Lesson Three

Justice

 

Buddhism
He, who inquires into what is right and wrong is indeed just and wise.
Dhammatthavagga: 256

Judaism
Execute true justice.
Show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother.

Zechariah 7:9

Islam
Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity;
and never let hatred of any-one lead you into the sin of deviating from justice.

Quran 5:8 (Asad)

Baha'i Faith
Tread ye the path of justice, for this, verily, is the straight path.
Baha'u'llah

 

Discuss: What justice means. Examples of how the children see justice practiced in their daily lives. How justice is practiced in your class. What various situations would look like without justice. Why justice is important.

Depending on the age of your class, you could also explore the concept that justice doesn't mean everybody always gets exactly the same thing. For example: Imagine a family (a mom, dad, 12 yr old, 9 yr old, 5 yr old, and 2 yr old) goes for a fun afternoon of cherry picking. When they start each member of the family gets the same size big basket to fill with cherries. Everybody is equally excited to start picking cherries but, the trees are so tall that the 2 yr old can't reach any cherries and the 5 year old can only reach a few cherries. Would the family be practicing justice if they decided everyone gets to eat only what they pick themselves? Would it be justice if only the dad put effort into picking cherries and everyone else expected him to share all of his cherries? What might justice look like in this situation? In that same family, would it be justice if the parents assigned several household chores to the 10 yr old but nobody else had to help around the house? How could justice be practiced? Discuss examples of how justice can be practiced in different ways depending on the situation.

 

Books that reinforce the theme of justice
(Books can be previewed @ http://www.amazon.com)
If you don't want to purchase books, consider requesting them at your local library.

Delivering Justice: W.W. Law and the Fight for Civil Rights By: Jim Haskins
No Fair!: Kids Talk About Fairness By: Nancy Loewen
It's Not Fair By: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The Cow of No Color: Riddle Stories & Justice Tales from Around the World By: Nina Jaffe
(For older kids)
I Can Share! By: Karen Katz (For younger kids)

 

Activities to support theme of justice
Remember to plan enough time for the children to help clean up after each of their activities. It's another opportunity for them to put into practice the virtues they're learning.

  1. It's Fair to Share Game
    On individual slips of paper write down the name of things or animals such as: bird, bunny, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, candy bar, TV remote, basketball, brush etc. Prepare a few more slips of paper then the number of children in the class. One child draws a slip out of a basket and reads it to them self and sets it aside without saying it out loud. If there are non readers in the class they can draw and a teacher can whisper what it says in their ear. The child pretends they have this imaginary thing for a few seconds and then pass it to the person next to them. For example if it said "bunny" they might cradle it in their arm gently, pet it a couple times and pass it to the next person carefully. If it said "hair brush" they might pretend to brush their hair a couple times and pass it to the next person. If it's a sandwich they might hold it like a sandwich, take a big bite and pass it to the next person. The item continues around the circle like that person to person. The only talking is when the object is handed from one person to the next the receiver says "Thanks for sharing" and the giver says "You're welcome". Everyone copies what the first child did even though they might not know what the object/animal is suppose to be. When the object has made it back to where it started everyone else in the group makes one guess as to what it was they think they all just shared. The person who started the round tells everyone what it actually was. Let everyone have a turn being the first.
  2. Board Games
    Encourage the kids to bring some of their favorite board games to class. Playing board games gives kids many opportunities to practice justice and fairness. One game I like is Apples to Apples. It's a game of funny comparisons that leads to silly conversations and lots of laughs. And in the spirit of justice everyone takes turns playing the role of the "judge". The Apples to Apples-Kids 7+ is geared toward young children but they will need to be able to read to play the game.

 

Arts and crafts Ideas
Consider printing the quote that goes with your lesson so the children can attach it to their projects.

  1. Sharing Supplies
    Set out a reasonable, but not overly abundant, collection of arts and craft supplies for a particular project. Encourage the children to consult as a group on how best to share the supplies to make it fair for everyone. Give them guidance as needed but let them work it out for themselves as much as possible. Suggest their projects incorporate the theme of justice or fairness.

  2. Straight Path of Justice Interactive Picture
    This project goes will with the Baha'i quote.
    Fold up the bottom three inches of a large sheet of manila construction paper. Tape or glue sides of the folded edges. Slit the folded bottom edge leaving about an inch on each side uncut. Have the kids illustrate how they imagine a straight path. Color cardstock of wooden craft stick people. The people can be used as puppets walking along the path.
    * Similar quotes from other religions that this project works well with:
    Proverbs 3:6 - "in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."
    Quran 10:25 (Asad) - God invites [man] unto the abode of peace, and guides him that wills [to be guided] onto a straight way.
  3. Straight Path of Justice drawing/painting
    This project goes will with the Baha'i quote.
    Let the kids paint or draw a long picture the depicts a long straight path.
    * Similar quotes from other religions that this project works well with:
    Proverbs 3:6 - "in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."
    Quran 10:25 (Asad) - God invites [man] unto the abode of peace, and guides him that wills [to be guided] onto a straight way.

 

Music
"Tread Ye the Path of Justice" Love All The World CD

 

Snack Ideas
Remember to plan for hand washing or provide antibacterial wet wipes.
  1. Trail Mix
    Use the snack time to explore the concept of justice. Set out several large serving bowls with things that could be used in homemade trail mix. You might consider: pretzels, pop-corn, dried fruits, mini-marshmallows, and maybe some M&Ms for fun. Or ask each family to provide one thing and have the kids bring their contributions to class. At snack time make various sizes of measuring cups available to use for measuring and serving. Tell the kids they all get to make their own trail mix and encourage them to consult on how they would practice justice and fairness. Assist with suggestions if needed, but allow them to use their problem solving skills to come up with a plan they can all agree on.
  1. Fruit Loop Necklaces
    Set out supplies for Fruit Look necklaces. Encourage the kids to consult on how they would practice justice and fairness in sharing the supplies. Assist with suggestions if needed, but allow them to use their problem solving skills to come up with a plan they can all agree on.
  1. Honey Dipped Apples for Jewish New Year
    It could be especially fun to play Apples to Apples and have a snack of apples and honey during a Rosh Hashanah. Chocolate sprinkles makes them even more festive!

 

Service Project Idea

  1. Toy Library Donation
    Encourage the children to consult with their families to see if they have toys or games they have outgrown that they would like to donate to a local toy library or women & children's shelter. Call your local toy library or shelter ahead of time to find out what their needs are and if it's suitable to bring your class. Get permission from all the parents/guardians before taking children on any service projects and have parents accompany the class to provide adequate adult supervision.


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