Bahai Education/Pedagogy

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III. PEDAGOGY

INTRODUCTION[edit]

Teaching

The Bahá’í writings praise education and its influence. They also praise and offer guidance for the art of teaching.

How wonderful will it be if the teachers are faithful, attracted, and assured, educated, and refined Bahá’ís, well grounded in the science of pedagogy, and familiar with child psychology. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, 1918)

Your niece's profession in training and educating children is one that will give her rich reward, because she is aiding in the development of the characters of the youth of today, who will become the ones who will guide humanity tomorrow. If they could be guided both materially and spiritually, then it would be a great victory, because after the world goes through its present travail, spiritual values will predominate; and those youth who have the benefit of both material and spiritual education will be the true leaders of society. (Effendi, cited in Rost, 1969, p. 167)

Teachers can help to develop the student's higher levels of understanding rather than concentrate on dispensing and retrieving facts. They can arrange the student's environment so that learning and development occur and potential is released.

People today seem to be very superficial in their thinking, and it would seem as if the educational systems in use are sorely lacking in ability to produce a mature mind in a person who has reached supposedly adult life! All the outside influences that surround the individual seem to have an intensely distracting effect, and it is a hard job to get the average person to do any deep thinking or even a little meditation on the problems facing him and the world at large. (1948, p. 2)

The Bahá’í writings use many analogies to help understand complex situations. They refer to a child as a plant, and the educator as the gardener. As the conditions for each plant to thrive differ, so do the conditions of each person, and a good gardener or educator is aware of the needs of the plants and acts accordingly.

These children are the plants of Thine orchard, the flowers of Thy meadow, the roses of Thy garden. Let Thy rain fall upon them; let Thy Sun of Reality shine upon them with Thy love. Let Thy breeze refresh them in order that they may be trained, grow and develop and appear in the utmost beauty. (Bahá’u’lláh, The Bab, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, 1970, p. 16-17)

If every plant were subjected to the same conditions, some plants might grow well, some fair and some poorly. This condition exists in most classrooms today. Just as there are no two kinds of flowers exactly alike, there are no two children exactly alike. All flowers require certain basics for life and growth and some desire similar growing conditions, but if you subject an African violet to the same conditions that you would a rose, hoping it will become like a rose, you will not only not get a rose, but you will not even get a very healthy African violet. Each flower has a potential that is not necessarily better or worse, but different from the others. Each has value and plays a part in the creative plan of the garden. The soil is tilled by tests and perseverance, and the "weeds of ignorance, thorns of superstitions and thistles of imitations,” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, 1971, p. 76) cast aside. The fruit is knowledge and wisdom. The Bahá’í literature gives guidance on meeting the needs of all children, identifies the problems that must be dealt with, abolishes the idea that one child is intrinsically better than another, and establishes the framework for the education of children. The teacher should identify the particular learning needs of each child and the conditions and methods to help each grow. Those needs change as the children become more refined and their environments differ. A teacher must diagnose and prescribe the proper course of action for his students. There are certain basics that all people require, but each has individual needs that also must be met. The teacher must set and enforce healthy standards for development. There is much controversy today about the way children should be grouped for learning. Some maintain that learning is best when those of similar abilities and interests are grouped together, while others claim that learning is improved through heterogeneous grouping. The Bahá’í teachings stress the value of unity in diversity.

The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, cited in Shoghi Effendi, 1969)

Much prejudice and harm are propagated by keeping different peoples separated from one another. People labeled slow or somehow inferior to others suffer in opportunity and self-concept. If schools do not take an active role in breaking down these destructive patterns, then change will be more painful and improvement slowed. Research has shown that ability grouping is often detrimental to development. It not only hampers effective growth, but also discriminates against children from low socioeconomic and minority groups. There is a place in schools and society for the concept of ability grouping, but if this practice leads to unfair discrimination or furthers prejudice of any kind, it should not be continued. Bahá’u’lláh identifies reward and punishment as the twin pillars on which the structure of world stability and order is sustained (1971, p. 219). It is also the process where the child develops positive and negative feelings about attitudes and behaviors. Over time, value systems develop which can guide the child to a happy and productive life. Without the proper rewards and punishments, many children will grow into adults with confused lives, no goals and little meaning. The responsibility for training children to develop healthy values is very important, and its neglect is a cause of the breakdown of our social order in this day. Both reward and punishment are needed to uphold the structure; one without the other will not hold it. We are coming from a tradition of using punitive measures to keep and develop order. Punishment without encouragement and an indication of what ought to be done, or reward and praise given indiscriminately without a standard, are not effective. Praise and rewards judiciously given, are more effective than punishment.

The children who are at the head of their class must receive premiums. They must be encouraged and when one of them shows good advancement, for their further developments they must be praised and encouraged therein. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, 1916, p. 142)

Punishment is more effective when it is just and discharged in the spirit of love. Therefore, it is important to administer a punishment before you become vengeful. Shoghi Effendi writes about the need for discipline, the nature of children, and the goal of every education.

With regard to the statement attributed to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and which you have quoted in your letter regarding a "problem child"; these statements of the master, however, true in their substance, should never be given a literal interpretation. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá could have never meant that a child should be left to himself entirely free. In fact Bahá’í education, just like any other system of education is based on the assumption that there are certain natural deficiencies in every child, no matter how gifted, which his educators, whether his parents, school masters, or his spiritual guides and receptors to endeavor to remedy. Discipline of sort, whether physical or moral, or intellectual, is indeed indispensable, and no training can be said to be complete and fruitful if it disregards this element. The child when born is far from being perfect. It is not only helpless but actually imperfect, and even is naturally inclined towards evil. He should be trained so his natural inclinations harmonized, adjusted and controlled, and if necessary suppressed or regulated, so as to insure his healthy physical and moral development. Bahá’í's parents cannot simply adopt an attitude of non-resistance towards their children, particularly those who are unruly and violent by nature. It is not even sufficient that they should pray on their behalf. Rather they should endeavor to inculcate, gently and patiently, in their youthful minds such principles and teachings of the cause with such tactful and loving care as would enable them to become "true sons of God" and develop into loyal and intelligent citizens of His Kingdom. This is the high purpose which Bahá'u'lláh himself has clearly defined as the chief goal of every education. (Cited in Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, 1977, p. 65-66)

Both good and bad exist in people, but if left on their own, the lower nature will triumph. Only through training and effort can the higher nature become dominant. Teachers can assist the higher nature in its development by enabling success in this area, raising levels of aspiration and encouraging healthier self-concepts to children.

If a pupil is told that his intelligence is less than his fellow pupils, it is a very great drawback and handicap to his progress. He must be encouraged to advance, by the statement, "you are most capable and if you endeavor you will attain the highest degree." (‘Abdu’l-Bahá 1930, p. 533-5)

Methods of Instruction What method of instructing students is most effective for learning? The Bahá’í writings mention several forms of instruction directly and others indirectly.

Lectures are very essential for they give a wonderful picture of the subject matter. But it is not sufficient to have a picture; the friends should deepen their knowledge and this can be achieved if, together with the lectures, there are study classes and seminar work carried on by the same lecturer. (Shoghi Effendi, 1932, p. 3-4)

God has given man the eye of investigation by which he may see and recognize truth. He has endowed man with ears that he may discover things for himself. This is his endowment and equipment for the investigation of reality. Man is not intended to see through the eyes of another, hear through another's ears nor comprehend with another's brain. Each human creature has individual endowment, power and responsibility in the creative plan of God. Therefore, depend on your own reason and judgement and adhere to the outcome of your own investigation; otherwise, you will be bitterly submerged in the sea of ignorance and deprived of all the bounties of God. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, 1971, p. 75-76)

Shoghi Effendi also supports the use of workshops (1949, p. 2 ) and encourages the use of meditation.

Through meditation doors of deeper knowledge and inspiration may be opened. (1948a, p. 3)

‘Abdu’l-Bahá talks about the value of speech and questioning.

Most ideas must be taught through speech, not by book-learning. One child must question the other concerning those things and the other child must give the answer. In this way - they will make great progress. For example, mathematics must also be taught in the form of questions and answers. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, 1918)

Many teachers use this approach with great success. Both the questioner and the one questioned learn quickly from this method and each student is given the needed individual attention and helped to develop responsibility and knowledge. Example is a potent factor in teaching. Children learn what they live, especially in the development of values and attitudes. If a good example is absent in the learning environment, development will be hampered. It is important that one "know his own self, and know those things which lead to loftiness or to baseness, to shame or to honor, to affluence or poverty," (Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, 1971). ‘Abdu’l-Bahá identifies four criteria for the acquisition of knowledge: 1. senses, 2. intellect or reason, 3. traditional or scriptural criterion, and 4. inspiration. He states that all available human criteria are erroneous and defective, but that by using all four together one could be more sure his findings were correct (1922, p. 48-9). Fear has been abused in our society and classrooms, but it does not mean that it cannot be a valuable element in education. Fear is a negative word in our society, but it has a positive value. We all operate on fear and should recognize and use this knowledge for our betterment, not our destruction.

The fear of God hath ever been the prime factor in the education of His creatures. (1969, p. 27)

III-100. PRINCIPLES[edit]

a. prepare minds and hearts to receive truth: SW VII:15

b. material and divine education at the same time: SW VII:15; SW XIV:2, 42-45

c. standard universal system of instruction: SW IX:9; SW XIII:7 1) same curriculum for daughters and sons: Bahá'í Education:#82, 33-34; SW V:7, 101; PUP:175

d. organization is necessary: SW IX:8; SWAB:#124, 143 1) school must be a place of utmost discipline and order: SWAB:#111, 137 2) definite courses should be given along the different phases of the Bahá'í Faith: on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, in Centers of Bahá'í Learning, #20, p. 8 3) if this activity is well organized, rest thou assured that it will yield great results: 'Abdu'l-Baha, Bahá'í Education, #104, p. 42

e. joy and enthusiasm: SW IX:8; SW XIII:7; SW XIV:1

f. systematic training to further development, insight, and spiritual receptivity: 'Abdu'l-Baha in Stuttgart on 4/28/1913, in SW VII:15, pp. 141-144; BW IX, p. 543

g. thorough instruction: SWAB:#111, 137

h. do not hold classes during the time of prayer of other religions which would prevent children from taking part in religious fellowship: SWAB:#125, 144

i. children of nonbelievers are admissible to classes with children of believers: SWAB:#125, 144

j. if few students then only one class: SWAB:#125, 144

k. growth and development depend upon powers of intellect and reason and not on age: SWAB:#121, 142

l. education of girls takes precedence over education of boys; SW III:3, 4; SW V:7, 101; SW XIV:9, 267-268; TAB:III:577

m. encourage students to make greatest progress in the shortest span of time: 'Abdu'l-Baha, Bahá'í Education, #74, pp. 28-29

n. each child devote extreme diligence to the acquisition of learning, according to his own tastes and inclinations and the degree of his capacity and powers: Shoghi Effendi, Bahá'í Education, #121, pp. 49-50

o. firmness, steadfastness, perseverance, firmness will undoubtedly lead to good results: 'Abdu'l-Baha, Bahá'í Education, #104, p. 42 1) the more ye persevere in this most important task, the more ye will witness the confirmations of God: 'Abdu'l-Baha, Baha;i Education, #71, p. 27

p. teach elementary sciences in nursery, so children learn in play, amusement, in speech, through questions and answers: 'Abdu'l-Baha in Stuttgart, 4/28/1913, in SW VII:15, pp. 141-144

q. encourage and praise children at head of class, give premiums: 'Abdu'l-Baha in Stuttgart, 4/28/1913, in SW VII:15, pp. 141-144

r. do not teach facts and details children cannot speak of openly with companions: 'Abdu'l-Baha to Miss Ethel J. Rosenberg, 2/3/1901, in SW VII:15, pp. 141-144

s. use intelligence to know when to teach child: 'Abdu'l-Baha to Miss Ethel J. Rosenberg, 2/3/1901, in SW VII:15, pp. 141-144

III-200. REQUIREMENTS OF TEACHERS[edit]

a. resourcefulness and preparation to meet every emergency: SW IX:9, 97-104; SW XIII:7, 189

b. study child psychology and aptitude of children so can teach what each is suited to and not waste time: 'Abdu'l-Baha in DMAS 10/18/1914, in SW VII:15, pp. 141-144; SW XIII:7; SW XIV:1, 1-3; SW XVII:2, p. 55

c. if teacher proves that scholars are advancing no onlooker has the right to object to his system or question his wisdom and allege that he wastes the scholars' time: SW IX:8

d. firmness and steadfastness, vigilance and attention, perseverance: SW IX:8; SW XIII:7; SWAB:#124, 143-144

e. well-grounded in the science of pedagogy: 'Abdu'l-Baha in DMAS 10/18/1914, in SW VII:15, pp. 141-144; SW XVII:2, p. 55

f. humble, sweet, companionable, loving and not opinionated, austere, bigoted, or jealous of powers superior to their own: SW XIV:1

g. must treat children as if they were the children of Baha'u'llah: SW IX:7

h. must treat children as the spiritual children of 'Abdu'l-Baha: SW IX:8; SW XIII:7, 171-172; SWAB:#120, 141; PUP:54,92; Shoghi Effendi, Bahá'í Education, #120, p. 49

i. faithful to the Covenant: Baha'u'llah in Bahá'í Education, #28, p. 7

j. teacher of love, trains children in rules and ways of His loving-kindness and the customs of the Kingdom: 'Abdu'l-Baha, in Bahá'í Education, #64, p. 24

k. instruction of children is as the work of a loving gardener, especially instruction in Bahá'í obligations and conduct: SWAB:#123, 143

l. must be a instructor in learning and also doctor to the character of the child, remedy faults: SWAB:#103, 130

m. must be extremely modest, even-tempered, forbearing, and well bred, and she must be expert in the English language: 'Abdu'l-Baha in Bahá'í Education, #63, p. 20

n. teacher and system of teaching plays most important role in life: 'Abdu'l-Baha in DMAS 10/18/1914, in SW VII:15, pp. 141-144; SW XVII:2, p. 55

o. teacher of love in a school of unity: 'Abdu'l-Baha, Bahá'í Education, #64, p. 24

p. learned of the day must direct the people to acquire those branches of knowledge which are of use, that both the learned themselves and the generality of mankind may derive benefits therefrom. Such academic pursuits as begin and end in words alone have never been and will never be of any worth. The majority of Persia's learned doctors devote all their lives to the study of a philosophy the ultimate yield of which is nothing but words: TB:169

q. do not allow children to drink wine or alcoholic drinks: 'Abdu'l-Baha to Miss Ethel J. Rosenberg, 2/3/1901, in SW VII:15, pp. 141-144

r. teachers must be faithful, attracted, assured, educated and refined Bahá'ís: 'Abdu'l-Baha in DMAS 10/18/1914, in SW VII:15, pp. 141-144

III-300. METHODS[edit]

a. do not teach details and facts which children cannot speak of openly with their companions: SW VII:15, 141-144

b. teach in speech, with children asking questions and giving answers: SW VII:15; BW IX, p. 543

c. explain all things in the easiest manner possible: SW VII:15

d. moderate number of subjects, do not overburden the mind: SW XIII:6, 144

e. classes at regular intervals: SW IX:8

f. total of six hours a day for study and recitation: SW IX:8; SW XIII:7; SW XIV:1

g. too much study before maturity blunts intelligence, harms the brain: SW XIV:1

h. specific method for study of the Faith practiced among Persian Bahá'ís and recommended by Fadil-i-Mazandarani: look up references to topic in texts, write paper and present to class, compose composite article from all the papers: SW XIV:9, 278

i. moderation in frequency of changing teachers: SWAB:#125, 144

j. as regards differences among children, do as ye deem advisable: SWAB:#125, 144 1) teach what each child is suited to and do not waste time by teaching what does not suit child: SW XIII:7; SW XIV:1, 1-3 2) teach each according to capacity: PUP:108

k. They should be taught, in play, some letters and a little reading--as is done in certain countries where they fashion letters and words out of sweets and give them to the child: 'Abdu'l-Baha, Bahá'í Education, #78, p. 30

l. primarily speak with words as mild as milk...with utmost leniency and forbearance: TB:172,173

m. stimulate the students to proceed in their studies privately once they return home...the habit of studying the Cause constantly, for the more we read the Words the more will the truth they contain be revealed to us: on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, in Centers of Bahá'í Learning, #20, p. 8

n. students must show the results of their study in their deportment and deeds; otherwise they have wasted their lives: 'Abdu'l-Baha, in The Importance of Deepening our Knowledge and Understanding of the Faith, #66, p. 18 1) deeds exert greater influence than words: TB:57 2) pure and holy deeds, through a virtuous life and a goodly behaviour: TB:86,88,89,120,126,131-132,138,178,222, 3) commit not such deeds as would cause My loved ones on earth to lament: TB:198;238 4) In this Most Great Revelation goodly deeds and a praiseworthy character are regarded as the hosts of God: TB:256 5) The essence of faith is fewness of words and abundance of deeds; he whose words exceed his deeds, know verily his death is better than his life: TB:156 6) whose deeds agree with their words, whose outward behaviour conforms with their inner life: KI:224-225 7) The fruits of the tree of man have ever been and are goodly deeds and a praiseworthy character. Withhold not these fruits from the heedless: ESW:26

o. for children explain in easiest manner possible: 'Abdu'l-Baha in DMAS 6/16/1914, in SW VII:15, pp. 141-144

III-400. DISCIPLINE[edit]

a. reward and encourage children at head of class: SW VII:15 1) reward and encourage children who are doing well: SW XIII:7; BW IX, p. 543 2) praise and applaud child and cheer his heart whenever he has done well: SWAB:#95, 125 (counsel to mothers) 3) heartening and encouraging the child of the utmost importance: SWAB:#111, 137

b. through admonition and explanation, good counsel and education: Baha'u'llah, Bahá'í Education, #10, p. 3 1) counsels to child, be patient, confident that efforts are being sustained and guided through the confirmations of Baha'u'llah: on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Bahá'í Education, #134, p. 54 2) parents must counsel children over a long period: 'Abdu'l-Baha, Bahá'í Education, #08, 134

c. utmost discipline and order: SWAB:#111, 137

d. if child is in school with heedless ones, take him away for they will try to lead him astray: keep him at home until he is assured and then send him to a different school: SW IX:8

e. root of wrongdoing is ignorance: SWAB:#111, 136

f. counsel and punish child if the slightest undesirable trait should manifest itself: SWAB:#95, 125 (counsel to mothers) 1) for punishment use means based on reason, even slight verbal chastisement if necessary but not permissible to strike or vilify a child: SWAB:#95, 125 2) not permissible to strike or vilify a child; blows or verbal abuse will totally pervert a child's character: SWAB:#95, 125

g. If a pupil is told that his intelligence is less than his fellow pupils, it is a very great drawback and handicap to his progress. He must be encouraged to advance by the statement, 'You are the most capable, and if you endeavor, you will attain the highest degree': PUP:76-77 1) child must not be oppressed or censured because it is undeveloped; it must be patiently trained: PUP:180-181 2) must not be warped and hindered in its development. The ignorant must not be restricted by censure and criticism: PUP:40

h. The Manifestation of God is a perfect example of real obedience. Like him we must sacrifice every thing, every plan, every longing and ideal must be given up completely to the will of God. We must look to God for all we desire, all we wish to attain. The will of God must work out its purpose in us. Our human will must be laid down in sacrifice and love. Abdul-Baha has given everything in sacrifice and obedience to the will of God… All our soul powers, our outward self, our inward self must be consecrated to God in service and sacrifice. Even life must be given if necessary. If we have not reached this station of nothingness we have not attained to real obedience to the will of God. A pupil must submit entirely to the will of the teacher. This is true sacrifice, true obedience. Real obedience and real sacrifice are identical, they are absolute readiness to follow and, perform whatever you are called upon to do in the Cause of God. When you really love God you will be willing to sacrifice everything and submit yourself entirely to His will. Consecrate yourself wholly to Him. His will is everything. His service is paramount. (Words of ‘Abdul-Baha: Ten Days in the Light of Acca, p. 48; in SW VIII:6, p. 60)

1) Every parent who is a believer in the Blessed Beauty has the responsibility to conduct herself or himself in such a way as to elicit the spontaneous obedience to parents to which the Teachings attach so high a value. (The Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 157, 2000, p. 9)

2) In any case, the House of Justice points out that parents are responsible for their children and should make them behave when they attend Bahá'í meetings. If children persist in creating a disturbance they should be taken out of the meeting. This is not merely necessary to ensure the properly dignified conduct of Bahá'í meetings but is an aspect of the training of children in courtesy, consideration for others, reverence, and obedience to their parents. (14 October 1982 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada; in The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 447; Lights of Guidance, #506, p. 151)

3) The parents have the inescapable duty to educate their children -- but not vice versa; the children have the duty to obey their parents -- the parents do not obey the children…(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of New Zealand, December 28, 1980; in Lights of Guidance, #730, p. 218; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, p. 413; vol. II, p. 384)

4) "The parents must exert every effort to rear their offspring to be religious, for should the children not attain this greatest of adornments, they will not obey their parents, which in a certain sense means that they will not obey God. Indeed, such children will show no consideration to anyone, and will do exactly as they please." (Bahá'u'lláh: Bahá'í Education, a compilation of the Universal House of Justice; in Lights of Guidance, #763, p. 228; cited in letter of the Universal House of Justice to the Persian believers, dated March 1997)

5)"We have enjoined upon every son to serve his father. Thus have We decreed this command in the Book." (Bahá'u'lláh: Family Life, a compilation of the Universal House of Justice; in Lights of Guidance, #764, p. 228)

6)"The father must always endeavour to educate his son and to acquaint him with the heavenly teachings. He must give advice and exhort him at all times, teach him praiseworthy conduct and character, enable him to receive training at school and to be instructed in such arts and sciences as are deemed useful and necessary. In brief, let him instill into his mind the virtues and perfections of the world of humanity. Above all he should continually call to his mind the remembrance of God so that this throbbing veins and arteries may pulsate with the love of God. "The son, on the other hand, must show forth the utmost obedience towards his father, and should conduct himself as a humble and a lowly servant. Day and night he should seek diligently to ensure the comfort and welfare of his loving father and to secure his good-pleasure. He must forgo his own rest and enjoyment and constantly strive to bring gladness to the hearts of his father and mother, that thereby he may attain the good-pleasure of the Almighty and be graciously aided by the hosts of the unseen." (‘Abdu’l-Baha, in Family Life, a compilation of the Universal House of Justice; in Lights of Guidance, #766, p. 229)

7)"If thou wouldst show kindness and consideration to thy parents so that they may fell generally pleased, this would also please Me, for parents must be highly respected and it is essential that they feel content, provided they deter thee not from gaining access to the Threshold of the Almighty, nor keep thee back from walking in the way of the Kingdom. Indeed it behoveth them to encourage and spur thee on in this direction." (‘Abdu’l-Baha, in Family Life, a compilation of the Universal House of Justice; in Lights of Guidance, #767, p. 228)

8)"We have caused to return to thy home as a token of Our Mercy unto thy mother, inasmuch as We found her overwhelmed with sorrow. We have enjoined you in the Book 'to worship no one but God and to show kindness to your parents'."[ Qur'án 46:15] Thus hath the one true God spoken and the decree hath been fulfilled by the Almighty, the All-Wise. Therefore We have caused thee to return unto her and unto thy sister, that your mother's eyes may thereby be cheered, and she may be of the thankful. "Say, O My people! Show honour to your parents and pay homage to them. This will cause blessings to descend upon you from the clouds of the bounty of your Lord, the Exalted, the Great. "When We learned of her sadness, We directed thee to return unto her, as a token of mercy unto thee from Our presence, and as an admonishment for others. "Beware lest ye commit that which would sadden the hearts of your fathers and mothers. Follow ye the path of Truth which indeed is a straight path. Should anyone give you a choice between the opportunity to render a service to Me and a service to them, choose ye to serve them, and let such service be a path leading you to Me. This is My exhortation and command unto thee. Observe therefore that which thy Lord, the Mighty, the Gracious,hath prescribed unto thee." (Bahá'u'lláh, in Family Life, a compilation of the Universal House of Justice; in Lights of Guidance, #768, p. 229-230)

9) "It is often difficult for us to do things because they are so very different from what we are used to, not because the thing itself is particularly difficult. With you, and indeed most Bahá'ís, who are now, as adults, accepting this glorious Faith, no doubt some of the ordinances, like fasting and daily prayer, are hard to understand and obey at first. But we must always think that these things are given to all men for a thousand years to come. For Bahá'í children who see these things practiced in the home, they will be as natural and necessary a thing as going to church on Sunday was to the more pious generation of Christians. Bahá'u'lláh would not have given us these things if they would not greatly benefit us, and, like children who are sensible enough to realize their father is wise and does what is good for them, we must accept to obey these ordinances even though at first we may not see any need for them. As we obey them we will gradually come to see in ourselves the benefits they confer." (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, March 16, 1949; in Lights of Guidance, #1150, pp. 342-343)

III-500. WARNINGS TO PARENTS AND TEACHERS[edit]

a. if child is in school with heedless ones, take him away for they will try to lead him astray; keep him at home until he is assured and then send him to a different school: SW IX:8

b. do not fondle and embrace and spoil children: 'Abdu'l-Baha in DMAS 9/2/1913, in SW VII:15, pp. 141-144

c. protect children from temptations and vices: 'Abdu'l-Baha in DMAS 10/18/1914, in SW VII:15, pp. 141-144

d. child's character will be totally perverted if he is subjected to blows or verbal abuse: SWAB:#95, 125

e. education and training of children is very difficult to undertake and harder to succeed in rendering: SWAB:#106, 133

f. children especially must be taught: PUP:317