An extract from Alice Bailey‘s book Education In The New Age, published in 1954
Chapter Three – The Next Step in the Mental Development of Humanity
First, and above everything else, the effort should be made to provide an atmosphere for children wherein certain qualities can flourish and emerge.
1. An atmosphere of love, wherein fear is cast out and the child realizes he has no cause for timidity, shyness or caution, and one in which he receives courteous treatment at the hands of others, and is expected also to render equally courteous treatment in return. This is rare indeed to find in schoolrooms or in homes for that matter. This atmosphere of love is not an emotional, sentimental form of love but is based upon a realisation of the potentialities of the child as an individual, on a sense of true responsibility, freedom from prejudice, racial antagonisms, and above everything else, upon compassionate tenderness. This compassionate tenderness is founded on the recognition of the difficulty of living, upon sensitivity to the child’s normally affectionate response, and upon a knowledge that love always draws forth what is best in child and man.
2. An atmosphere of patience, wherein the child can become normally and naturally a seeker after the light of knowledge; wherein he is sure of always meeting with a quick response to inquiry and a careful reply to all questions, and wherein there is never a sense of speed or hurry. Most children’s natures are warped by the rush and hurry of those with whom they are perforce associated. There is no time to instruct them and to reply to their small and most necessary inquiries, and the time factor therefore becomes a menace to right development, and leads eventually to a life of evasions and of wrong perspectives. Their standard of values becomes distorted by watching those with whom they live, and much of it is brought to their attention by the impatience which is displayed towards them. This impatience on the part of those upon whom they are so pathetically dependent, sows in them the seeds of irritation, and more lives are ruined by irritation that can be counted.
3. An atmosphere of ordered activity, wherein the child can learn the first rudiments of responsibility. The children who are coming into incarnation at this time, and who can profit by the new type of education, are necessarily on the very verge of soul consciousness. One of the first indications of such soul contact is a rapidly developing sense of responsibility. This should be carefully borne in mind, for the shouldering of small duties and the sharing of responsibility (which is always concerned with some form of group relation) is a potent factor in determining a child’s character and future vocation.
4. An atmosphere of understanding, wherein a child is always sure that the reasons and motives for his actions will be recognised, and that those who are his older associates will always comprehend the nature of his motivating impulses, even though they may not always approve of what he has done or of his activities. Many of the things which the average child does are not in themselves naughty or wicked or intentionally bad. They are frequently prompted by a thwarted inquiring spirit, by the desire to retaliate for some injustice (based on the adult’s lack of understanding his motivation), by an inability to employ time rightly (for the directional will is often, at this age, entirely quiescent and will not become active until the mind is beginning to function), and by the urge to attract attention – a necessary urge in the development of self consciousness, but one which needs understanding and most careful guidance.