Educating the New Generation
Dan Assisi – San Diego, EUA
We can tell the world is at a
key inflection point. Everywhere we look we see signs of conflict: tension over
racial and gender inequities, disagreement as to how to navigate the COVID-19
pandemic, political division that incites violence and intolerance, and, more
recently, even war in Ukraine. There is little doubt we live in times of great
challenges and changes.
But it is not just in the
world outside that we find signs of trouble brewing. In our neighborhoods,
communities, and inside our very homes, we also witness tension and conflict.
Often, it involves our children. We hear parents speak of it frequently. Their
concerns are generally voiced in one of two ways: they either ask “why
won’t my children listen to me?” or “how do I prepare my children for
the world?” Both point to the same obstacle: we are just not sure how to
best educate this new generation.
And it is, in fact, a
different generation. Parents are quick to point out their children are not
behaving like they did when they were younger or wanting the same things their
parents did at their age. So the tension grows… But it does not need to be like
that. This is where our understanding of spirituality can truly help us.
When we apply what we have
learned in Spiritism to our own children, we begin to see them not just as the
natural product of our families but as immortal, reincarnating spirits. As
such, we begin to shift our thinking: they are not just a generation that is
coming onto this world to be a victim of very complex times. They are much
more: they are a group of souls God seemed fit to inhabit this place during
this time – for a reason. And that reason is growth, as it often is when God is
But here is the wrinkle: they
are not just here for their own growth, as most of us would assume. They are
also here for ours. Have you thought about it this way?
Sometimes we, as parents,
forget that we are supposed to grow too – even if we already are
“grown-ups”. We too have lessons to learn, and they are here to teach
them – after all, aren’t we evolving spirits too? We hear a lot about how we
need to educate the new generation, but don’t talk much about how this new
generation can educate us.
Once we left that marinate for a while, we come to the realization that educating the new generation means changing this one too. We need to change our perspectives and habits to prepare our children for this new world.
So how do we do it? What can
parents do today to help them prepare their children for tomorrow?
Here are a few tips on where
It’s their journey, not ours
Here is a simple concept to
understand in principle but hard to implement in our day-to-day. We must
remember: our children have reincarnated on a journey. It is their journey, not
ours. Our duty, as parents, is not to have our children fulfill our wishes, to
be who we wanted to be when we were younger, or even to see the world as we do.
Our role is to prepare them for their journey, and not for the one we wish they had.
Our job is to keep them safe, not happy
This may seem harsh at first,
but we cannot make our kids happy. Of course we want to, but we can’t. They
have to find their own happiness. Our job is to keep them safe and healthy so
they can have the opportunity to find their own fulfillment. Buying things and
catering to their every whim won’t make them happy – it will just make them
used to it, which will make them unhappy in the long run when you are no longer
around to do everything they want. Instead, focus on making sure they are safe,
healthy, and independent so they can have the opportunity to find their own
Focus on principles, not rules
You may have noticed that
this new generation doesn’t just do things because you told them to. For that matter, adults don’t either – and
that is what our children are: adults in the making growing up in a highly
connected and decentralized world. As a consequence, many will resist authority
– but they will not resist reason and love, because sharing reason and love
mean personal connection on an equal level. So, if you need them to behave or
act a certain way, you need to tell them why. A good way to remember that – and
get better results – is to focus on principles and not rules. What’s the
difference? “You can’t eat ice cream all the time” is a rule. “I
want you to keep your body healthy so you don’t get sick” is a principle.
The reason why you don’t want your kid to eat ice cream all the time is that it
is not healthy for her or him – not because it is ice cream. By focusing on
principles, you are making what is important to you clear to them: you care.
And you will be surprised: they might quickly understand that eating chocolate
all the time is not a good idea either. Principles should always come before
Behavior as an indication of need
Finally, consider that our
children – as immortal spirits with their own vast history – are more complex
than we imagine. And that complexity sometimes gets lost in translation because
they have not yet mastered communication in this lifetime. Therefore, consider
that their (mis)behavior is sometimes a way to call attention. Because they
have a need for connection they cannot verbalize yet, they break things, they
do things they know they shouldn’t because it works: you pay attention. Instead
of reacting, try getting closer to them (emotionally) and remind them you care.
Then watch them change. Bad behavior is an indication of a need not met.
Of course, there is much more
to do than just these few concepts can express. But they can be, nevertheless,
a good place to start. And that is our hope: that we, as parents, begin to
think differently about how to prepare our children for this changing world –
and in the process, also change ourselves for the better. After all, we are all
immortal spirits on Earth to grow.
Dan Assisi, is author,
Spiritist speaker and is also a strategy consultant and executive coach focused
on promoting sustainable change in the field of education. He is a founding
member of The Spiritist Institute and of the California Spiritist Association.