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September, 2002

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 6, Issue #1




- Keeping Our Youth Close to Our Hearts
- Requesting Assistance from the Readers
- Question of the Month
- Website
- Purpose of the Newsletter




Prepared by Marilyn Carey who works as a Mental Health Clinician at Powell River Youth and Family Services, British Columbia, Canada. (Editor's note: I am very grateful that Marilyn Carey has offered to do a third article for the Healing Through Unity newsletter. She has been generous in sharing her expertise and skills in the field of children and youth in mental health. Her first article "Depression and Suicide Intervention for Children and Youth" appeared in Vol. 4, Issue # 8, April, 2001; and her second article "Children and Stress" appeared in Vol. 5, Issue #3, November, 2001 as a supplementary issue. Both articles can be found at the website:

Do you have features of ephebiphobia?


Do you cross the street when you see a group of youth or do you smile and greet them, showing that you value their being?

Do you notice that you watch teens in stores thinking that they may shoplift? Do you also suspect adults (actually more adults shoplift than youth)?

Do you see the exuberance of youth as annoying or frightening, or do you recognize the potential of all that creative energy?

Do you, when you hear that a youth has broken the law, think that all youth are potential lawbreakers? Do you think the same way when adults break the law?

"Let your actions cry aloud to the world that you are indeed Baha’is, for it is actions that speak to the world and are the cause of the progress of humanity….God, who sees all hearts, knows how far our lives are the fulfillment of our words." (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, pp. 80-81)

The Blessed Beauty often remarked; “There are four qualities which I love to see manifested in people: first, enthusiasm and courage; second, a face wreathed in smiles and a radiant countenance; third, that they see with their own eyes and not through the eyes of others; fourth, the ability to carry a task once begun, through to its end”. (Stories of Baha’u’llah, compiled by ‘Ali Akbar Furutan, p 51.)


It is common today to hear that almost half of all young people between the ages of 10 and 17 are at risk for school failure, substance abuse, delinquency, and teenage pregnancy. Factually, teens are healthier, better educated and more responsible than teens of the past. Even in cities like Los Angeles, 90% to 95% of teens are not in a gang. It appears that our whole society is suffering from features of ephebiphobia which is a fear and loathing of adolescents.

In 1960, the total number of youth arrested accounted for about 17% of all arrests. In the 1970’s, that figure had jumped to 26%, an all time high. In 1990, the figures had fallen to approximately 15%, making the total number of arrests lower than two decades ago (Sautter 1995). The perception that this generation is more violent than ever is false. What is on the increase, however, is the number of violent crimes, the diminishing age of perpetrators and the incidents of girls involved in violent crimes (Artz, 1998; Sautter 1995).

We need to adopt “a widespread conceptual shift from thinking that youth problems are the principle barrier to youth development to thinking that youth development is the most effective strategy for the prevention of youth problems” (Pittman, as quoted in Linquanti, 1992, p.4). We need to shift our thinking from children being a problem or having problems to children being a rich resource with occasional challenges to optimal growth. The emphasis placed on drug and alcohol prevention, on violence free programs or on reduction of eating disorders, suicide ideation and sexual promiscuity give a much different message than programs that promote strong family attachment and participation with communities who show that they value their children by noticing their positive actions and attributes. Attention to problems focuses the communities attention onproblems, attention given to growth, challenges and attributes, focuses communities on potential.

"Thus it is incumbent upon us, when we direct our gaze toward other people,  to see where they excel, not where they fail. Praise be to God, the goal is to promote the well-being of humankind and to help the souls to overcome their faults. This good intention will produce laudable results." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdul-Baha, p. 169)

"He hath chosen out of the whole world the hearts of his servants, and made them each a seat for the revelation of His glory. Wherefore, sanctify them from every defilement, that the things for which they were created may be engraven upon them. This indeed is a token of God’s bountiful favour." (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, p. 297)

"In every avenue of service, the friends need sustained encouragement." (A Message to the Counsellors Conference from the Universal House of Justice, January 9th, 2001)

To create a community-wide commitment to children and youth, the whole community has to be involved. To create caring children and youth, the whole child must be addressed.

“Change - real change - comes from the inside out. It doesn’t come from hacking at the leaves of attitude and behavior with quick-fix personality ethic techniques. It comes from striking at the root - the fabric of our thought, the fundamental, essential paradigms, which give definition to our character and create the lens through which we see the world” (Covey, 1989, p. 317).

Our children and youth need the community to adopt a collaborative approach to child rearing. Not to condemn but to nurture, to encourage and to adhere to standards that will foster resiliency. It is time for the community to weave a protective web of guidance and learning that will allow our children to test the rules, gain competencies and attain their optimum growth. To do this, we need to re-think how we view the growth matrix of our children and youth. Do we, as a community see the children as problems that need to be fixed? Do we see ourselves as experts who dictate how this mending will occur? Are we quick to see the mistakes our children make while learning new skills as flaws or faults? Do we encourage the steps to growth or criticize any imperfection, even when the child is making every attempt to learn?

"Therefore must the mentor be a doctor as well: that is, he must, in instructing the child, remedy its faults; must give him learning, and at the same time rear him to have a spiritual nature. Let the teacher be a doctor to the character of the child, thus will he heal the spiritual ailments of the children of men." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdul-Baha, p. 130)

"What a power is love! It is the most wonderful; the greatest of all living powers. Love gives life to the lifeless. Love lights a flame in the heart that is cold. Love brings hope to the hopeless and gladdens the hearts of the sorrowful." (‘Abdul-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 179)

The past twenty years have produced a growing awareness of the need to develop resiliency in children and youth (Benson, 1997). What protects a child from the more destructive influences in the social environment? Are there positive or protective features in the family, school or community which will strengthen a youth's ability to choose pro-social activities? How can we become pro-active in supporting the healthy growth of our children?

Researchers have identified some areas of potential-indicating resiliency as:

1. School's expectation of high academic success (Rutter 1984).
2. Self-efficacy (Wehlage 1989, Maton 1990).
3. Social competence- caring, empathy, communication and humor (Benard
4. An involved community (Meier 1995).

Developing resilient children is a long-term, collaborative process that needs the involvement of key people in the community. It does not work unless parents, schools, community members and the children and youth work together to build a system of values and practices that foster resiliency. This means that we have to shift our thinking and our practices from fixing individuals to creating healthy communities - a new culture of growth. To accomplish this the community needs to be able to see the whole picture - the result of negative influences and practices on our young people and a framework that will build and maintain resilience.

Perhaps it is not so important to find and name the current road as it is to create a new road. A new road that will foster the strengths that children and youth have attained and provide a warm, secure network for the times when they struggle.

"When you call on the Mercy of God waiting to reinforce you, your strength will be tenfold." (‘Abdul-Baha, Paris Talks, p 38)

"He appreciates very much the devoted and determined spirit with which you are facing the future and all the Baha’i responsibility it will bring you increasingly. The part of the youth is very great; you have the opportunity to really determine to exemplify in word and deed the teachings of Baha’u’llah and to show your generation that the New World order he has brought is a tangible reality in the lives of His followers." (Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i Youth: A Compilation p 8.)

"The Major Plan of God is at work and the forces it generates impel humanity towards its destiny. In their own plans of action, the institutions of the faith must seek to gain insight into the operation of these great forces, explore the potentialities of the people they serve, measure the resources and strengths of their communities, and take practical steps to enlist the unreserved participation of the believers. The nurturing of this process is the sacred mission entrusted to you. We have every confidence in your ability to achieve it. May Baha’u’llah bless and sustain you through His unfailing grace and mighty confirmations." (A Message to the Counsellors Conference from the Universal House of Justice, January 9th, 2001)

A web site that may be of interest:


'Abdu’l’-Baha, "Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l’-Baha", Baha’i World Centre, 1978 'Abdu'l-Baha, "Paris Talks", Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1969
Artz, S., "Sex, Power & the Violent Schoolgirl", Trifolium Books Inc., 1998
Baha’u’llah, "Gleanings", Baha’i Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Illinois, 1976
Benson, P., "All Kids Are Our Kids", Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1997
Benard, B., "A Framework for Practice: Tapping Innate Resilience", University of Minnesota, August 1997
Covey, S. R., "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", Simon and Schuster,
Furutan, ‘Ali-Akbar, "Stories of Baha’u’llah", George Ronald Publisher, 1986
Linquanti, R., "Using Community-Wide Collaboration to Foster Resiliency in
Kids: A Conceptual Framework", Western Regional Center for Drug-Free Schools and Communities, October 1992 Maton, K., "Meaningful Involvement in Instrumental Activity and Well Being: Studies of Older Adolescents and At Risk Urban Teens", American Journal of Community Psychology, 18(2), 1990, 297-320
Meier, D., "The Power of Their Ideas", Boston: Beacon Press, 1995
National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States,"
Youth: A Compilation", Baha’i Publishing Trust
Rutter, M. Resilient Children, "Psychology Today", March 1984, 57-65
Sautter, R. C.,"Standing up to Violence", Phi Delta Kappan, Vol/Issue: 76(5), January 1995
Wehlage, G., "Reducing the Risks: Schools as Communities of Support",
Philadelphia, U.S., Palmer Press, 1989




(Editor's note: Two readers would appreciate your assistance. Thank you and looking forward to  hearing from you!)

My question is how can one reach a healthy balance of “good” and “bad” cholesterol without using current medications (such as Zocar)? Are there any food or natural remedies that are reliable?

I am 23 years old and in June of 2000, while I was serving at the Bahá'í World Centre, I had an opportunity to get a complete physical. When I got the results back the General Practitioner told me that my cholesterol level was elevated and that I should look into that further. Unfortunately, being young and having only heard of “older people” having high cholesterol I ignored the GP’s advice. Those results kept nagging at me in the back of my head and when I started University again I went back for a second blood test. When I got the results back my cholesterol level had increased. The University Health Center helped me readjust my diet (which until leaving home had consisted of Alaska’s wild game meat as opposed to beef) and to commit to an exercise plan. But when I went back again after about 6 months I found that my cholesterol level had increased quite a bit (now at 282 total). Panic set in and I reacted by buying non-fat foods (which I dislike greatly), switched to fish, cut out beef completely, and began to eat more beans and fresh veggies and fruits. My doctor on campus immediately wanted to put me on medication to reduce my cholesterol level but I am a firm believer in natural holistic remedies and treatments. So, I would appreciate any insights the readers may have to deal with this widespread problem.


I have emphysema and it was aggravated by the fumes of charcoal used to cook meals. I have heard that emphysema is curable and wonder if any of the readers have experience of this. I am most interested in seeing anything related that might help me with a cure so I may return to my second home.




Dear Readers:

The focus for the upcoming issues will be on how to improve accessibility in the Baha'i and surrounding communities for persons with disabilities, illnesses and diseases of various kinds. This may include removing physical barriers, changing our attitudes and providing relevant support or available technology to ensure that everyone is a part of community life. Working together to provide basic information and accommodations as well as typical solutions will hopefully enable those struggling with a disability or illness to be involved in the community. After all, we all have disabilities/struggles of various forms. This information may also apply to the workplace. We will begin this consultative process and see how it evolves.

In "The Merriam Webster Dictionary" the word 'accommodation' means - "To make fit or suitable; adapt, adjust; to provide with something needed; something provided to satisfy a need."

Some examples of accommodations are:
a) If a person has difficulty remembering events and schedules, written information or a time/day planner might be used.
b) Providing materials, newsletters and the Holy writings in large print for visually impaired individuals.
c) Allowing individuals suffering from various illnesses to attend activities and Baha'i functions for a reduced amount of time without feelings of guilt/discomfort.

Some of the disabilities/illnesses we will consult are (if there are others missing, please let us know):
1) Hearing Impairment
2) Visual Impairment
3) Mobility/Physical disability
4) Learning Disabilities /Attention Deficit Disorder
5) Developmental Disabilities
6) Brain Injuries
7) Physical Illnesses such as cancer, arthritis, heart condition, back impairment, alzheimer's, etc.
8) Psychiatric Disabilities/Mental Illness
9) Emotional

For the October issue, we will focus on both hearing and visual impairments. Please share your experiences, stories and comments on this subject. We look forward to learning from you!




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"Healing Through Unity" is published for the purpose of sharing thoughts, comments and experiences on how the teachings of the Baha'i Faith are being applied to physical and spiritual health. Other than the quoted Holy Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August. The newsletter is produced in Ontario, Canada. Please send your stories, comments, suggestions or "Question for the Month" ideas to Frances Mezei by e-mail:


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