What is a good education?

We encourage each of our children individually to practice the Spiritual Exercises of ECK, which we see as the key to the ideal spiritual education.

We also do our best, with the Mahanta’s guidance, to make the many decisions that affect their school education, such as our recent decision to relocate.

Above all, we are so grateful for these spiritual tools, but we’d like to check on something:

On the one hand, we can see how it helps your mission to have well-grounded ECKists in respected professional roles in society, which (here in the UK at least) usually requires a high degree of academic education. On the other hand, we see how demanding this can be and have seen some fine ECK youth appear to lose their spiritual edge while achieving their educational and career coals.

Is overeducation a valid spiritual concern? What do we, as parents, need to look for in a good education for our children?

—Steve and Liz, UK

Dear Steve and Liz,

Many western schools do a disservice to our youth by saying their curriculum will greatly add to their worth in society.

Maybe, maybe not.

The cost of higher education can be prohibitive, burdening the young or their parents with decades of debt. A trade school may be a better choice for some, especially if it teaches students how to make a living doing what they love to do. And it will generally be less expensive too. Worth noting is that successful people often say, “It’s not work if you’re having fun.”

The reason some ECK youth lose their spiritual edge is because socialist beliefs are taught to them in schools. Its focus is on the group instead of the individual. Students who adopt that political line of thought feel more entitled to attack the thoughts and personage of those who disagree with them. They threaten the right of others to think and freely speak their own minds.

So where’s Soul’s freedom?

Overeducation is less of a concern than is wrong education, and we may be talking about the same thing here.

When their young leave home, parents generally lose influence over them, even if they’re footing the bill for a good education. Nevertheless, urge your ECK youth to do the Spiritual Exercises of ECK faithfully. The companionship of the Mahanta is essential to a good life, and his friendship is far more important than any academic degree.

That is the best advice I can give you.