First: Please ask the children to make an acrostic with their own name; they need to write down virtues they possess. After they finish this task, please hand over small pieces of colourful paper so they can write down one of their imperfections. Please now distribute small envelopes so they can store the imperfection they wrote down into. Please note, for this activity, it’s not necessary to show/tell what they wrote down.
Second: explain we all have many qualities, but we also have imperfections we must work on to transform them into virtues. Virtue, according to the Cambridge dictionary, means “a good moral quality in a person, or the general quality of goodness in people”.
knowledge - an understanding of yourself and your abilities; getting to know what you like and what you don’t like; your wishes from life; things that are important for you; feelings we have in certain situations (for instance, what we feel when our parents call our attention, when someone does not agree with our opinion, when we hear bad/good news, when we are provoked by someone, etc).
Self-acceptance - It’s an agreement with yourself to appreciate, validate, accept and support who you are at this very moment, even those parts you’d like to eventually change. It is to recognize mistakes and achievements, respecting yourself as a spirit in evolution. It means not feeling anger or sad because you still haven’t acquired the good attitudes you wished for. It is to accept your physical body the way it is (your hair colour, height, weight, change of voice, changes in the adolescence period, etc). Please remind the children self-acceptance doesn’t mean we need to remain the way you are and avoid change, but it means having a positive attitude of getting to know you and being okay with those parts of yourself you want to change some day. Besides, self-accepting strengthens our patience and faith; helps to live in harmony with ourselves and with others.
Fourth: please ask the children if they know who told us the phrase: 'Know thyself’. This phrase could be written on the black board or into a panel which can now be made available for the children to see it. This phrase is attributed to Socrates. He was the one who said this would be the most efficacious method of ensuring one's own moral improvement in the present life, and resisting the attraction of evil. He was a philosopher that lived 470 years before Jesus in Earth. According to Socrates, those who live upon the Earth meet again after death and recognize each other; hence, he believed in reincarnation.
Fifth: please question the children if they know any method for working on their self-awareness. Please talk to them about question 919 from The Spirits' Book. Why does St. Augustine suggest doing self-analysis every night? He said: ask yourself these questions; inquire of yourself what you have done, and what was your aim in such and such a manner; whether you have done anything that you would blame in another; whether you have done anything that you would be ashamed to avow.
Self-analysis makes us change, self-improve, so we don’t make the same mistakes again. We should also self-analysis to check if any of our attitudes taken have hurt anyone. This will enable us to ask for forgiveness and avoid this attitude next time, as well as becoming aware of good choices we made as well. When you are in doubt as to the quality of any one of your actions, ask yourself what would be your judgment in regard to it if it were done by another? Self-knowledge is, therefore, the key to individual improvement.
Sixth: please talk about attitudes related to children’s day-to-day; please encourage them to come up with some examples. The spiritist teacher could add, for instance, to this list: thoughts, words that are said to others, the way they do their tasks at home and at school (if they do it with good-will or not), if they are polite, obey parents and teachers, if they fight with their brothers or friends, etc. You could also mention about lying and other situations the spiritist teacher might add since he/she knows the children’s reality.
Seventh: please ask the children to grab the paper with the imperfection they wrote down. You should now ask them to write a phrase with a virtue they need to develop to overcome this imperfection. Ask them to place it inside the envelope, fold and glue it. The spiritist teacher should distribute a small magnet which should be glued to the back of each child’s envelope. Please ask them to place it somewhere visible at home so that, after some time, they can analyse it once again and check if they improved on this imperfection. Please conclude this topic by remembering them of the need to carry out our inner reform (overcome our imperfections; transform them into virtues). The task of inner change is individual; it is a commitment one makes to him/herself.
No one can do this on our behalf. We will be happier the more we analyse our thoughts, feelings and attitudes, with the objective of making less mistakes and progressing. For example: who enjoys gossiping about others must learn to see positive aspects in his colleagues; who enjoys complaining must make an effort to thank for everything he had and complain less; who are used to lying, must learn to always say the truth.
1 - Distribute the questionnaire Personality Test for them to respond; getting to know themselves better.
01. What time of the day do you feel better?
(a) in the morning;
(b) during the afternoon and by the end of the afternoon;
(c) late at night.
02. You normally walk:
(a) very quickly, taking long steps;
(b) very quickly, taking short and quick steps;
(c) less quickly but keeping your head up, looking at the world ahead of you;
(d) less quickly and keeping your head down;
(e) very slowly; usually at night.
03. When you talk to people, you:
(a) stand up with your arms crossed;
(b) keep your hands tight (closed);
(c) keep one or both hands around hips;
(d) touch or pull the person you are speaking to;
(e) play with your ear, touch your chin or your hair.
04. When relaxing, you sit down:
(a) with your knees bent to the side of your legs;
(b) crossing your legs;
(c) with your legs stretched or open;
(d) with one leg under you.
05. When something makes you laugh really hard, you react with:
(a) a burst of laughter;
(b) a laughter, but not too loud;
(c) a quiet smile;
(d) an embarrased smile.
06. When you go to a party or a social event, you:
(a) make a special entrance so everyone can notice you;
(b) make a quiet entrance; search around for people you know within the event;
(c) try to be as quiet as you can, making sure no one notices you.
07. You are now studying, concentrating and then someone interrupts you. You:
(a) are ok with the interruption;
(b) feel extremelly irritated;
(c) someone vary from one extreme to the other.
08. Which of the following colours you like the most?
(a) red or orange;
(c) yellow or bright blue;
(e) dark blue or purple;
(g) brown or grey.
09. When you are laying in bed, minutes before you fall asleep, you lay:
(a) on your back in bed, with your arms by your side;
(b) lying face down;
(c) sleep sideways with their arms by your side;
(d) taking one arm above head resting at the side of the face;
(e) with your head covered under the sheets.
10. You normally dream you are:
(b) fighting or discussing with someone;
(c) searching for something or for someone;
(d) flying or flutuating;
(e) I normally don’t remember my dreams;
(f) your dreams are always quite pleasant.
11. What is your reaction when:
* someone reprimands you ________________________________
* someone does not agree with your opinion ___________________________
* you receive sad news _________________________
* you receive good news __________________________________
* you are provoked by someone _____________________________
2 - Distribute sheets for them to draw a t-shirt and write down a quality they posses. If the children enjoy drawing, you could ask them draw themselves into the t-shirt. Another idea would be to get them to colour the t-shirt, writing something positive on it. You could ask them to start by writing, for example: I am... I am intelligent. I am studious. I am spiritist. I am a nice person.
3 - Please attach the drawing of a t-shirt or a heart at their backs. Please play a pleasant and calm song at this stage; ask them to write at their colleagues’ t-shirts/hearts the virtues they consider important to be developed by everyone. You should later talk to them about what they wrote down.
Translation: Carolina von Scharten, London, Sir William Crookes Spiritist Society linked to BUSS - The British Union of Spiritist Societies.