Valdir Aguilera
 Físico e pesquisador



The Education of Children

Valdir Aguilera

We are all aware of the terrible problem of drugs that come, frighteningly, gaining ground among young people. It is not difficult to identify the main source that causes the damage: it is in the young man's own family. A well-formed home is the support, the shelter that assures children of the trust, peace, and harmony they need so much for the solid formation of good character. Home should be a repository of love and good examples. The great Antonio Vieira (1) had already said that mankind needs to be told in the eyes and not in the ears.

A well-formed family, although it is a necessary condition for the healthy, psychic and physical formation of our children, is not a sufficient requirement. The good examples we set before them (which are the ones that touches them the most) are of fundamental importance, but they are not enough. We must also give them lessons which they trust, teachings from which emanates an awareness of their duties to society and to themselves. Teachings that build brave young people, ready to face life with valour, in search of their place in society.

Young people no longer believe in gods, and not without reason. The gods that are presented to them are false. They are products of worshipers and no worshiper is able to disassociate the idea of worship from that of imploring. Young people do not want to implore, they want to conquer. As stated by Luiz de Mattos in 1910, these gods to whom supplications are addressed are "so unaware and live so aloof, so withdrawn, so indifferent to human problems that their attention to these problems is only aroused by the appeals they receive. They need to be asked for pity to be compassionate; be begged for mercy to be merciful; be implored for peace to pacify; be pleaded for justice to be just." Young people no longer accept this illusion. And between us, what dedicated father for the good of his children will demand of them humiliation and submission so that they may have the right to affection and love? This father does not exist, or else he is a despot.

These false gods, creations of a humanity of worshippers, have for centuries been holding back people's ability for analysis and reasoning. It is time to show young people how to use their own psychic resources. Know yourself, said a great and respectable Greek philosopher (2). Part of this knowledge is to identify our psychic attributes. Among them, in a position of high importance, are intuition, reasoning and free will. Through intuition one can feel susceptible for good or for evil; by reasoning we can identify the nature of the intuition, and finally, with free will we can decide which decision to take, which way to go. The responsibility of decision is only felt in its fullness when one has knowledge of oneself, as Pythagoras taught. It is necessary to develop self-confidence among young people. It is this confidence that will assure them a happy future. It is counterproductive to instill in their heads ideas that they consider absurd (because they really are absurd). They will seek the truth elsewhere and will be at the mercy of deceivers of all kinds, which unfortunately are not lacking.

It is not my intention to engage in controversy. All ideas must be respected (but not necessarily accepted). I only express my opinion for good people to consider. I even propose that these ideas be discussed with young people to hear what they have to say about them.

(1) "António Viera was a Jesuit priest, Portuguese diplomat, orator, preacher, philosopher, writer, and member of the Royal Council to the King of Portugal."
(2) The aphorism 'Know yourself' or 'Know thyself' is attributed to several Greek philosophers, among them Pythagoras, Plato and Socrates.

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