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Updated: Apr 17, 2020

Birds live in flocks. Dolphins live in pods. There are many names for groups of animals and insects; a pride of lions an army of ants, a caravan of camels, a mob of kangaroos...

Humans live in families. And all the species we have considered are presently under threat in one form or another. They are all captives of nature.

But there is one exception to this. Humans are not captives of nature.

We have a capacity above natural instinct. We not only have the ability to create improvements to our own conditions, but also to protect and preserve other species.

These and many other reasons present a vast and exciting challenge to humanity. An immediate challenge as I see it is to become models of new and evolving constructs of family life, which reflect our diversity of culture and roles, and that respond to the pace of change which is an inescapable feature of our time.

The families which it is the challenge of our present generation to build must serve a new paradigm, one utterly unlike anything which we have known before, because it must be sufficient to meet the needs of an utterly new Age.

When Abdu'l-Baha was asked: What is the attitude of your belief toward the family? the reply was:

According to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh the family, being a human unit, must be educated according to the rules of sanctity. All the virtues must be taught the family. The integrity of the family bond must be constantly considered, and the rights of the individual members must not be transgressed. The rights of the son, the father, the mother—none of them must be transgressed, none of them must be arbitrary. Just as the son has certain obligations to his father, the father, likewise, has certain obligations to his son. The mother, the sister and other members of the household have their certain prerogatives. All these rights and prerogatives must be conserved, yet the unity of the family must be sustained. The injury of one shall be considered the injury of all; the comfort of each, the comfort of all; the honor of one, the honor of all. ---Promulgation of Universal Peace

These principles identified above - of member's rights, obligations, prerogatives, unity and honour - apply to our global family also.

Look back to the major global conflicts of the past and it becomes easier to identify which rights are being withheld, and which need to be honoured and implemented.

The 21st Century has arrived so fast, and we hardly had time to consider how we should we approach it. In my mind, it comes with a set of instructions - the Baha’i teachings. They are the only truly global guidelines we can turn to that are based on equality, justice and universality.

`Abdu'l-Baha', son of Baha'u'llah, the Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith, asserted the strategic potential of the family, saying;

"Compare the nations of the world to the members of a family. A family is a nation in miniature. Simply enlarge the circle of the household, and you have the nation. Enlarge the circle of nations, and you have all humanity. The conditions surrounding the family surround the nation. The happenings in the family are the happenings in the life of the nation...nations are but an aggregate of families."

For this reason I look to such Bahai principles as the expanding role of women, the provision of universal education, recognition of the oneness of our human family, and many other key Bahai principles as essential to the survival of our human and animal families.


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