An Educated Child
An educated child is an angel in the making and a blessing to the parents and to the community. A child without a proper education can be little better than an animal. Providing a proper education, however, is beyond the ability of most parents and outside the mandate of our schools.
It takes a community to truly educate its children. It takes parents who are truly educated themselves and actively engaged in their children’s education and it takes the community to provide the support parents need. It is very rare to find both in any community.
What is true education? True education goes far beyond reading, writing, science, and math. It includes the development of a moral sense based on spiritual principles. True education is embedded in family values and community goals. It is not purely religious though religious organizations try to provide their own version of true education.
Our schools teach civility and citizenship but the children have few role models to emulate inside or out of school. Our schools do not teach morals or ethics, but they teach the virtues of discipline and obedience. Our churches, temples, and mosques do not teach spirituality. They teach dogma and doctrine, though they try hard to put their beliefs into practice within narrow and restrictive environments.
While a sound academic education often leads to productive citizens, a spiritual and moral education gives the child a compass in life, a means to determine differences between right and wrong, and good and evil. A spiritual education answers the basic questions we all have regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomic class. A spiritual education gives meaning and purpose to life. It opens our eyes to realms unapproachable by the senses and reason alone.
The Baha’is and all of our partners, collaborators, and friends have band together to offer free children’s educational classes in the community.
Our children’s classes focus on virtues such as the Golden Rule. Cooperative activities and the arts are used to get the children directly involved with what they are learning. A hands-on approach that gets the parents, the siblings, the friends and neighbors involved is a natural outcome to this approach.
On September 5, 1912, ‘Abdul-Baha gave a talk at St. James Methodist Church in Montreal, Canada. That talk was centered around what humanity must do to bring about the Most Great Peace, the New Kingdom of Heaven on earth. This included the children:
“…the necessity of education for all mankind is evident. Children especially must be trained and taught. If the parent cannot afford to do this owing to lack of means, the body politic must make necessary provision for its accomplishment. Through the broadening spirit of education illiteracy will disappear, and misunderstandings due to ignorance will pass away.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, U.S. Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1982, p. 317.
Though we still have a long way to go we can see now how right ‘Abdul-Baha was. World peace and justice for all is inevitable if true universal education is provided for the children of the world. Without it, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Parents have the primary responsibility for the early education of their children. It is both a sacred duty and a joy beyond any other riches. The early education of children, however, is not centered on the ABCs but instilling in the children of a moral sense and providing them a spiritual environment in which to thrive. It is greatly esteemed in God’s eyes.
“Among the greatest of all services that can possibly be rendered by man to Almighty God is the education and training of children...”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Center, 1982, p. 133.
The problem today is that many, perhaps most parents are too busy just trying to survive to give their child the kind of education they need to not only succeed in life but to be happy and fulfilled, but we can help.
Not a class near you? Let us help. We will be happy to start a children’s education class in your neighborhood. Contact us to get started.
Education and the Arts
Arts play a big part in the education of children. There are many Baha’i songs for children. They can be used by anyone who cares about the growth and development of our most precious resource, the children. And there are so many Baha'i stories written for children.
Children's Stories Join the children as they bubble around the world making new friends from exotic places, facing difficult choices, and working together to solve problems the adults don't even know how to handle.
Children's Lessons The stories are fictionalized accounts of real life but the lessons are real. They focus on character development and highlight universal values.
Children's Games These simple games tie the stories and lessons together with fun, age appropriate word puzzles.
Our stories, lessons, and games are interrelated but they stand on their own as well. Together they form a whole – entertaining, informative, and fun. The stories, however, can be read without reference to the lessons or the games. By the same token, the lessons can be done without reading the stories or playing the games. The same is true about the games. They can be played without reading the stories or doing the lessons.
If you have stories you'd like to share, lessons you'd like to offer, or games you've designed in the past, please contact us. We'd love to collaborate with you.