Spiritual truth is really quite simple or, at any rate, its essentials are. This is something my teachers always insisted on. In their words, spiritual truth is simple but it is easy to get lost in philosophical speculations which lead nowhere. Now this means that basically a child should be able to understand the truth about existence, where it comes from, what its duties are and what its destiny should be. Obviously not in detail but sufficiently to be able to lead a life in harmony with the universe instead of one completely at odds with it as is mostly the case nowadays.
So what are the essentials which every child should be taught? Different cultures might emphasise different aspects of the story and present them in slightly differing forms, but I would say that any child entering this world who is not given the information below is deprived of its birthright and sent out into life already partially crippled in spirit. There is no need to develop these ideas to begin with. That can come later as and when required. The simple understanding of basic truths is enough to start off with. A child may reject these truths. He or she has that right and nothing should be forced. But not to give the child access to them from an early age is a form of cruelty to a growing and developing mind. This is not indoctrination (if it were then not doing it would be equally so), and it should not be something that is insisted on but a gentle presentation of fundamental truths for the child's consideration and pondering.
Here is what I believe each child should be taught when it begins to ask questions about the world in which it finds itself.
- There is a Creator. God exists and God is a person. He loves you.
- You have an immortal soul for which you are responsible. It is cherished as a unique individual.
- All life is one as it all comes from God and is held within his keeping. However all forms of life are different and they are not all equal as they appear in the world, though they should all be respected and valued.
- There is a divine order of being and we should try to observe that and conform ourselves to it not only because it is the truth but because we will be happier that way.
- This Earth is a spiritual school and we are here to learn lessons some of which may be difficult and even painful. We have to understand that, and not think that because of occasional hardship that God has abandoned us or does not exist. These are the chisellings that turn a block of wood into a beautiful statue
- There are forces of darkness but this is nothing to be frightened about. They have no power that God could not extinguish in a second and they cannot hurt us or influence us in any way unless we let them by listening to their false counsel which always goes against what we know in our hearts, though it may appeal to the selfish or proud or lazy part of us. They are allowed to exist because they give us an opportunity to be tested.
- We live in a time when spiritual truths are being lost but our task is not to be misled by that. We have to have faith which is based on the highest truths we have been taught plus what we sense in our hearts when we are loyal to the best we know.
One could certainly add to this list but I didn't want to make it too long or too complicated or too specific. One could mention that God has messengers who sometimes come to teach us the truth about him. And one could say that the current views about human beings being descended from animals are by no means proven and, even if correct, would still only relate to our bodies not our souls which are from heaven. From my personal perspective I would want to add something about Jesus Christ as, at the very least, the perfect teacher, ideal man and divine exemplar, but I've tried to make this as universally applicable as possible. I'm not saying Christ isn't universally applicable, I absolutely believe he is, but he is not perceived as such by everybody, and this is intended to be just a general outline attesting to the reality of the spiritual world. It's a framework to be built on later.