After immediate family, and the closest of friends, the most important people in our lives are often ours teachers. How much we are indebted to them. If we have been fortunate enough to have special teachers – who saw something in us that others hadn’t seen – and nurtured it in us – we remember and treasure them all our lives.
Abdu’l Baha states:
Among the greatest of all services that can possibly be rendered by man to Almighty God is the education and training of children …
The education and training of children is among the most meritorious acts of humankind and draweth down the grace and favor of the All-Merciful, for education is the indispensable foundation of all human excellence …
Of the effects of education Bahá’u’lláh observes:
Man is the supreme Talisman. Lack of a proper education hath, however, deprived him of that which he doth inherently possess. … 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.
Abdu’l Baha identifies universal education as a core principle of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings:
And among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is the promotion of education. Every child must be instructed in sciences as much as is necessary. If the parents are able to provide the expenses of this education, it is well, otherwise the community must provide the means for the teaching of that child.
Abdu’l Baha notes that there are three kinds of education:
… education is of three kinds: material, human, and spiritual. Material education is concerned with the progress and development of the body, through gaining its sustenance, its material comfort and ease. This education is common to animals and man.
Human education signifies civilization and progress—that is to say, government, administration, charitable works, trades, arts and handicrafts, sciences, great inventions and discoveries and elaborate institutions, which are the activities essential to man as distinguished from the animal.
Divine education is that of the Kingdom of God: it consists in acquiring divine perfections, and this is true education; for in this state man becomes the focus of divine blessings, the manifestation of the words, “Let Us make man in Our image, and after Our likeness.” This is the goal of the world of humanity.
Thank you to all my teachers.
Image Credits: By Rex Pe from Savannah, Georgia, USA (student teacher Uploaded by Adrignola) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
(This article is the 78th in a series of what I hope will be 200 articles in 200 days for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh. The anniversary is being celebrated around the world on 21 and 22 October 2017, The articles are simply my personal reflections on Bahá’u’lláh’s life and work. Any errors or inadequacies in these articles are solely my responsibility.)