"Spirituality comes when we transform our barriers of love into carriers of love."


In the
LAP (Love-Appreciation-Power) of the Divine

Edge on Knowledge
Education through Inspiration not Indoctrination

Copyright 2003 by Shahriar Shahriari & Meher Amalsad



Laguna Beach, California, Sunday 5 p.m. Meher and Shahriar walking along the beach and talking with each other:

S: Meher, This is a tall order. I mean talk about effective techniques for religious education... Here, in North America, we are trying the same things as the home countries... And even though our teachings may seem the same, they really are not, are they?

M: Shahriar, a little boy who lost his father asked another boy who had lost his father a few years before. “How does New Year look to you after your father died?” And the other boy replied, “It looks the same, but it does not feel the same.” Likewise, our teaching style may look the same but it does not feel the same. The question is WHY?

S: Actually, it doesn't matter why. The old style was something that worked before, but it no longer does. If we try to find out why and then modify the old style, we are still trying to force something. What's important is to form a teaching style that could be relevant and also "feel" right. It could be similar to the old style, or it could be completely different.

I think this is a good exercise for us to do. Let's assume we were going to impart religious teachings to our children today, and let's assume this was the first time anybody ever did that. In other words, assume we would have no models to go by, and we had to start from scratch. So, how would you go about teaching?

M: Now we are talking about a teaching project. I believe how we “PROJECT this PROJECT” to our children will determine the success or failure of our endeavor. In other words, the FORM in which we use our knowledge will determine the strength and longevity of its PLAT-FORM. DO WE INFORM TO TRANS-FORM OR DE-FORM THEIR SPIRIT? And, are we addressing this FORM at a SPIRIT level, what we call SIMPLE PERSPECTIVES INTUITIVELY RESULTING IN TRANSFORMATION?

Furthermore, I want to emphasize here that the old style also has some inherent merits. It’s like WHOLE WHEAT BREAD with all its built-in natural nutritional properties. The problems were cultivated, when we started using unnatural means to REFINE THAT BREAD and added unnecessary preservatives to prolong its life.

S: Ha... preservation for the sake of preservation, prolonging for the sake of longevity, regardless of the deterioration in the quality. That makes sense.

But back to teaching, how can we inspire our children to bite into the butter and jam of the SPIRIT that we spread on the whole wheat bread of education? We can't just put the bread in front of them and ask them to eat, can we? That would be like telling them what they should believe - and even though it may work in the short term, in the long term it will give them indigestion, or worse yet, anorexia.

M: Since you talked about BUTTER & JAM, I like to correlate them with the SMOOTH & JAMMED aspects of communication. We can provide the SMOOTH substance without getting them JAMMED in the mere existence of information.

People say that: “We can take the horse to water but we cannot make it drink.”

But, I believe we can create the thirst that will make the horse drink.

Likewise, we can create an appetite for learning in our children that will make them eat the bread without causing any physical, emotional and spiritual hiccups.

That comes by making it palatable with what our children are interested in listening to, and then gradually enveloping the basics we would like them to learn. It’s like shaping the will without shaking the SPIRIT.

S: I get it. What our children are interested in listening to. And that, I suppose, we can only find out if we are interested in listening to our children, rather than assuming that we already know what they want to listen to.

M: So, now we are entering the dimension of expectations.

The other day, I took my 5-year old nephew Omead to see the Christmas lights in an area that was heavily patrolled by police.

He asked me: “Uncle Meher, what is the police doing over here?”

And, I said: “They are here to make sure that everyone behaves properly.”

And he said: “If I misbehave, what are they going to do? Take me and make me do homework!”

You see sometimes interesting expectations sprout out of policing and so we as parents need to do our homework properly before we decide to guide our children.

And as we do, we need to operate from the dimension of Unconditional Love.

Only then our children will be receptive in sharing their heart and spirit with us.

However, I do want to emphasize here that Unconditional Love does not mean Unconditional acceptance of bad behavior.

We can always criticize the doing and still recognize the being of our children.

We can shrug their doing and still hug their being… because they are human beings and not human doings.

S: So in the case of Omead, for example, if we want to impart some religious teachings to him, we must try to stay away from homework in its traditional sense, since he is associating that with punishment. In other words, we don't need to do away with homework. We must recognize that in its usual sense, homework will become counter productive. Then if we must give him homework, we better get creative and structure it in a way that it is inspiring to him.

M: Yes. In order to do those with our children we must work with love so that they can love their work.

S: OK. Now where does that leave us? We are talking about educating our children through inspiration not indoctrination. We are also talking about listening to our children, or having a dialogue with them - much like you and I are having right now. And we are also talking about getting creative in response to the dialogue to find the means to inspire our children. Is that pretty much it? Am I missing anything?

M: Yes, it’s like a pencil sharpener telling the pencil: “Stop going in circles and get to the point.” The point we are trying to get across is on developing an EDGE on KNOWLEDGE -- an edge whose sharpness is used to thrill, not drill the human spirit, and whose sharpness is used to carve a path of inspiration through trust instead of indoctrination with thrust.

S: That's all very well, but what happens to religion?

M: It will stride with pride, if we allow our children to abide, by their inner guide.



Copyright 2021 by Shahriar Shahriari & Meher Amalsad -- All Rights Reserved

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