Posted by: Jenny | Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Moral and spiritual education

Well, what am I doing to help reduce poverty?

Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, wrote “Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom”. Education takes many forms, but, like many others, I firmly believe that it is only through education that poverty can be reduced and eventually eliminated in our world.

You have only to look at the emphasis that poor parents all over the world give to the education of their children, sacrificing so that the generations to come may have a (materially) better life. In my life as a Bahá’í, I am very aware that the true nature of man is spiritual, not material. So I participate with other Bahá’ís in helping others to learn about that spiritual nature. This starts with children, who have the capacity to acquire virtues, if these are taught from a young age.

In my locality, as everywhere, there is poverty, but it is not immediately apparent. Parents here, as elsewhere, want the best for their children – and are ready to accept some extra help in the form of the moral and spiritual education that the Bahá’ís offer. So we run a ‘Virtues Project’ for 4 to 7-year-olds. We discuss virtues, learn songs and sayings, and do creative activities to reinforce the behaviours we hope to encourage. If such activities help these children as much as the moral education I received in Sunday school, regular school and in my parents’ home helped me, then we will have contributed towards a greater understanding between people and a readiness to cooperate – in the longer term, reducing poverty.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of Bahá’u’lláh and interpreter of his writings, writes: “We must strive unceasingly and without rest to accomplish the development of the spiritual nature in man, and endeavour with tireless energy to advance humanity toward the nobility of its true and intended station.”

Take a look at the Bahá’í International Community’s publication: Eradicating Poverty: Moving Together as One.

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