The opening of the 21st century revived the yearning of all the world’s peoples for the dawning of a new era of peace and prosperity. Yet these ideals seem ever more elusive, as international terrorism and ethnic clashes create global fear and chaos. Societies worldwide continue to suffer from grave problems such as hunger and poverty, corrupt leadership, racial and religious intolerance, violence, AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse and rampant environmental destruction.
Of all these problems, the worst represent a profound crisis among youth and within the family: selfish individualism, moral corruption, violence and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, divorce, absentee parents and family breakdown. The 20th century demonstrated how dramatic improvements in science, technology, and material prosperity can resolve some issues, but these alone cannot ensure personal, familial and collective well-being. Unless the character and family crises can be resolved, there will never be a basis for lasting peace and prosperity.
The rapid rate of change in the contemporary world has disrupted ancient traditions and transformed cultures worldwide. To fill the spiritual and moral vacuum, a new view of life, based on universal values is necessary, one that integrates the best of spiritual and material values, traditional and contemporary values, left-wing and right-wing values, and Eastern and Western values. Such a worldview can help provide the basis for healthy individuals, strong families and stable communities that can connect with one another to create nations and an international network of peace.
What is the foundation for such universal values? For Reverend Sun Myung Moon, it is true love. True love is manifested in living for the sake of others, giving without calculating personal reward, sacrificing for those we care about and even more importantly those we dislike, investing even while forgetting what one has invested and continuing to give. Such love is the source of meaning and the basis for maturity, happiness, ties to other persons, the earth, and prosperity. This resonates with the world’s religions and classical philosophies that assert that it is better to give than to receive and that God and the universe protect and support those who make service their way of life.
True love has been the theme of the countless talks and public addresses of Reverend Moon and his wife, Hak Ja Han Moon, over the last fifty years. His teaching and way of life, have been dedicated to showing how living for the benefit of others represents the True Way of Life, the path to inner and outer reward as well as the road to peace This is because it reflects the nature of God, who gives endlessly of Himself to sustain His creation. God is the origin of true love and the ground of universal moral and ethical values.
When considering the challenges we face in the present era, many see education as an essential part of the solution. Yet it is clear that the conventional concept of education-training in knowledge and skills that will be conducive to a successful career is insufficient. In the absence of true love, knowledge and skills are empty ends. The most comprehensive view of education encompasses the efforts of parents, family and the community in teaching what it means to be a whole human being. This is a lifelong process of learning the infinite ways in which to manifest love.
Hence, the title and premise of this book, Educating for True Love that true love should be a fundamental concern of education. Such education for true love includes educating for character true family values, purity, and world peace.
Character education provides a vital foundation for living a life of true love. Such love is only possible where the heart has been cultivated and the conscience is strong. Heart is at the center of a person’s character. From the heart issues our fundamental impulse to seek joy through loving. It is the conscience that then directs our love to be unselfish and conform to the principles that are reflected in all the great spiritual and moral traditions.
By cultivating the heart and fortifying the conscience, character education enables individuals to more fully manifest their likeness in the image of God. This allows them to better succeed in the great tasks of life, to achieve personal maturity, to create a loving family and to be good stewards of the earth and make a valuable contribution to society.
The capacity for true love is not only invaluable in this life, but it continues to bring benefits in the next. Just as the months in the mother’s womb is preparation for life on earth, so living in this physical world and learning to love within the family and society readies the individual for life in eternity, in the spiritual world after death.
The family is the original school where the lessons of love are taught. True family values education thus becomes crucial for fostering people of true love. Reverend Moon teaches that this takes place through the experience of the four realms of heart. Individuals first develop a children’s heart of filial love toward their parents by responding to their unconditional and sacrificial love. Second, they come to know the heart of mutual love and friendship between brothers and sisters or peers. Third, is the heart of conjugal love between husband and wife. The fourth realm is the unconditional parental heart of love toward their children. Through family life, the heart stretches and the character matures, and individuals learn how to better love God and their neighbors.
The anchor of the family is the love and commitment between husband and wife. Reverend Moon has devoted much of his efforts to helping establish a strong tradition of God-centered marriage and the practice of purity before marriage and fidelity within it. Because sexual love is so readily misdirected, pure love education is a necessary part of educating for true love.
Whether within the family or without, conflict represents a constant challenge to love. At the root of conflict is self-centeredness and the absence of true love. Education for world peace thus involves teaching an attitude of respect for the other, even the enemy, as a child of God, together with the practice of service to benefit the other. This attitude and practice comprise the heart of peacemaking, with the goal of drawing together the diverse peoples of the world into one global family.
To embody this vision of world peace through educating for true love Reverend and Mrs. moon have set an example of living for the sake of the world. From service projects to marriage and family guidance, from moral education initiatives to establishing diverse organizations toward the goal of world peace, they have sought tirelessly to improve the human condition and bring the world closer to the ideal of true love. Among these projects is the International Educational Foundation (IEF), whose educational endeavors inspired this co-operative project.