Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Teaching kids to connect in a multicultural world

When the city council of Monrovia, Calif., recently sought to combat racially charged gang violence in this bedroom community of Los Angeles, it turned to the Monrovia Baha'i Family School as a role model for how people of different cultures can get along in our cross-cultural world.Whites, Latinos and African-Americans don’t always connect in a friendly way on the streets of Monrovia, but they do on Cypress Street -- home of the Baha'i school, whose students range from kindergarten to high school. Some students are Baha’is; others come from different faiths.

The purpose of the many Baha'i schools located throughout the country, is to teach children about the oneness of humankind. This core principle of the Baha'i Faith forms the foundation of the Faith’s other principles, which include equality of the sexes, elimination of prejudice, abolition of extremes of poverty and wealth.

Baha’i schools are populated by children of families who want their children to receive a spiritual education that stresses the importance of diversity and unity.

Students also learn the Baha'i concept of progressive revelation -- that the world's major religions are part of a single, progressive process through which God reveals His will to humanity.