Our method of raising children is not to tame and terrorize them into developing habits; only the few habits necessary for daily life should be instilled. The key in upbringing is to give the young the instruments they can use to understand the place and significance of every phenomenon in their life and to develop a clear system of values: First, there is the importance of the group, above it there is the importance of the Creator, and below it everything that leads to this. The rest doesn’t have any connection to free will and should be utilized as dictated by a simple decision of how essential it is to life.
Thus, a child’s surroundings should be divided into two parts: 1) living necessities, and 2) everything that relates to spirituality, the importance of which we wish to increase by way of our free will with the help of the group, unity, and studies. This system is the priority for him or her. A child must constantly be in it in order to find themselves as the most important thing in the world which must be realized.
Therefore, we cannot outline for the children the norms of behavior for their entire life since this method doesn’t work any longer for the new generation. They need to receive the tools that will remain with them for life. They will act by employing these devices, deciding “pro” or “con” each step of the way, every moment in their lives.
Hence, we are passing along the method, but habits should be cultivated in the group. The more time a child spends in the group, the better he or she understands its influence on him or her, senses its response, engages in it, and evolves.
There a youngster finds connection, strength, support, and the field for work. There a child advances, and if he or she fails at some point, then they employ study and prayer. Having gained the forces to rise, they fall yet again, and this process can occur only in the group. With the rest of the world, a child may interact as necessary.
These principles should be assimilated within children as much as possible while we raise them. Part of it will enter them as habitual behavior which depends on each child’s personality and the peculiarities of their souls, while the rest will be acquired during work in the group. However, in order for it to stay with them, children must know how to live, starting with the first years of their lives.
After all, it is the “human” part in the new generation that has to undergo transformation, not the animate one. Previously, all of us were as animals, and that is why there weren’t any specific changes.
Children used to receive education that was sufficient for life. The failure in upbringing can be explained by the fact that in the new generation, a “human” part of our desire is developing and changing constantly. Hence, nobody understands what is happening with the children and what it is that they want.
They don’t understand it either. The human part that is developing in the young generation requires a method of correction. If we give this method to this part of man and provide his animate part with habitual behavior acquired in childhood that will become his second nature, thereby, we will give him everything that’s needed.
He will govern both parts on his own. For the animate part, he will have a set of habits, and he will have the method to work with the human part.
From the Talk on Education 2/18/2011