Family and community life


For a healthy and civilized society, we need our personal and familial lives to actively influence our surrounding communities in a positive manner. At the same time, we must continually address any corruption that crops up at the community level. In order to secure positive and healthy traditions and gradually dissolve unhealthy traditions, the following is presented: 

34. LIVING IN COMMUNITY

Encouraging this tradition means that we do not limit our emotional selves to too small a circle. We should invest our emotions and our affinities not just in the growth and happiness of our spouse and children, but to our extended families. By living together and helping each other in our extended families, we cultivate patience, tolerance, and the spirit of compromise. Combining families is an excellent way to further everyone on the path of self refinement. It is almost impossible to convert selfish interests into selfless interests if we do not start with our families. [ . . . ] This is the first step towards enlightened society and must be re-established.

35. FAMILY MEETINGS

Every family community should gather regularly to discuss things deeper than the day to day business. [ . . . ] Every house should have a prayer and meditation area where each family member can be encouraged to spend at least a few meditative minutes daily. No home should be without a library. Reading and engaging with literature about the art of living and the art of solving life’s inevitable problems should be an integral part of growing up. Consistent exposure to prayer, reading, and group discussion lays a foundation for a healthy and happy family, which in turn paves the way for a civilized society.

36. PRACTICING GOOD HABITS

Mutual cooperation, hard work, reuse and repair of old items, cleanliness, orderliness, regular exercise, well-established methods of resolving conflict, education, interest in learning, self-sufficiency and charity are examples of good habits that should be inculcated in the family environment. When this training is widespread, it alone can lead to a healthy society.

37. GOOD PARENTING

Grooming the next generation is an essential and profound way to serve society. The motive of having children should be to serve the country and to fulfill our national duties more than to serve satisfy anyone’s self-interest. To this end, parents should start their physical, emotional, and financial preparation early. Children will inherit the tendencies of the parents. This is why the married couple should continue to tirelessly elevate themselves and live in harmony, as they prepare to have children. A relationship full of discontent, jealousy, and a lack of mutual trust will not produce well-adjusted children. During pregnancy, the emotional state of the mother is transferred to the child. In this sense, the child’s education starts well before conception, since the predominant parental personalities that have a significant influence on the child to come are in development throughout their lives. Therefore, the real preparation for grooming a civilized generation of moral citizens should begin immediately after marriage. Couples should practice celibacy when possible and they should continually strive to infuse their lives with high ideals.

38. REWARDING AND CELEBRATING GOOD WORK

[. . . ] We must reward the honest, brave, and knowledgeable members of society through the publication of newspaper articles, short biographies and character sketches. It speaks well of these individuals to not desire such honors, but the mechanism of public rewards should be established to inspire others to follow in their footsteps. We must also avoid rewarding people for frivolous reasons, as that would generate nothing but competition and jealousy. In short, to construct an ideal society, we must publicly give more respect to moral character than we do to material wealth.

39. SUPPORTING GENEROSITY AND NOBLE-MINDEDNESS

For humanity to hold its head high, we must support the spirit of generosity and decency. These values are at the risk of dying out for lack of support and nourishment. As concerned citizens, it is our civic duty both to actively support proper societal decorum and to actively discourage indecent and improper societal elements. If circumstances do not allow for an active opposition, we must, at least, refuse to support indecent behavior and refuse to be friendly with those engaged in it. If we do not distance ourselves in this way, we will discourage others who might also wish to oppose such behavior. If it is possible, we should actively fight impropriety; but if it is not, we must at least resist it passively.

40. FULFILLMENT OF MORAL AND CIVIC DUTIES

We must fulfill our civic duties, support healthy social traditions, behave in a manner that is both civilized and in accordance with religion and ethics, keep our promises, emulate generosity and cooperation, be content with our honest earnings and hard work, and live with honesty and simplicity.
We must not be lazy and we must not waste time. Hard work and proper utilization of time are the two keys to success. It is preferable to be honest and poor than to be rich by unethical means such as gambling, corruption or theft. Hard work and honesty is the way to lift up both the personal and the collective consciousness.

41. COLLECTIVE SUPPORT AND COOPERATION

Mutual cooperation leads to progress in every aspect of our life. Therefore, it is advisable to participate in and encourage activities that are collective in nature. When collective and communal activities decline, so too does society. [ . . . ]
We must encourage programs that are inclusive and that originate from the collective support of the community. The financial sector should form committees to promote collectivization in business and manufacturing. Goods can be manufactured more cheaply if the production is done on a large scale. This benefits the manufacturer as well as the consumer. Collective efforts also foster community mindedness and understanding, thus cultivating a preference for the wellbeing of the community over the individual.

42. UNNECESSARY SAVINGS, INHERITANCE AND LUXURY

We must discourage exorbitant financial savings as well as the desire to live more luxuriously than the average person. These tendencies hurt us and lead to degraded social values. We must make money, but a majority of our earnings should go toward the greater good of our community. With so much suffering resulting from income inequality, it is inhuman to hoard money for oneself. It is beneath our human birth.
We should use our resources to ensure a proper education for our children but it is not right to encourage our children to live off of the interest of our hoardings. Such practices, in fact, do them a grave disservice. [ . . . ] The narrow-minded practice of inheritance must be ended. It is not in congruence with a prosperous society. In its place, we must reinstate the pride and satisfaction that comes from charitable giving. Generosity elevates the level of society as a whole. [ . . . ]

43. DIGNITY OF LABOR

Those who do mental labor receive riches and respect, whereas [. . .] those who clean toilets, wash clothes, tailor, and perform other manual labors are viewed as lesser members of society. For this reason, we instinctively refrain from doing our own manual work. [ . . . ] A decline in the dignity of labor cultivates a disdain for labor. This propagates laziness. Labor is essential to give shape to any idea. We must encourage the respect for laborers and each of us must hone the physical laborer within. Societal progress depends on the dignity of labor.

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