THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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379. Is the spirit living in the body of a child as developed as that of an adult?
“Possibly even more so, if it had progressed farther before reincarnation. The imperfection of its organs is what prevents the spirit from manifesting itself. It acts according to the method available to express itself.”


380. During infancy, despite the imperfection of its organs hindering its full expression, does a spirit think as a child or an adult?
“While existing as a child, a spirit’s organs of intelligence do not give it the complete intuition of an adult as they are not yet fully developed. The individual’s intellect is narrow in scope, until age has matured his or her reason. The confusion that accompanies incarnation does not immediately end at birth; it gradually dissolves with the development of the bodily organs.


Childhood dreams do not have the same character as those of adults. Their object is almost always childish, an indication of the nature of a spirit’s thoughts. This is a perfect example that supports this answer.”


381. When a child dies, does its spirit immediately regain its former energy?
“It should, since it is free from its material envelope, but only when the separation is complete, meaning, when there is no longer any connection between the spirit and the body.”


382. During childhood, does an incarnated spirit suffer from the limitation imposed upon it by the imperfections of its organs?
“No, it is a required part of the natural order and imposed by Providence. It is a time of rest for the spirit.”


383. What is the point of a spirit experiencing childhood?
“The purpose of incarnation is the improvement of the spirit, and childhood makes a spirit more open to the impressions it receives. This may contribute to its advancement, toward which all those responsible for the child’s education and training must contribute.”


384. Why is crying the frst sound an infant makes?
“They cry in order to stimulate the interest of their mothers in them and ensure that they care for their needs. If children uttered only cries of joy before being able to speak, those around them would not be overly concerned with their needs. God’s wisdom should be admired in all designs.”


385. Where does the change that occurs in its character at a certain age, particularly upon leaving adolescence, originate? Does the spirit become adapted?
“Upon regaining consciousness, the spirit appears as it was before incarnation. You do not know the secrets that are hidden beneath the apparent innocence of children. You do not know who they are, who they have been, or who they will be. You love and cherish them regardless, as though they were a part of you. This affection is so strong that the love of a mother for her children is believed to be the greatest love that one being can have for another. What is the source of this sweet affection and tenderness that even strangers feel for a child? Do you know its origin? That is precisely what I will now explain to you.”


“God sends children into new lives and gives them all the external appearances of innocence so that they may not accuse God of being unfairly harsh. Even children with a propensity to the worst wickedness are concealed by the unconsciousness of their own acts. This deceptive innocence does not make children superior to their prior lives. It is merely the image of what they should be. If they do not match this image, they alone are to blame for the ensuing atonement.”


“God has not made children this way solely for themselves. God has also done this because of the parents, whose love is so necessary for their survival. This essential love would be greatly reduced if a child’s true shameful nature were on full display. As parents believe that their children are inherently good and gentle, they shower them with affection and care. When children no longer need this assistance, which is given to them for ffteen or twenty years, they reveal their true characters. Those who are truly good at heart remain good, but even then their characters reveal many traits that were once hidden. God’s ways are always for the best, and for the pure in heart, the explanation is always easy.”


“A child born among you may have come from a world in which it has acquired habits that are drastically different from yours. How could this new being, possessing its own passions, inclinations and tastes, adapt to your world if it came in any other fashion than the flter of infancy intended by God? This process merges together all the thoughts, characteristics and types of beings produced by all worlds in which creatures grow. At death, you fnd yourselves in a type of infancy surrounded by a new family of brothers and sisters. You are unaware of the habits, manners and relations of a world that is new to you. You fnd it diffcult to express yourselves in a language that you are not accustomed to and that is more vibrant than your thoughts today.” (See no. 319)


“Childhood also has another purpose. Spirits use the physical life to improve themselves. The weakness of youth renders them more fexible and open to the advice of those whose experience should aid their progress. This is how bad predispositions are repressed, and fawed characters are gradually reformed. This repression and reformation is a God-given duty for parents, a sacred mission for which parents are fully accountable. Childhood is not only useful, but indispensable, just like all of God’s laws that govern the universe.”

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