The utterance of God is a lamp, whose light is these words: 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.
-Bahá’u'lláh, Founder of the Bahá‘í Faith
On November 12, Bahá’ís around the world celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u'lláh, the Founder of their religion. Revered by Bahá’ís as the latest Messenger from God, Bahá’u'lláh (1817 – 1892) taught that all people are the children of the same God and that all of the major world religions share a divine origin, though their social teachings vary according to the time and place in which they began.
My parents became Bahá’ís when I was an infant, so I was raised with these ideals of unity and oneness, which I am trying to pass on to my sons. I like to do crafts to go with our holidays, so this year, as our family prepares to celebrate the Birth of Bahá’u'lláh, I decided to do a craft that focuses on Bahá’u'lláh’s teaching of unity in diversity.
Unity in diversity in essence means that when we recognize our underlying unity, the differences that often separate us can be celebrated rather than feared.
I chose to concentrate on the above quote, which describes humanity as “leaves of one branch.” Each leaf is distinct and beautiful, yet they are all part of the same tree. To help my preschooler understand this concept, we made a unity tree, similar to this wonderful multicultural collage from Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes. Here is how you can make one with your child:
Unity Tree Craft
For this you will need:
- brown, green, and blue construction paper
- old magazines
- glue (lots of it, if your child is anything like mine!)
Depending on the age and interests of the child, you can prepare the tree from construction paper ahead of time or let them make it.
Go through the magazines with your child and cut out faces of diverse people. Take the time to talk to your child about what is different and what is the same about the faces. Try to let them put into words what they see, rather than imposing an adult’s view. Children are not born seeing characteristics like skin color as being significant, so wait to see what differences they notice.
The first two faces we cut out happened to be of two men, one black and one white. When I asked my son how they were the same, he replied that they were both men. When I asked him how they were different I prepared myself for a discussion about race, but he told me they were different because one was bigger than the other. I looked more closely – he was right! Because they were taken from different ads in the magazine, one head was several sizes larger than the other!
Glue the faces on the branches, like leaves on the tree. My son loved this part! I think we went through half a bottle of glue
We were both very happy with how it turned out (once all the glue dried!) More importantly, I hope it will be a reminder to him to always appreciate what brings us together even as we celebrate what makes us unique.
Leanna is a stay at home mother to a sweet, funny, rambunctious three year old boy and his adorable, smiley baby brother. She and her husband, who is from Costa Rica, are raising their boys to be bilingual and bicultural but more importantly to be “world citizens.” You can find her online at her blog All Done Monkey, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +. Leanna is the co-founder of Bahá’í Mom Blogs and founder of Multicultural Kid Blogs.