A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Encouragement

A new burst of energy would accrue to the operation of the Three Year Plan if the friends, both individually and collectively, could feel a greater sense of freedom to engage in a wide range of activities originating with themselves. Even if you are doing nothing deliberately to discourage such freedom, their accumulated impression of institutional disapproval, however derived, and their fear of criticism are, to a considerable extent, inhibiting their exercise of initiative. At this exact time in history when the peoples of the world are weighed down with soul-crushing difficulties and the shadow of despair threatens to eclipse the light of hope, there must be revived among the individual believers a sense of mission, a feeling of empowerment to minister to the urgent need of humanity for guidance and thus to win victories for the Faith in their own sphere of life. The community as a whole should be involved in efforts to resolve such issues. A single answer would, of course, be inadequate, there being so many diverse elements and interests in the community. These matters require not only your own independent consultation but consultation with the Counsellors as well. Although Spiritual Assemblies are good at specifying goals, they have not yet mastered the art of making use of the talents of individuals and rousing the mass of the friends to action in fulfilment of such goals. Removing this deficiency would be a mark of the maturation of these institutions.
(Universal House of Justice, Unlocking the Power of Action)


As the teaching intensifies, all believes can anticipate being surrounded by an increasing number of people who are attracted to the Cause but in need of encouragement while they strive toward the recognition and acceptance of Bahá’u’lláh.
(International Teaching Centre, 1992 May 09, Inviting Seekers to Embrace the Cause)


As to your worry about over-controlling the friends: by appreciating the nature of the power of action which they possess, you will be able to gauge how best to guide and direct them. A wide latitude for action must be allowed them, which means that a large margin for mistakes must also be allowed. Your National Assembly and the Local Assemblies must not react automatically to every mistake, but distinguish between those that are self-correcting with the passage of time and do no particular harm to the community and those which require Assembly intervention. Related to this is the tendency of the friends to criticize each other at the slightest provocation, whereas the Teachings call upon them to encourage each other. Such tendencies are of course motivated by a deep love for the Faith, a desire to see it free of any flaw. But human beings are not perfect. The Local Assemblies and the friends must be helped through your example and through loving counsel to refrain from such a pattern of criticism, which stunts the growth and development of the community. You should also be fearful of laying down too many rules and regulations. The Cause is not so fragile that a degree of mistakes cannot be tolerated. When you feel that certain actions may become trends with harmful consequences, you may, instead of making a new rule, discuss the matter with the Counsellors, enlisting their support in educating the friends in a manner that will improve their understanding and their conduct.
(Universal House of Justice, Unlocking the Power of Action)


At the present stage … far more beneficial results are likely to be achieved by encouragement of the believers and by their education in the principles and significance of Bahá’í administration than by the threat or imposition of sanctions.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


Even if you are doing nothing deliberately to discourage such freedom, their accumulated impression of institutional disapproval, however derived, and their fear of criticism are, to a considerable extent, inhibiting their exercise of initiative. At this exact time in history when the peoples of the world are weighed down with soul-crushing difficulties and the shadow of despair threatens to eclipse the light of hope, there must be revived among the individual believers a sense of mission, a feeling of empowerment to minister to the urgent need of humanity for guidance and thus to win victories for the Faith in their own sphere of life.
(The Universal House of Justice, 1994 May 19, response to US NSA)


Fear of failure finds no place. Mutual support, commitment to learning, and appreciation of diversity of action are the prevailing norms.
(The Universal House of Justice, January 9, 2001)


Further, it is sometimes the case that staff members at your National Center, in their eagerness to be exactly and completely obedient, carry out the instruction of your Assembly with a sharpness of manner and tone that hurts people and provokes resentment against the very body the staff are striving to serve with loyalty and devotion.
(The Universal House of Justice, 1994 May 19, response to US NSA)


In the same message, the House of Justice also stated that an upsurge in teaching activity depends on “sustained encouragement.”
(ITC, 2003 Apr 23, Building Momentum, p. 13)


It is very discouraging to find inactive and unresponsive believers; on the other hand we must always realize that some souls are weak and immature and not capable of carrying on an active administrative burden. They need encouragement, the love of their fellow Bahá’ís and assistance. To blame them for not doing more for the Cause is useless, and they may actually have a very firm belief in Bahá’u’lláh which with care could be fanned into flame.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 84)


Our beloved Master who showered, through His visit and His messages to you, so much love and encouragement and so many blessings, is watching over you from on high, ready to sustain your efforts and lead you on to victory.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v I, p. 130)


Parents have responsibility toward their children, and children toward their parents, but beyond responsibility, the emphasis is on love, respect, courtesy, kindness and encouragement, without which families cannot prosper nor women advance.
(Bahá’í International Community, 1990 Sept 06, Women Development in Pacific)


The friends everywhere need encouragement.
(Universal House of Justice, 1998 Apr, Training Institutes)


The friends should be helped to overcome their problems, deepen in the Faith, and increase their unity and their love for each other. In this way you will find that your work goes ahead speedily, and that the National Body is like the beating of a healthy heart in the midst of the Community, pumping spiritual love, energy and encouragement out to all the members.
(Shoghi Effendi, Unlocking the Power of Action)


The members of the House of Spirituality must give unlimited encouragement to women.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 336)


The people of the world today, whether Bahá’ís or non-Bahá’ís—no matter how desperately they need everything in the Bahá’í administration—are not going to benefit by being banged on the head by rules and regulations; they need love and encouragement. They need the spirit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá showered upon all men, the reason He is our Exemplar. A good question for every one of us to ask our own selves is “Would the Master behave like this?”
(Ruhiyyih Khanum, A Manual for Pioneers, p. 19)


The real secret of universal participation lies in the Master’s oft expressed wish that the friends should love each other, constantly encourage each other, work together, be as one soul in one body, and in so doing become a true, organic, healthy body animated and illumined by the spirit.
(Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 43)


The sun is the life-giver to the physical bodies of all creatures upon earth; without its warmth their growth would be stunted, their development would be arrested, they would decay and die. Even so do the souls of men need the Sun of Truth to shed its rays upon their souls, to develop them, to educate and encourage them. As the sun is to the body of a man so is the Sun of Truth to his soul.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 32)


Training alone, of course, does not necessarily lead to an upsurge in teaching activity. In every avenue of service, the friends need sustained encouragement. Our expectation is that the Auxiliary Board members, together with their assistants, will give special thought to how individual initiative can be cultivated, particularly as it relates to teaching. When training and encouragement are effective, a culture of growth is nourished in which the believers see their duty to teach as a natural consequence of having accepted Bahá’u’lláh.
(The Universal House of Justice, Ridván 158, 2001 01 09, to the Conference of the Continental)


Training alone, of course, does not necessarily lead to an upsurge in teaching activity. In every avenue of service, the friends need sustained encouragement. Our expectation is that the Auxiliary Board members, together with their assistants, will give special thought to how individual initiative can be cultivated, particularly as it relates to teaching. When training and encouragement are effective, a culture of growth is nourished in which the believers see their duty to teach as a natural consequence of having accepted Bahá’u’lláh.
(The Universal House of Justice, Ridván 158, 2001 01 09, to the Conference of the Continental)