“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.”
Bahá’ís see the young as the most precious treasure a community can have. In them are the promise and guarantee of the future. Yet, in order for this promise to be realised, children need to receive spiritual nourishment. In a world where the joy and innocence of childhood can be so easily overwhelmed by the aggressive pursuit of materialistic ends, the moral and spiritual education of children assumes vital importance.
The Bahá’í community at every level is highly sensitised to the need to respond to the spiritual aspirations of the young, and older youth are typically anxious to take responsibility for the development of those around them younger than themselves. Educational activities for children, then, are often among the first to multiply in a community.
Around the world Baha'is have been playing an increasingly important part in the training of teachers to conduct classes for the spiritual education of children. The materials being developed for use by the training institutes emphasise the acquisition of spiritual qualities, for example, truthfulness, generosity, purity of heart, and kindness, to name a few—which are considered attributes of God that are reflected in the mirror of the human heart. Year after year, the materials build on the understanding of these qualities and add lessons related to the history and the Writings of the Baha'i Faith. The goal is for the children to reach a stage in which they can understand and act upon the imperative to tend to their own spiritual development and contribute to the well-being of society.
The institutions of the Faith also pay a great deal of attention to the question of raising human resources to conduct children’s classes. In this regard, they dedicate significant resources to bringing into being and maintaining an effective system of coordination for the training of teachers, opening channels for the flow of guidance, educational materials, and learning to and from the grassroots.
Junior Youth Groups
“Although your realities are shaped by a broad diversity of circumstances, yet a desire to bring about constructive change and a capacity for meaningful service, both characteristic of your stage of life, are neither limited to any race or nationality, nor dependent upon material means. This bright period of youth you share is experienced by all—but it is brief, and buffeted by numerous social forces. How important it is, then, to strive to be among those who, in the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘plucked the fruit of life’.”
— The Universal House of Justice
Youth have played a vital role in Bahá’í history. The Báb Himself declared His mission when He was but twenty-five years old and so many among the band of His followers were in the prime of their youth when they embraced His Revelation. During the ministries of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, young people were at the forefront of efforts to proclaim the message of the new Faith and to share its teachings with others.
Today thousands of young Bahá’ís have arisen in each generation to respond to the call of Bahá’u’lláh. Their efforts are guided by the Head of the Bahá’í Faith—today, the Universal House of Justice—which encourages young Bahá’ís to draw on the enthusiasm characteristic of the period of youth and so make decisive contributions to the advancement of spiritual and material civilization. You may read a message of the Universal House of Justice addressed to the tens of thousands of young participants, and view a series of short films titled “To Serve Humanity”.