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Posts Tagged ‘children’

On Divorce, Relationships, Society, and Human Progress

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Iris & Jarome Bali wedding photo
My blog has been quite vacant for many years.
How to write about the challenges of moving to a culture completely opposite to your own, and the process of your life falling apart, your failure after a decade of trying, in denial, to fix problems that were unfixable and loss of the chance to be with your son you had waited so long for and to suffer the same fate as my divorced parents?

In 2013 I finally accepted defeat, I had waited over 10 years to have a family, and spent 6 gruelling years and every penny I had trying to adopt a child only to have him taken away by my ex when she decided to move back to Canada in response to my ‘year of patience’. I won’t go into the complicated and confusing details. The most painful and difficult time in my life, yes, but I don’t blame her for what happened, or myself, this was a failure of society.

Shoghi Effendi said, “A tempest, unprecedented in its violence, unpredictable in its course, catastrophic in its immediate effects is at present sweeping the face of the earth. Its driving power is remorselessly gaining in range and momentum. Its cleansing force, however much undetected, is increasing with every passing day. Humanity, gripped in the clutches of its devastating power, is smitten by the evidences of its resistless fury. It can neither perceive its origin, nor probe its significance, nor discern its outcome…”

There are dark forces at work in our society, suffering is far too common as a result of ambitions for profit and this has become a distraction to solving common health problems that are destroying families and taking lives.
We are witnessing the collapse of its social structure and the functional, healthy family. Proof of this is in the fact that even amongst the Baha’i community, one that is the utmost authority on unity and healthy community building, over 50% of marriages are failing, This is by no means because the Baha’i system doesn’t work, it is working to unite vastly different cultures in over 200 countries, but it is not immune to the deeply rooted problems in our society that eat away like a cancer at our communities, families, relationships, our lives, our human progress. Their source is al the things our culture prides itself on most: individualism, materialism, self glorification, apathy, and mediocrity. These poisons are alone enough to destroy any marriage and relationship never mind hope for a healthy society that is progressing forward. That is not to say progress is not being made, it is just being greatly hindered.

There is a major and essential component of our education missing that is required to heal this cancer, that is the ability to have healthy and effective relationships with other human beings. Simple right? Absolutely essential for our lives, correct? And yet, where did you have a chance to learn this properly? Did your parents teach you this essential skill? Were they successful in exemplifying this? It should have been taught in middle school, but did you even have a chance to learn it in university? We are not taught the most essential skills required for a healthy and effective life. The only place my ex and I probably ever had a chance to learn this was in a Baha’i study that was a few paragraphs long, the topic of effective consultation that is free of ego. A longer course on the topic is coming, but this is not a task for the Baha’i community alone, it is something that should be taught as early and as often as possible. ‘Effective Relationships’ is an essential skill every human needs to be a master at to have a healthy life and be a community building member of society! But most of us never have a chance to learn this.

I could go on, but a similar disturbing example of our delusions about education in essential skills is the fact that we think that as human beings, because we have the ability to procreate, that we know how to parent a child. Parenting is not something we innately know how to do effectively it is something we need to learn through research and insight from those parents who have raised children that are well balanced, successful, helpful members of society.

These two points about being educated to relate well with others are interlinked, how can we effectively raise children if we cannot relate to each other and pursue healthy relationships? We cannot be naive and think that because we live on a planet with millions of other humans we are innately great at having healthy relationships with each other! We’ve well proven that not to be true. Without these dark forces influencing every aspect of our lives, and a spiritual education at a young age, maybe, but right now that is not the case for most of us.
Without a daily spiritual practice that reminds us that we are created by something greater, spirits in a material world, a world designed to help us grow and develop, our egos WILL take control of our lives, which means we will NOT be in control any longer. Human society cannot progress in this animal state. As long as our egos are in control, there is no hope for happy marriage, well raised children, and healthy society! When our ego is in control, it’s hard to learn or even accept we need to educate ourselves or improve.

Abdu’l-Baha said…“we must be willing to clear away all that we have previously learned, all that would clog our steps on the way to truth…The principal reason for the decline and fall of peoples is ignorance. Today the mass of the people are uninformed even as to ordinary affairs, how much less do they grasp the core of the important problems and complex needs of the time”

Now don’t get me wrong, hope is not lost. My life itself has been rejuvenated, I have a wonderful Chinese wife and we have started a new family together. Every day in the world, there are undeniable signs of human progress and advancement the likes of which we have not seen in a thousand years.

The Baha’i Universal House of Justice said:

“Yet there is reassurance in the knowledge that, amidst the disintegration, a new kind of collective life is taking shape which gives practical expression to all that is heavenly in human beings. Have hope. It will not always be so.”

Maybe your reading this and thinking, “What’s he going on about? My life is pretty good and everything is great!” Well I’m not talking about how to keep things going the way they are, this is about advancing civilization, probably a few hundred years process in my opinion.
I could go on, but I think I’ve said more than enough to get the thoughts that have burdened my mind for years out in the open to hopefully benefit someone like myself.
So in conclusion, If your reading this and have children and don’t want them to end up in unhappy, broken, divorce affected lives, you have an obligation to educate them to relate effectively with others of all races, classes and personalities. This may mean transforming yourself as a parent first. This starts but should not end with virtues:

“Give them (the children) the advantage of every useful kind of knowledge. Let them share in every new and rare and wondrous craft and art. Bring them up to work and strive, and accustom them to hardship. Teach them to dedicate their lives to matters of great import, and inspire them to undertake studies that will benefit mankind.” – Abdu’l-Baha

(accustoming children to hardship is so key, my spoiled western upbringing has given me unrealistic expectations that are way too high, a problem most pre 2000 Chinese don’t have)

This is one of the most important principles of the Baha’i faith that attracted me: The principle of universal and compulsory education.
Bahá’u’lláh compared the world of humanity to the human body. Within this organism, millions of cells, diverse in form and function, play their part in maintaining a healthy system. Similarly, harmonious relationships among individuals, communities, and institutions serve to sustain society and allow for the advancement of civilization.

As long as 2 people are willing, There are more and more resources out there to help us reduce the number of relationship casualties. I assisted Baha’i artist Elika Mahony who has been married over 20 years  put together a page dedicated to relationships and marriage here.
http://www.elikamahony.com/home/love-marriage/
John Gottman has also done amazing research to help people with all types of relationships
https://www.gottman.com/about/the-gottman-method/
He says, to make a relationship last, we need to learn how to manage conflict and ‘keep it calm’, generate greater understanding. Baha’is are often too idealistic, thinking they can accomplish today what may take many years to master in eliminating conflict’. Sometimes we need the practical, scientific approach of research to make realistic progress.

I only wish I new as a child or even 20 years ago what I know now. Everyone should have that chance before they embark on their life journey!

This makes paper books seem really boring…

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Check out this highly interactive book:

How cool that it’s a follow up to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth!
If only the education of children in our society was important enough to do this for schools….

Music for Infants

Thursday, July 15th, 2010
As you may know if you’ve read my blog before, I recently adopted a baby boy from Vietnam.
Of course as a music producer, the first music he heard had to be something I had composed, and appropriately I had some music created just for infants for a video project I was involved in that never got released.
So I thought I should share a sample of it I call ‘Wonder Funtime’:

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I am no expert when it comes to music and children, especially infants, but I did some research and used my instincts to come up with some music that I hoped was appropriate for young ears and delicate minds.
I’ll let you be the judge if I succeeded in that effort. Not sure what I’ll do with this music as I still own the rights, perhaps I should put out an album or license it for something…
Of course Evan loved it and was quite mesmerized.
He loves sound of all kinds, so the bells and vocal like horns seemed to appeal to him.
Next I think I’ll introduce him to some jazz.
Evan Binh Minh 7 months

Adoption denied due to membership in Baha’i faith

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Today, on the inauguration of Baha’i Rights Day, most people are posting about the persecution of Baha’is in Iran. But persecution of Baha’is is certainly not limited to Iran.

Over a month ago, I posted about how we were facing discrimination in adopting a Korean baby due to our being members of the Baha’i faith.

Despite a personal visit to the Government run agency in Korea by the top administration of the Baha’i faith in Korea, which revealed significant ignorance of the faith, the agency returned our dossier (all our application papers and funds) last week and sent our local agency a letter claiming the refusal of the adoption.
The fact that they have returned all our application papers last week and have made a final decision so quickly shows they are no longer willing to discuss this case, and it is now officially closed, as nothing can be done without those papers.

This not only affects our adoption, and any Korean Baha’is that may want to adopt in that country, but people of many other faiths adopting from other countries as well. The fact that the limited resources of the international Baha’i community are focused on the possible execution of 7 Baha’is arrested in Iran for their beliefs makes our case insignificant at the moment.

All I want to see is some justice in this case, especially considering that the agency could have informed us 6 months before, and not proposed a child to us if they had issues with our beleifs. The failure on their part to do this would no doubt guarantee successful results if pursued legally.

However we live in a world where injustice prevails and is the standard. Here we are, trying to adopt a baby from 4 different countries for over 5 years now, and despite being ideal candidates and fulfilling all legal, health, psychological, financial, and social requirements one needs to adopt, nationalism of countries and the lack of value for children in our society has left us unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, Mothers abort babies every day, have children that they don’t want, and abuse them at will with little consequences.

If anything, our world has little respect for children, and is becoming more complacent and less tolerant of others beliefs than ever. The only recourse is to spread information of this case, and others far and wide so that people of faith are aware and can show the world that this is actually NOT acceptable, and we won’t be complacent when discriminated against.

Facing discrimination because I’m a Baha’i

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Recently, after 4 years of trying internationally, we were ecstatic to receive a proposal to adopt a baby boy from Korea in April.
We were shocked to hear yesterday that the government adoption agency in Korea, Social Welfare Society, has suddenly refused our adoption based on our membership to the Baha’i faith. The adoption would have completed sometime in August.

I never thought we would have to deal with discrimination based on our beliefs, which is unacceptable for many reasons, one being that in the long list of requirements to adopt from Korea, there was no mention of any religious restrictions. In addition, if there were concerns, these could have been brought up early in the process after Korea received our initial information rather than now, near the completion, after we have received detailed information on the baby and made significant time, financial, and emotional investment.
Add to this the fact that Baha’is are not only one of the most gentle and agreeable and nonthreatening people on the planet, but also have a deep respect and high regard for children and their education and upbringing.

Our agency says this is the most shocking thing they’ve encountered in their many years pioneering international adoption.

We are already in touch with the highest Baha’i administration in Korea. Rest assured, we will be taking steps to see justice is done.

How low the importance of children is in our society

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

It never ceases to amaze me exactly how low the importance of children is in our society in terms of the priorities of things in our culture, country, political system etc.

Lately, this painful reminder came during a meeting with our local government adoption agency, who handle children with possible developmental issues that we are considering as we expand our family.
Apparently, due to ‘privacy of information’ the government cannot obtain any medical information about the mother, and therefore know little to be able to help with a child’s health and future development. Considering the lack of care, and often self abuse that goes on in many cases with biological parents of these children, this means very serious consequences for the future of any child that is without a family (in the area I live in alone, there are thousands – all with developmental disorders that can’t be identified until the children are old enough for this to have caused major problems)

You could argue that I am ignorant of how the system works, but I like to think I know injustice when I see it.
Approaching this from a purely materialistic and non-spiritual perspective, as a politician, what could possibly be the incentive for not passing an amendment for the freedom of information act allowing personal privacy to a mother who is a drug addict, on welfare, alcoholic etc. that demands full medical records of that person for the sake of being able to provide the best care to that baby possible? (a mother who uses during pregnancy often causes irreparable damage)
How do special interest groups, corporate incentives, and all the other groups that politicians actually serve besides themselves, actually benefit from protecting the medical records of a mother who cannot take care of her child? Shouldn’t the rights of that child outweigh the rights of it’s mother? What is the incentive for that not to be the case?

I understand the low priority of children in a corrupt, un-spiritual system, but what I cannot fathom is as a politician, focusing on the materialistic and business perspective of this issue, a child is a future taxpayer! If we are going to ignore all good and virtuous motivations, for the sake of future income through the total taxes each of us pay in our lifetime, one would think the government would protect a child like a golden asset, growing to provide future millions of dollars to the government! But even THAT is not enough of an incentive for politicians to put priority on the care and education of our children.

If that doesn’t show absolute and irrepreperable corruption of the ‘modern democracy’ and political system, I don’t know what does. It’s hard to believe anyone is naive enough to have any faith left in this current system. It’s way beyond band aids and solutions, the only thing that can save it now is a total collapse. USA, lead the way!