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.”