By: Swami Kriyananda
One of the greatest predicaments we face in our modern society is the education that we give our young. Should we cram our children’s heads with facts, or educate them for success as human beings?
We teach children how to solve problems in mathematics, but give them nothing to help them solve the problems they face in their personal lives. We flood them with a tide of facts, then tell them, as we send them out the door with their diplomas, “It’s up to you to figure out what it all means.”
The modern age is addicted to factual information. By “addiction” I mean that the fascination has reached abnormal proportions. It is necessary for us, now, to emphasise that facts by themselves cannot bestow wisdom. A blizzard of unsifted information offers no sense of direction, nor any knowledge of where one might go to find inner peace, poise, and a sense of life’s deeper meaning and joyous possibilities.
We forget that the discovery of some new fact concerning a galaxy millions of light years away has very little actual bearing on our lives here on earth. Knowledge, on the other hand, of how to get along with others, and how to be happy, has a great deal of relevance.
Spiritual and moral laws, like the laws of physics, never change. The excitement of scientific discovery has captured our imagination, but the laws that rule human conduct remain unalterable. It is the particular genius of ancient philosopher-scientists that they expressed these laws in their clearest, most practical form.
It is time to approach science from a fresh point of view. Paramhansa Yogananda offered an amazingly simple answer to modern scientists who claim that all life exists only as an outgrowth of inanimate matter. Yogananda replied, “Matter, too, is conscious, however dimly so.”
Yogananda also suggested that the effect of moral values on human nature needs to be tested, as if in the laboratory, by observing their actual effects on people. He suggested that spiritual communities are ideal places for conducting such observation. We have discovered that “children who learn to love, love to learn.”
Teachers and parents may complain that if we spend too much time teaching children these personal skills, they will be left behind in the race to acquire the information that will fit them to compete in the job market after they leave school. But this is false reasoning.
Children who learn to concentrate, to increase their awareness, and to channel negative emotions into constructive outlets are able to handle all the factual information they’re taught in school far more effectively.
There is another important dimension that needs to be introduced into schools. Children are made to study the composition of the atom. The most important question of all, however, is: “How can one find happiness?” Schools, Yogananda said, should above all be treated as laboratories for solving this most basic of human questions.
Primarily, what is needed is a system of education that will prepare children for meeting life’s challenges, and not only fit them for employment or for intellectual pursuits. And we need to see the whole of life, beyond the years spent in school, as education.
For if indeed, as most people deeply believe, life does have an ultimate purpose and meaning, then its goal must be to educate us ever more fully to that meaning. And the true goal of school must be to help prepare us for that lifelong learning process.
Discourse by Swamiji, “Opening to God’s Grace” on Nov 17 November, Bhaidas Hall, Vile Parle, 4:30 pm. All are welcome. 9820322313 / 9819015539, firstname.lastname@example.org
My heart breaks as I update this blog to say that Tim Kretzmann, my dear husband for 34 years, and beloved father of our 3 grown children, died of cancer on August 6th of this year.
So much that I have written here about spiritualizing family life…and it all remains true…But what was largely left unsaid was the beauty of having such a loving, calm, deeply devoted presence in our home. Every family has their own journey…I was blessed to have Tim in my life to help me in this journey. Indeed, I believe it was an important sacred task in his lifetime to raise the 3 children in God.
Sometimes I do feel his loving, saintly blessings guiding me… Will this continue to be so? I do deeply hope so…
Our married daughter is due to give birth in a few weeks…so the cycle continues. Our hearts will embrace this little one and healing will come. Yet there will always be the bittersweet feeling wishing that Tim could be here to share in it all. And yet some things just were not destined to be…and so we must find peace in God’s bigger picture even if we don’t fully understand it now. Sometimes I think I understand parts of it…but then my heart breaks anyway, so my journey now is to find peace, anyway, joy, anyway, and love, anyway…
If any part of our journey written in the pages can help you in your own, then I am grateful to have served you in this way. Love one another… Love inspires, and uplifts, and Love lives on…
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Tribute to Tim Kretzmann, made by our youngest son, David Timothy, age 19:
Interview with Tim in 2010
Have a blessed Christmas –
From our family to yours…
Love in Him,
Mary & Tim
PS. Peter, in the maroon shirt, is our son…
The Christ Child’s Asleep – song by Swami Kriyananda
My Mom sent these to me – I just had to pass them along
I’d love to hear your comments!
A lot of people look for this article that I wrote some time ago – so I thought I would post it again here in this scribd format