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The Importance of Fatherhood
Fathers are absolutely critical to the health and functioning of a family. The Bahá'í Faith teaches that they are not just the financial support or the figureheads, but the equal partners of their wives in the rearing of children and the ordering of family life. Strong families build strong neighborhoods, and healthy communities will make nations that can bring about world peace.
Any dumb male can beget babies, but it takes a man to raise up healthy, productive children. In my opinion, counting the number of pregnancies as a credit balance for which he might be responsible is immature and closely associated with the animal portion of human nature.
The Bahá'í Faith teaches that human beings are basically immortal spirit, associated for a time with a physical form. Human bodies are designed to make more human bodies--or as one science wit said, just genes' way of making more genes. Religion has always taught that there was more to life than survival, sex and the raising up of children. Growth and development of the human soul require education to rise above the purely animal level of daily activities.
"Were there no educator, all souls would remain savage, and were it not for the teacher, the children would be ignorant creatures. It is for this reason that, in this new cycle, education and training are recorded in the Book of God as obligatory and not voluntary. That is, it is enjoined upon the father and mother, as a duty, to strive with all effort to train the daughter and the son, to nurse them from the breast of knowledge and to rear them in the bosom of sciences and arts. Should they neglect this matter, they shall be held responsible and worthy of reproach in the presence of the stern Lord." - Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 126
There is very strong language within the newest chapter in God's guidance for mankind, the Bahá'í Faith, about the importance of educating girls so that they will grow into competent first teachers of children. However, fathers are also counseled as to their duties: "...although the mother is the first educator of the child, and the most important formative influence in his development, the father also has the responsibility of educating his children, and this responsibility is so weighty that Bahá'u'lláh has stated that a father who fails to exercise it forfeits his rights of fatherhood." - The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 385
2012 is the centenary of a visit to North America by 'Abdu’l-Bahá, who was the son of the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'u'lláh. He said, “Train these children with divine exhortations. From their childhood instill in their hearts the love of God....Teach them to free themselves from human imperfections and to acquire the divine perfections latent in the heart of man. The life of man is useful if he attains the perfections of man. If he becomes the center of the imperfections of the world of humanity, death is better than life, and nonexistence better than existence. Therefore make ye an effort in order that these children may be rightly trained and educated and that each one of them may attain perfection in the world of humanity.” - Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 53-54
According to the Teachings of Bahá’u'lláh, the family is the basic unit of society, and "...must be educated according to the rules of sanctity. All the virtues must be taught in the family. The integrity of the family bond must be constantly considered and the rights of the individual members must not be transgressed. The rights of the son, the father, the mother, none of them must be transgressed, none of them must be arbitrary. Just as the son has certain obligations to his father, the father likewise has certain obligations to his son. The mother, the sister and other members of the household have their certain prerogatives. All these rights and prerogatives must be conserved, yet the unity of the family must be sustained. The injury of one shall be considered the injury of all; the comfort of each, the comfort of all; the honour of one, the honour of all." - Lights of Guidance, p. 221
Fathers have a very important part to play in making the world a better place to live.
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