Education for Love

“Our aim ought to be to teach and impress the reality of Spirit, its regnancy in human life, whilst the mind is alert and supple: and so to teach and impress it, that it is woven into the stuff of the mental and moral life and cannot seriously be injured by the hostile criticisms of the rationalist. Remember that the prime object of education is the moulding of the unconscious and instinctive nature, the home of habit. If we can give this the desired tendency and tone of feeling, we can trust the rational mind to find good reasons with which to reinforce its attitudes and preferences. …

Did we know our business we surely ought to be able to ensure in our young people a steady and harmonious spiritual growth. The ‘conversion’ or psychic convulsion which is sometimes regarded as an essential preliminary of any vivid awakening of the spiritual consciousness is really a tribute exacted by our wrong educational methods. It is a proof that we have allowed the plastic creature confided to us, to harden in the wrong shape. But if, side by side, and in the simplest language, we teach the conceptions: first, of God as the transcendent yet indwelling Spirit of love, of beauty, and of power; next, of man’s constant dependence on Him and possible contact with His nature in that arduous and loving act of attention which is the essence of prayer; last, of unselfish work and fellowship as the necessary expressions of human ideals – then, I think, we may hope to lay the foundations of a balanced and a wholesome life, in which man’s various faculties work together for good, and his vigorous instinctive life is directed to the highest ends.”

Evelyn Underhill