Sacred Stories: A Guide for Parents and Teachers

Sacred Stories: Wisdom from World Religions (Simon & Schuster and Beyond Words, 2012) tells 35 stories from seven different religious paths.
A Guide for Parents and Teachers offers assistance to classroom and home teachers for each of the stories in Sacred Stories.
To download the Guide, click here.
All material in the Guide was examined for accuracy and practical use by educators in each religion.
The Introduction to the Guide briefly explains the historical context of the stories and how they apply to today's world. A Suggested Classroom Use section offers creative activities that can help in making the stories meaningful. The Guide also expands upon Sacred Stories' explanations of each religion's beliefs, with more detail, and it tells of sites that are sacred to that faith's followers. The meaning behind every story is explained in terms middle-school-aged children can understand, along with discussion suggestions. There is also a list of suggested further readings.
This excerpt is taken from the chapter on Christianity:
The Good Samaritan
(The Bible; Luke 10:29-37)
Here is a clear example of a major part of Jesus' message: be kind to everyone. It is easy to be good to people you love, to your friends and others like you. When they look and sound different, or when they are enemies, as the Jews and Samaritans were, it is much harder. But Jesus said that his followers should help anyone who is in need, whether friend, enemy, or stranger.
The story does not say that the Jew and Samaritan ever became acquainted; the point is to show compassion to all.
The story also illustrates the difference between "doing things right" and "doing the right thing." Perhaps the motive of the priest and the Levite who did not stop was that they did not wish to risk violating the law of the priesthood by defiling themselves, touching a body that might be dead. Or maybe they didn't want to be late for their time of service in the temple in Jerusalem.
Yet their concern for following the usual rules meant that they did not do the right thing, which would be setting aside their own plans to help someone whose needs were much greater.
Discussion:
~ Who is different from you? Who is the person in your life that people shun? Would you help this person?
He or she probably isn't lying on a dusty road, nearly dead, but might be someone new in the neighborhood, someone being treated unfairly, or a person mentally or physically disabled or without friends. Would you help?
~ Have you ever seen a sign or sticker on a car saying "Good Samaritan Club?" This means the people in the car have said they will stop and help someone in trouble, just as the Samaritan did in this story.
~ Hundreds of hospitals are named "Good Samaritan." Why would a hospital have this name?

Selected Works

Religion
McFarlane retells without bias some of the best-known stories from Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Native American and Sacred Earth traditions and has rendered them in accessible prose.
Teaching aid
Manual for guidance in teaching Sacred Stories: Wisdom from World Religions
Cookbook

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