“Unlike the children of some other religions, Bahá’í children do not automatically inherit the Faith of their parents. However, the parents are responsible for the upbringing and spiritual welfare of their children…” – Universal House of Justice
Thus, when someone embraces the Bahá’í Faith, it naturally follows that they would feel compelled to share the treasured insights they have gained with their loved ones. This includes the recognition of God’s Messenger and His Teachings that are pertinent to our current era.
This is why Baha’is believe children should be:
“reared in the light of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh and from their earliest years…learn to love God and His Manifestations and to walk in the way of God’s Law. It is natural, therefore, to regard the children of Bahá’ís as Bahá’ís unless there is a reason to conclude the contrary.” – Universal House of Justice
Should an individual convert to the Bahá’í Faith when their children are already 15 or older—the age acknowledged for spiritual maturity within the Faith—then these young individuals are expected to independently investigate the teachings to determine their own belief in Bahá’u’lláh and decide if they too wish to embrace the Bahá’í Faith.
In families practicing the Bahá’í Faith, children are typically brought up with its teachings. Upon reaching the age of 15, they transition into the status of Bahá’í youth, where they are not only encouraged to actively engage in community service but are also recognized as spiritually mature enough to make their own choices regarding faith. At this milestone, they have the autonomy to either affirm their commitment to the Bahá’í Faith, explore other religions, or even choose to not follow any religion if they so decide. This reflects the core Bahá’í tenet established by Bahá’u’lláh that every person must seek out and embrace spiritual truths independently, free from ancestral influences.
Bahá’í parents typically aspire for their children to maintain their Bahá’í identity, hoping they will continue to grow spiritually by comprehending and living by the transformative teachings of Bahá’u’lláh that are pertinent to this era. However, they acknowledge that their role is to enlighten their children about what they believe to be true, without imposing their convictions. Ultimately, the decision rests with the young individuals themselves, to be made at the age of 15 or beyond, when they feel ready to choose their own spiritual path.
Embracing the Bahá’í Faith is akin to stepping through an open door; it is a journey undertaken voluntarily, without coercion to believe or to maintain one’s registration within the Faith. It is an individual’s choice to enter or to leave. The principle of no compulsion in matters of faith is central to the Bahá’í belief system because genuine faith cannot be imposed. One cannot dictate to another, including one’s child, how to experience love for God. It is a personal connection, unique to every individual, and each person must listen to their own heart to navigate their spiritual bond with the Creator.
Inspired from “Responding” by Dale E Eng