I have been placed in a very difficult situation of having to assist my local bhantes with their Sunday School class. Difficult for me, especially, because I am awkward in social situations, I have never been 100% comfortable with children, and I don't know much about the culture or language of the Sri Lankan families whose children make up the entirety of the class.
To be fair, that last bit is especially why I was asked to help: these children (ranging in age from 6 to 14) are heavily Westernized and speak English as their first language. The bhantes are the most dedicated and generous people I've ever known, but I think they feel that their command of English and understanding of American mannerisms are not strong enough to connect completely with the children. While I recognize I am not the best possible choice to do this job, I feel like stepping dramatically out of my comfort zone is exactly the right thing to do for me.
I've already had one session, which was both challenging and incredibly rewarding. It's a fine line I need to walk because while the bhantes can speak to the children in the same way as a parental authority, I know I cannot do that. I know I'm on the right track with some of the things I'm doing (encouraging them to talk and share their own experiences has been really great) but I think I need more help keeping their attention with material. I think I'm doing better with the older kids (who want to talk) than the younger ones (who mostly want to be talked to). I get that part of the purpose for this Sunday School is to give some cultural continuity to the younger generation, but I know I can contribute.
So mostly, I think I need stories that can help illustrate simple Dhamma concepts. Lots of them! The bhantes seem to like Jathaka (past lives of Buddha) stories, and I am seeing that they are important to Sri Lankan culture. Does anyone know of any good resources for Jathaka translations? Anything else?
Thanks and metta!