A question I received: You are saying that the egoism of the young generation cannot be stopped: an 11-year old child can stab another child. Where is this going? What will happen in ten to fifteen years, when these 10-year-old children will be 20 years old?
My Answer: First of all, children don’t feel obligated to follow our laws because they cannot be punished. They cannot be brought to court because of their age. So what will happen? As a child grows older, the protective force grows in him, as well as fear, the need to live in the world as a grown-up. So, one thing that would help is if we treated them like grown-ups.
But in truth, our laws are not suitable for children. There should be legal regulations for every age group, and they should be separate for boys and for girls. We should know what to demand of them and how to punish them. They should see what the right form of behavior is according to the system of reward and punishment.
A child should know this – this is a true system of upbringing. It is a system that can work against the cruel animalistic nature of human beings and is able to form or create a real person. For each action, there should be a corresponding reaction. This is how a mother raises an infant: she gives him incentive for one thing and punishment for another.
This is how we have to mold the “clay.” And children will understand this, since they are “clay” that contains the desire to receive pleasure. We can influence this desire by telling it: if you take on this form, you will receive something sweet, and if you take on a different form, you will feel bitterness. This is how we can create a human being.
However, if we permit him to do anything he wants to and suggest negative forms of behavior, such as the ones children learn from cruel, disgusting games where people kill each other, and if this is what they see on the TV and the Internet and there is no punishment for this from the society, then what will be the result of this kind of upbringing? An adorable infant will grow to become a miserable child.
So, we must first educate the parents about the process of creating a system of upbringing for their children. Otherwise, the next generation will surely be even worse than the previous one.
(From the lesson on Baal HaSulam’s article, “The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose,” on 02.17.2009)
Watch the Lesson, "The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose" [55:02m]: Play Now | Download
Listen to the Lesson, "The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose" [55:02m]: Play Now | Download