…the security of civilization itself still rests on the growing willingness of one generation to invest in the welfare of the next and future generations. [Paper 84.7.27, page 941.8]
…man possesses the power, by controlling the educational training of the younger generation, greatly to modify the evolutionary course of civilization. [Paper 81:6.24, page 909.5]
It is a fact that a lifetime truly flies away. Twenty years ago, those that are now-a-days middle-aged people were young, and in twenty years ahead they will already be part of the so-called third age. But what responsibility lies underneath such a pretty obvious fact? Well, a responsibility of utmost importance: to prepare today´s children, teenagers, and youth generations to be the torchbearers of the spiritual light for humanity. That is something every committed reader of The Urantia Book understands well. And, of course, it does not happen by an act of magic; neither is it a process that takes place naturally. It is rather an endeavor of sowing the right causes in order to reap coherent consequences.
…each succeeding generation of youth must receive anew its education. The superior qualities of civilization—scientific, philosophic, and religious—are not transmitted… by direct inheritance… only by the enlightened conservation of social inheritance. [Paper 68:0.2, page 763.2]
In that sense, “The purpose of all education should be to foster and further the supreme purpose of life, the development of a majestic and well-balanced personality… the work of teaching youth how to engage in life planning and character progression” (195:10:17, 2086.3), by providing them, in early life, with favorable conditions—“…liberty…restrained by love, motivated by loyalty…, directed by the intelligent discipline of wisdom” (177:2.7, 1923.1), that will enable the development and promotion of real individual and social evolution. Only this type of education, “assisting the child to win the battle of life…” (84:7.26, 941.7), has the power of truly breaking-down the vicious cycle of unconsciousness spiritual neglect that repeats itself generation after generation, colored by traumas and low family patterns that, when not overcome and worked on consciously by parents, arise unconsciously in their children, as a never ending cycle.
Therefore, to raise and educate children should be a process undertaken by human beings who understand what they are doing! And, of course, the family and the home play the most important role in it all. This idea is constantly reinforced in several passages of The Urantia Book, explaining to us, again and again, that “The family as an educational institution must be maintained” (82:0.3, 913.3) because of its capacity of passing, from one generation to another, a heritage that is not only social, and of moral values, but also spiritual. It is in the family where the concepts of “the Universal Father and his universe children” are built; where “ethics of… brotherhood may be grasped”; where the “lessons of patience, altruism, tolerance, and forbearance” are given (84:7.28, 941.9); where “the experiential training of all ascenders” (45:6.4, 516.2) takes place and where we learn to love God, according to the love we have received from our own parents. (2:5.9, 40.1) It is true indeed that “…a child is wholly dependent on his parents and the associated home life for all his early concepts of everything intellectual, social, moral, and even spiritual since the family represents to the young child all that he can first know of either human or divine relationships… The child’s subsequent life is… conditioned by these social and spiritual relationships of the home…” (177:2.5, 1922.3)
Consequently, it is essential to awaken and realize that the task of educating children is an endeavor that has to start with oneself. “…No stream will rise any higher than its source no matter what technique of pressure or directional control may be employed.” (81:6.27, 909.8) This crucial life mission also has to be based on sound moral values, faithful to a high level spiritual system of beliefs; “precept or even example is not lastingly influential”, “children are permanently impressed only by the loyalties of their adult associates.” (100:1.4, 1094.6) Children actually learn moral behavior by example because that has a true impact in child-rearing patterns, in their subconscious minds, and therefore in the way they will behave later on in life.
One day or another, every child will need to be “born again of the spirit.” Our guidance as adults towards children will be influential in facilitating this spiritual birth as the consequence of “a natural and normal growth of the recognition of supreme values with an enhancement of spiritual experience…” the product of “conscious effort and positive and individual determinations”—instead of an experience that involves pain and suffering or that is “accompanied by much anguish of spirit and marked by psychological perturbations.” (103:2.1, 1130.6) Of course we know that conflict and some suffering is always a part of human experience, but the process does not have to be unconscious. Instead, it could be an experience full of increasing awareness and lessons being assimilated because of our guidance and our role in educating children.
You may have thought about these ideas more than once. However, are you actually doing them? And if so, are you doing them in the proper manner as to truly raise spiritually aware and responsible human beings in a cosmic and spiritual sense? Are you actually being a true light of spiritual consciousness to your children as a parent, grandparent, godparent, aunt, uncle, nannie, teacher, pediatrician, psychologist, social worker, or whomever you are that has contact with children on a daily basis? Are you honestly being responsible for sowing in your children such values as faith, trust, peace, teamwork, service, solidarity, courage, and many other such things? Are you consciously inspiring them, creating in them life-long impressions that are positive and enlightened, impressions that will bear fruit when they grow up?
Whatever the answer, if this marvelous task appeals to your most altruistic sense of duty—the one of leaving to your children, our children, enough inner resources to allow them to work closer to the manifestation of the age of light and life on our planet—then please consider joining our efforts.
Bearing in mind everything said so far, and giving way to what each individual grown-up could give of his or herself to the future generation, the Education Committee of Urantia Association International has summarized some important ideas, as well as proposing some concrete actions that we all could do in order to educate the younger generation in the teachings of The Urantia Book to equip them to become the future torchbearers of spiritual light.
- Contribute to the maintenance of a critical mass of spiritually aware young people. “Civilization can hardly progress when the majority of the youth of any generation devote their interests and energies to the materialistic pursuits of the sensory or outer world.” (111:4.3, 1220.2) And again: “Any civilization is in jeopardy when three quarters of its youth enter materialistic professions and devote themselves to the pursuit of the sensory activities…. Civilization is in danger when youth neglect to interest themselves in ethics, sociology, eugenics, philosophy, the fine arts, religion, and cosmology” (111.4.4, 1220.3) producing therefore “...a standstill in spiritual development and the safeguarding of the home institution.” (81:6.25, 909.6)
- Empowering ourselves to become torchbearers. “Social inheritance enables man to stand on the shoulders of all who have preceded him, and who have contributed ought to the sum of culture and knowledge.” (81:6.23, 909.4) “The ideals of one generation carve out the channels of destiny for immediate posterity. The quality of the social torchbearers will determine whether civilization goes forward or backward… [and] the character trend of the succeeding generation. The moral and spiritual momentum of a race or a nation largely determines the cultural velocity of that civilization.” (81:6.26, 909.7)
- Developing true loving and tender relationships towards children, in order to train them to become loving human beings. A child that does not feel loved and appreciated cannot easily learn anything. “Love…is the supreme reality of the universe when bestowed by all-wise beings, but it is a dangerous and oftentimes semiselfish trait as it is manifested in the experience of mortal parents…” and thus it must be “…admonished by wisdom and guided by intelligence.” (177:2.3, 1922.1) Nevertheless, “As time passes, fathers and their children will love each other more, and thus will be brought about a better understanding of the love of the Father in heaven for his children on earth.” (142:2.2, 1597.2)
- Increasing and enriching the quality of family experiences we provide to our children; “…home building should be the center and essence of all educational effort” (84:0.1, 931.1), “As are the families of the race or nation, so is its society. If the families are good, the society is likewise good.” (84:7.1, 939.4) The steps that cause the human soul to grow cannot occur in the absence of others. We have the duty to train our children to become citizens of the universe, sons and daughters of God. “A tremendous responsibility rests upon all earthly fathers so to live and order their homes that the word father becomes worthily enshrined in the minds and hearts of all growing children.” (177:2.7, 1923.1) More-so-ever, “the consciousness of sonship with God should quicken the entire life service of every man, woman, and child who has become the possessor of such a mighty stimulus to all the inherent powers of a human personality.” (178:1.13, 1931.4)
- Preparing ourselves to answer the many questions children ask about life thoughtfully and responsibly, relating them to the true life purpose of feeding their souls spiritually. Paper 123 tells us: “the most valuable part of Jesus’ early education was secured from his parents in answer to his thoughtful and searching inquiries… Joseph never failed to do his full duty in taking pains and spending time answering the boy’s numerous questions… while Joseph and Mary could not always answer his questions, they never failed fully to discuss his inquiries and in every other possible way to assist him in his efforts to reach a satisfactory solution of the problem which his alert mind had suggested.” (123:2.3, 1357.7)
- Trusting in the capacity of youngsters to undertake this responsibility. This point implies also the trust in the inner guidance these children will be given, not only by the presence of the Father within them—their Thought Adjusters—but also by the different corps of angels. Such is the case of the “epochal angels… entrusted with the oversight and direction of the affairs of each generation” (114:6.5, 1255.4), as well as “the religious guardians… endeavor to maintain the ideals… of moral values from one epoch to another… seeking to translate from one generation to another the imperishable values of the old and passing forms into the new and therefore less stabilized patterns of thought and conduct.” (114:6.7, 1255.6) This guidance, of course, will also be led by the Spirit of Truth “…who is designed to live in man and, for each new generation, to restate the Jesus message so that every new group of mortals to appear upon the face of the earth shall have a new and up-to-date version of the gospel, just such personal enlightenment and group guidance as will prove to be an effective solvent for man’s ever-new and varied spiritual difficulties.” (194:2.1, 2060.6)
- Consciously embracing a program to transmit the teachings of The Urantia Book to the younger generations so that we would “…dare to espouse the Master’s program,… so that “thousands of apparently indifferent youths would rush forward to enlist in such a spiritual undertaking, and they would not hesitate to go all the way through with this great adventure.” (195:10:10, 2085.2)
- Including children and teenagers in different Urantia events, meetings, and conferences held in local, regional, and international environments, for the “…gospel of the kingdom belongs …even to the little children.” (191:6.2, 2044.3)
- Providing enough quality material based on the teachings of The Urantia Book, to support the education of children and families, using the methods and patterns in which Jesus taught his disciples and others; that is, always drawing out the best in each person and reinforcing their positive aspects, allowing self-esteem and self-value to grow within each of the individuals he made contact with—from the most humble one to the most cold-hearted and authoritative.
- Adapting the teachings to a friendly and attractive format for children and teenagers (using tools such as pictures and drawings, various kinds of visual information, informational graphics, mental maps and visual organizers.) “True religion… does not oppose the intelligent efforts of society to adapt its usages and adjust its institutions to new…conditions and cultural requirements.” (99:0.2, 1086.2) “…you must always make a difference in teaching so as to suit your presentation of truth to the minds and hearts before you.” (151:3.1, 1691.4)
- Compiling the material for children and teenagers, that might already exist, in an organized way and in different languages, and
- Creating new material in that sense.
- Enlisting collaborators and volunteers interested in working with children and teenagers in a variety of tasks such as administrative, organizational, educative, as well as hands-on experiences, facilitating workshops, dynamics, role-play games, and others.
- Raising funds for giving way to all of the above actions.
As a final thought, if we review the general principles, ideas, and actions that we have discussed, they all outline the opportunities to cause each child’s soul to grow, to actualize their inner potentials, to allow their Thought Adjusters to guide and enlighten their minds, so that they will listen to the Father’s presence within, as a necessary step to developing their divine projects and walk the actual mission and adventure of eternity that begins on this planet, becoming as well, when growing up, torchbearers for the next generation. It is up to each child to choose his or her way to pursue this path, making unique contributions that will enrich the experience of God as the Supreme Being. But someday, in part thanks to your guidance, these children could fuse with their Thought Adjusters and actually meet the Father in Paradise.
Therefore, if you believe you could contribute in some manner to this magnificence task ahead—or if you are already doing it—please do not hesitate to contact us at: ubforchildren[at]urantia-association[dot]org