Bolivia. (Had to share this one because this is the community where I lived and worked 20 years ago!) Copyright © Bahá’í International Community

Bahá’ís live in virtually every country on the globe and reside in well over 100,000 localities. Bahá’ís come from all walks of life, and members come from roughly 2,100 indigenous tribes, races, and ethnic groups. 188 national councils oversee the work of the Bahá’í communities, and more than 300 formal programs of Bahá’í education can be found around the world.

Students from Banani School (standing), a Bahá'í-inspired school in Chisamba, Zambia teach students at a nearby elementry school as part of a service project. Copyright © Bahá'í International Community

Students from Banani School (standing), a Bahá’í-inspired school in Chisamba, Zambia teach students at a nearby elementry school as part of a service project. Copyright © Bahá’í International Community

Bahá’ís are at the forefront of social and economic development, with several thousand projects worldwide, more than 900 of which are large-scale, sustained projects, including more than 600 schools and over 70 development agencies. Bahá’í writings and other literature have been translated into more than 800 languages.

Women learning about agriculture at the Barli Development Institute for Rural Women in Indore, India. Copyright © Bahá'í International Community

Women learning about agriculture at the Barli Development Institute for Rural Women in Indore, India. Copyright © Bahá’í International Community

So whether you are a despairing mother wondering about the world her children will grow up in, a grassroots activist looking for a model to create unity of action, or a leader wanting to inspire real change, you can find inspiration and hope in the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and the example of the Bahá’í community.

Baha'i Faith Light of Unity Festival: Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha'u'llah

Join the Bahá’ís this month as we celebrate 200 years since the birth of Bahá’u’lláh. Celebrations are being held in communities around the globe and you are invited. For those in Sacramento, you can find out about our local celebration, or search in your own area for the celebration nearest you.

You can also see how communities around the world are celebrating with their children and download these beautiful coloring pages!

All quotations above are excerpts from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

Life of Bahá’u’lláh Children’s Book Giveaway

To commemorate the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, I am also thrilled to be giving away TWO COPIES of a brand new children’s book about the life of Bahá’u’lláh! In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that the author is a good friend (and hero!) of mine, and that I helped edit the book – however, I am being sincere when I tell you this is a fabulous book and a must have if you would like to teach your children about the life of Bahá’u’lláh!

The Life of Baha'u'llah | Delighted Hearts

I have been reading an advance copy with my 7 year old, and it’s really engaged him and sparked great conversations. He especially loves the family tree and full color maps. As his teacher, I really love the timeline and glossary as well. Until this point, I really hadn’t found a book for older children that gives such an in-depth view of Bahá’u’lláh’s life. I love that I can pick up this one book and know it will cover all of the major events of His life, all within the context of their spiritual and historical significance.

Written in honor of the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, this 72 page book intends to share with children the story of His majestic life, through the exploration of spiritual concepts and the stages and milestones of the life of Bahá’u’lláh.

While children of all ages will enjoy the gorgeous full color illustrations, the 30 stories included in this book are aimed principally at ages 8-12.

You can find it on Etsy and Amazon (affiliate link).

We are giving away two copies of The Life of Bahá’u’lláh by Melissa López Chaperoo. One copy is available for US winners, while the other is available to ship worldwide! Enter to win by simply commenting below: Tell us 1) What gives you hope, 2) What country you live in.

Giveaway goes through midnight PT on Tuesday, October 17, 2017. Winners shown by random selection.

  24 Responses to “Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah: Why It Matters”

  1. So excited for this book! What gives me hope ate my children. I’m in USA.

  2. What gives me hope -> seeing my children love each other and show love to their friends. I live in the USA

  3. Seeing the Word of God penetrate the hearts of people, irrespective of their background is what truly gives me Hope! I am from Pakistan.

  4. What a beautiful article Leamna and so easy to resonate with whether Bahai or from the wider community!
    What gives me hope is : the trust and belief in the worldwide process of spiritual transformation set in motion and Bahai working together to achieve the vision of a World that Bahaullah delineated in His teaching.
    In the Words of the Guardian ” there be no mistake. The principle of the Oneness of Mankind—the pivot round which all the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revolve is no mere outburst of ignorant emotionalism or an expression of vague and pious hope…It implies an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced. ..”
    Thank you for such a beautiful book for our little ones. Kia Ora from New Zealand!:)

  5. What gives me hope is to see the enhanced capacities of the new generations (to be more specific) and how the strive to put their knowledge into proactive. I live in Switzerland 🙂

  6. Thank you! Many things give me hope – one are the Writings of Baha’u’llah and the other is the actions people undertake everyday – young children finding solutions to big world problems because they care, or youth undertaking significant service like teaching children’s classes… I live in Canada

  7. What gives me hope it the purity of thoughts of my children how they want to try to help to make the world a better place. I live in USA

  8. What gives me hope is seeing how, though we don’t know the answers, we can learn together step by step and in unity. And so our horizons expand and the seemingly impossible is realised.
    I live in Australia

  9. What gives me hope is my children and seeing how beautiful, pure and innocent they are! If only we could all see through the eyes of them. I live in the USA

  10. This is so beautiful and powerful, Leanna! Thank you for sharing! One thing that gives me hope is seeing the compassion and nobility that people display in challenging times. I live in the USA.

  11. What gives me hope? My Faith, my family.
    I live in Canada

  12. What gives me hope are the teachings of Baba’ u’ llah. I live in. Bahrain ❤️

  13. Lol, I guess my daughter giving me hope for the future isn’t so original, but it’s quite true anyway. I guess… another thing that gives me hope is seeing that I do have a small influence on those with whom I come in contact with personally. I live in the Netherlands.

  14. The natural goodness of people gives me hope! I’m in PA, USA! Thank you for sharing this article!

  15. Music gives me hope. It is a universal language. Young people travel worldwide to attend music festivals. The diversity of nationalities and languages is nothing but remarkable. I went to a 3 day music festival in a remote northland location in New Zealand and counted 35 nationalities among the participants. Having morning coffee with young Germans by a babbling brook and surrounded by campers from every other European neighbour of Germany filled me with joy, hope, confidence and reassurance in the promise of world peace. German youth felt sceptical at my discourse, Reflect, I said, on my father fighting your grandparents during World War ll. Could they have imagined this scene of amicable sharing possible. Their youth was spent enduring the horrors of war while we today share music, friendship, coffee, food and sunshine.

  16. Trusting and obedience to Baha’ullah’s teachings and message, the promice of one human family. I live in USA

  17. My first grandchild and how innocently happy she always is.

  18. Dear Leanna, I think in the end what gives me hope is knowing that the Will of God will be done! I live in a rural area of Australia, in a Baha’i community of 3 adults – one my husband, one a new believer. We’ve been here for 10 years and it is patience, perserverance and more and more patience and perseverance for sometimes, what seems like small results. And even though less than 200km away, there is a city with more than 2000 Baha’is, very few are moved to help the friends in the regions! Even though I know we could achieve so much more with others helping us, we just have to work away, by ourselves, trying not to get too frustrated and relying on God! I often feel sad that my children have never had a chance to be with other Baha’i children and to be part of a loving, united Baha’i community. So my hope ultimately comes from knowing that the Plan of God is at work in the world and it WILL be achieved, in every corner of the world, and despite my own meagre efforts!

  19. What gives me hope is knowing that we were all created noble and that we have a higher purpose in life. As soon as a human being is aware of his true origin, his life is endowed with new meaning and is enlighten with hope. I’m from the Netherlands.

  20. The capacity of people to love fills me with hope. I see examples of it nearly every day and everywhere. Writing from Alabama in the US.

  21. This book looks so great!! I want to teach my kids more about the Bahai faith. What gives me hope is Multicultural Kids!!! Kids! Around the world!! I live in South Florida USA.

  22. Can I say delicious tacos? Sometimes that is what you need to remember all the good in the world! Friendships — deep friendships developed through service make me see how the world can change. USA

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