The standard of a civilization is the mean average level of its constructive and destructive thinking. It becomes what it thinks even as one man becomes what he thinks. The world of man is still far from knowing that every thought and action of every man reaches through and affects the thoughts of every other man. Every good thought is like a drop of water added to the ocean's level and every bad thought lowers its level. A war-making, class-dividing, race-hating civilization is not the product of one man, it is the product of all men. No one man may say: I am good, therefore, I did not make it. He lives in it and profits by its conquests or suffers its penalties.
The more we can comprehend the Oneness of our universe the more speedily we may learn the lessons which will gradually raise the whole level of our civilization above the present low level of our man-killing, God-fearing, barbarian age. As that level slowly rises, peace and happiness will come to man in the measure of his spiritual awakening.
It has often been said: “As a man thinks so he becomes.” Likewise, the world becomes what all men think. To make a better world each man must change his thinking, by raising its constructive level. No man can do this beyond the level of his own knowledge, therefore, he must have more knowledge of the oneness of all mankind, and of the oneness of all the universe. He must learn to think universally, not separately. When a man knows that he is not a separate unit of mankind, but is electrically connected in Mind and body with all other men, he will begin to act differently toward men. When he knows that he is not walking among men but through men who are actually extended from him and he from them, he cannot help thinking differently toward them. Neither could his thoughts be other than those of universal brotherhood.
Children should be taught at a very early age that whatever they do to another they are doing to themselves. That is the very first principle upon which to found their morality and character. If they understand that they hurt them selves when they hurt another physically, or by unkind words, and understand it as a part of Natural law, that knowledge will become habitual with them. "As the twig is bent so is the tree inclined." The habit of thinking in patterns becomes traditional, then automatic. Mankind is more or less a mass of automatons. He thinks in the patterns of world traditions.
Children should know the invisible universe even more than the visible universe. You should teach children how the invisible universe controls their every movement, governs their every action, blesses them or every expression of love that they give out of themselves, and hurts them or every hurtful thing they do. If the new generation is given that kind of dynamic knowledge, the whole standard of civilization will quickly rise because man's actions toward man will change as the patterns of his thinking change.
Parents should talk to their children dynamically and realistically about God. Teaching them to pray at bedtime can be as harmful as it is good, for many children think of it as a time to ask God for what they want without giving anything in exchange for it. The Santa Claus conception of God is not a good way to think of Him.
A woman once told me of the long list of things her child asked God for, which she herself bought for the child. "Don't you think it is cute?" she asked of me. "I think it is tragic, not cute," I replied, "for it teaches the child to expect things to be given to her without effort on her part. It does not convey to her the feeling that she must regive anything for her gifts. She should be taught to be worthy of every gift she receives."
Children should be taught that they are either working with God or against Him. They should be shown by continuous demonstration how God works with them to bring food up from the ground for them to eat. How all the things they like, oranges, nuts, carrots, rice and all things else they need and like, are given to them only because God is working with man, and man with God, to produce them.
They should be informed of the manner in which God works with all of His birds, animals, insects, fishes, and reptiles to teach them the way of survival through instinct. They should learn how God protects animals through camouflage of their bodies, which makes them more difficult to see. They should be taught the wonder of how God guides them in the choice of materials they need for comfort and of their engineering principles for constructing nests, spider webs, dams, ant hills, honeycombs, and hundreds of other forms which are repeated in every succeeding generation without being taught by parents. It should be equally demonstrated that these creatures all work with God as He works with them. They work to build their nests, and other things, as God directs them to do, otherwise they would perish. They do not ask God to do it for them, as many people do. They work with Him constantly, as all things in Nature do.
That is the great principle to impress upon children, or too many lives are wasted in wishful thinking instead of earnestly working. Those who ask God in prayer to do things for them without their co-operation are not working with God.
Many people say that God’s gifts are free. That is not true. No gifts of God are free. Whatever God gives to you must be paid for by equal regiving. When you hear people say that God’s gifts are as free as the air you breathe, they should be reminded that it requires an effort to breathe it in, and it must be regiven equally. Not even the life He gives you is free. You must regive it to Him. Every service rendered to any man should be regiven by that man. He who does not regive is taking. It will avail him nothing.
Universal Law will fulfill every desire of every man, insect, bird, animal or any other living thing, if he who asks immediately starts fulfilling that desire by his own action, with full knowledge and belief that God has also started working with him to fulfill that desire in the orderliness prescribed by the creative process, and the time element, which is also prescribed.
God will not “stop these cruel wars” even though ten million people ask Him in prayer to stop them, unless the people who made them start stopping them with Him. God will never do for man what man should do for himself nor will He work for man while man works against His One law. When man works against God he hurts himself. He plunges his world into war by his own free will right. When he has hurt himself very disastrously he prays to God to stop the wars he is making. That is the great error of not knowing God’s ways and making them our ways. Even though ten times ten millions pray to God to do for them what they should do for themselves. He will in no way work for them. God will fulfill the desires of all in His Creation, whether animal or planet, man or star. Not one thing is ever created without desire in itself to be created. All things in Nature that have no free will work with God as He works with them. Man alone, who has free will because he has Consciousness, asks God to do things for him without working with him.
Children should know that they have free will to do anything they choose to do by working with God or against Him, but that when they work with Him they find happiness, and that when they work against Him they make themselves suffer. Give them simple demonstrations of that act at every opportunity. Show them that when they are watering a little plant and caring for its soil. God is making it grow, and that is the way they are working with God by creating a plant with Him. Then demonstrate that if they stop watering the plant or caring for its soil, the plant will die. That is working against God. Such demonstrations and teachings to children should be endless, and in all walks of life. If there is a great industrial plant in the neighborhood, they should be shown that it grew to its enormous size because someone desired it and started working with God to create it. It had been started by one man who had worked hard in a little place before he could employ thousands of men in a big place. Then show them the little sapling which becomes a mighty oak by working with God.
These are the teachings that will make a better civilization because they will make better men. These are the lessons of Nature, which are of the greatest import for schools to teach. Instead of that, our schools often think that the teachings of greatest import are the dates of battles, the names of characters in events such as “who killed Julius Caesar” or the location of countries, cities, or rivers. Any man may be a great inventor, painter or writer without any such information, but millions of children are bursting with such information who have no creative ability whatsoever, or if they ever have had, it was crushed out of them by brain-building instead of Mind-unfolding.
One generation of teaching children to know their relation to Nature would go farther in advancing the human race than thousands of years of building encyclopedic brains. Moreover, every child’s formal schooling should end at not later than fourteen, preferably ten. After the age of ten, everything taught him should be by way of demonstration. Memory tests should be entirely eliminated beyond the necessity of sufficient repetitions to make mathematical tables and the alphabet automatic. Any educational extension after the maximum age of fourteen should be limited to professional training in law, medicine, statesmanship, and the skills of the various arts and sciences. The ability to create can be multiplied all of one’s life if begun early in life, but if interfered with during youth by formal educational processes based upon memory tests, it may be stultified beyond recovery.
I do not say this without vast evidence to support it. Practically every genius eliminated schooling from his life before the age of fourteen. Many pianists and violinists were famous before the age of twenty, and well known as geniuses long before that. My husband was a good painter, musician and composer at ten, at which age he finished his schooling. At the age of thirteen he was a church organist. At thirty he had won world fame with honors from several European countries. During the last fifty years he has multiplied these achievements by a long list in art and in science. I also have had practically no formal school education, which freed me for individual thinking and creative expression as a painter and philosopher who was not content with the world’s unworkable philosophy.
If we are ever to have a cultured civilization in which the immortal in man is awakened, our educational policy, which now “educates” the senses of children, should be replaced with a system which awakens their immortality at a very early age through teaching them how to think and know the treasures of the Mind which are within all men
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