Originally published in Persian in 1960 under the title, Essays on Education, has became a widely used guide to childraising for parents in Iran. It is now being published in English for the first time.
How to train a child according to Bahá’i principles while dealing with a day-to-day problems: this is the subject of this immensely practical book. The Bahá’i reader will realize more than ever, some of the implications of the many references in the BaháI writings to child-training. The author approaches his subject with knowledge and zest, and his reader’s parents - with sympathy and with encouragement to enjoy their children, to take a moral stand, and above all, to realize that being a mother or father is an honourable activity.
‘Ali-Akbar Furutan was born in Iran and accompanied his parents to Ishqábád, Russia, in April 1914, when he was nine years old. After his studies in the Bahá’I school in ‘Ishqábad, he taught there for four years, and then became the Principal of two schools and two kindergartens in that city. In 1926 he went to Moscow, where he took his degree at Moscow University in child psychology and education. In 1934 he was appointed Principal of the Tarbiyát School for Boys in Tihrán, and in that year was elected as member and Secretary of the first National Spiritual Assembly of Bahá’Is of Iran. He served in that capacity for twenty four years. He was appointed a Hand of the Cause of God in 1951 and with three fellow Hands of the Cause and four Counsellors, he was one of those who constitute the nucleus of the International Teaching Centre at the World Centre of the BaháI Faith and sewed there till his last breath as a resident Hand of the Cause.
This Book was written from my own experience as a child psychologist working with children and their mothers. It is a practical guide for mothers and fathers, not a scholarly presentation, although scholars and educators may perhaps find ideas in it which interest them. My intention was to help parents in their daily efforts to carry out the difficult task of training a child.
In writing the book I made use of ideas gathered from a study of the Bahá’i writings, the Bible, the Qur’ãn, philosophers such as Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Darwin, and Spencer, and the educationalists and child psychologists of our own day. I have not listed all the titles, but parents who are interested will be able to find a wealth of helpful information available from bookshops and libraries.
Originally written in Persian, the book has been edited for the Western reader. I should like to express my warm thanks to the translators, Katayoon and Robert Crerar, and to Mahnaz Aflatooni, who translated the extracts from Persian Poetry. I should also like to thank the proof-readers, Ginnie Busey, Steve Eddy, Rustom Sabit, and Stephen Tomlin.
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