A Joyful Path, Year Three – Week 21: Rise Up — Story: Don’t Abandon Your Post

For Classroom or Home School



Week 21: Winter
Lesson 17: Rise Up! Fight for what is Right

I fight for what is right.

Getting to the Heart of the Lesson

Religions provide significant instructions about ways of being that are good and just. To uphold these ways of being requires the support of spiritual practice and spiritual community. Why? Because we humans are easily seduced and persuaded by fear, scarcity and a sense of separation, or as the Buddha taught, “Greed, hatred and delusion.” Fear, scarcity and separation are learned behaviors but as we have explored and been reminded in many of these lessons, learned behaviors are not who we truly are. We are of Heaven and Earth. We are of soil and sky. We are family within a web of diverse and wonderful kin, pulsing with Life! When we fight for what is right, we put our inner Mystics and inner Prophets to work. We remind ourselves and fellow humans who we actually are.

This lesson is about providing tools and instructions so the fight is not just theoretical but rather action-filled. The activities have been created to encourage the children to engage with an issue and to fight for what is right.

Teacher Reflection/Activity

Some reading and a 10-20 min exercise (more if you have time and with to take it) so you are able to experience the teachings offered through this lesson.

Option 1 — Recall your favorite social justice s/ heroes and change-makers. Make some notes (single words or short phrases are fine) about why they have been sources of inspiration for you.

Similarly, think about a change that has happened in your town, our country, or around the world that makes you feel grateful. How did that change come about? Fighting for what is right manifests in a number of ways. Examples: Speaking up, asking for help, writing letters, making signs, organizing marches, visiting government leaders, crafting

petitions, voting, demonstrating, practicing civil disobedience, boycotting, fundraising, building awareness through art and beauty, etc. Is there a way you would like to stand up and speak up for something that is not right? Who would be a good companion for you in this process? Social transformation begins with one voice, but happens in solidarity. Who will you invite to come along? (NOTE: If you select Activity One (below) to do with the children, this brainstorm will help you provide the kids with some real life examples of how change happens.)

Option 2 — If your spiritual path has not taken you into the practices of social justice-making and being prophetic, use this time to gather inspiration from individuals who have found their voices and inspired others. Watch a movie (a few feature length suggestions below) or some interviews (shorter documentaries and great interviews can be found by searching YouTube) that focus on a social justice s/hero.

• The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (https:// www.imdb.com/title/tt7533152/) – the story of a young determined change-maker in Malawi

• Milk (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1013753/) – the story of Harvey Milk

• Taking Root (https://takingrootfilm.com/the- film/) – the story of Wangari Maathai

• Erin Brokovich (https://www.imdb.com/title/ tt0195685/) – the story of a woman’s fight for clean water

• Gandhi (https://www.imdb.com/title/ tt0083987/) – the story of Gandhi’s efforts to decolonize India

• Harriet (https://www.imdb.com/title/ tt4648786/) – the story of Harriet Tubman working the underground railroad

As you imagine a better world — one that looks more like a healthy ecosystem, or sounds like the teachings you have internalized from Jesus, Buddha, Moses, or other spiritual teachers — what is one way you would like to stand in your truth and take action? Remember, your activism does not need to be loud or dramatic. Taking action quietly, behind the scenes can still be very powerful, especially if you are serving as support to encourage others who have needed to be heard for a long time.

Read through the lesson before your time with the children. Decide which Activity Exploration will work best for your class (There are usually two options; choose one). Just below the heading, “Children’s Lesson and Story” you will find the preparations checklist for this lesson so you can collect any needed materials or make arrangements to support your selected activity.

Sacred Text Quotes

I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. -Hebrew Scriptures. Joshua 1:9 (NRSV)

You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off; do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. -Hebrew Scriptures. Isaiah 41:9-10 (NRSV)

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”  -Christian Scriptures.. John 18:36 (NRSV)

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. -Christian Scriptures. Galatians 5:1 (NRSV)

The most excellent jihad (1) is the uttering of truth in the presence of an unjust ruler. -Islam. Hadith of Tirmidhi.

For a warrior, nothing is higher than a war against evil. The warrior confronted with such a war should be pleased, for it comes as an open tae to heaven. But if you do not participate in this battle against evil, you will incur sin, violating your dharma and your honor. -Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism). Bhagavad Gita 2.31-34

Wisdom Quotes

There was one of two things I had a right to: liberty or death. If I could not have one, I would take the other, for no man should take me alive. I should fight for liberty as long as my strength lasted. — Harriet Tubman

Rights are won only by those who make their voices heard. — Harvey Milk

An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. — Martin Luther King Jr.

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. — Rosa Parks

Be sure to click here to download the Teaching Introduction and Instructions.

Review & Commentary