“If love and agreement are manifest in a single family, that family will advance, become illumined and spiritual…” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
The family unit is the nucleus of human society. It provides a vital setting for the development of praiseworthy qualities and capacities. Through its harmonious functioning and the development and maintenance of the bonds of love that join together its members, it gives constant expression to the truth that the well-being of the individual is inextricably bound to the progress and well-being of others.
A fundamental role of the family is to raise children who can assume responsibility for both their own spiritual growth and their participation in the advancement of civilization. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá states that the mother and father of a child should “as a duty…strive with all effort to train the daughter and the son”, and Bahá’í parents, who bear the primary responsibility for the upbringing of their children, are to be ever mindful of their duty in this connection. But the education of children is not only the responsibility of the parents. The community also has an important role to play and the Bahá’í community gives considerable attention to the subject. Indeed, classes, open to all, for the spiritual and moral education of children are typically among the first activities to be pursued by Bahá’ís in a locality.
EXPLORING THIS SUBJECT
Bahá’ís see the young as the most precious treasure a community can possess. In them are the promise and guarantee of the future. Yet, in order for this promise to be realised, children need to receive spiritual nourishment. In a world where the joy and innocence of childhood can be so easily overwhelmed by the aggressive pursuit of materialistic ends, the moral and spiritual education of children assumes vital importance.