Kazakhstan: Spiritual principles basis for strengthening the family
ASTANA, Kazakhstan — A series of national gatherings held by the Bahá’í Office of Public Affairs in Kazakhstan have brought together government officials, scientists, representatives of faith communities and civil society organizations to explore the flourishing of family life in light of a conception of human nature that sees nobility in each human being.
“If we believe someone is a noble being, then we will treat them that way,” said Lyazzat Yangaliyeva of the Office in an interview with the News Service, in which she and Timur Chekparbayev, another member of the Office, shared some of the insights emerging from the recent national gatherings.
Ms. Yangaliyeva explained that discussions in these forums explore the transformative impact on familial interactions when there is an acknowledgment of the intrinsic dignity and inherent worth of every individual. “This perspective safeguards not only each family member from biases and domination, but also enriches the dynamics extending beyond the familial sphere.”
Echoing this idea, Mr. Chekparbayev noted that these discussions highlight how many societal issues can be traced back to a prevalent view of human beings as primarily self-centered and materialistically driven. “So often, human progress is equated with satisfying one’s own needs, irrespective of the effect on one’s neighbors, fellow citizens, or the world,” he said.
However, a promising development, added Mr. Chekparbayev, is the emergence of discussions in these forums that challenge deeply rooted assumptions by promoting new concepts such as selfless service to society. This shift in understanding, he suggested, could lead to a re-evaluation of what constitutes true progress and wellbeing in both personal and collective contexts.
Ms. Yangaliyeva, drawing on insights from the Bahá’í community-building endeavors in Kazakhstan, shared observations of evolving dynamics within families and communities: “We are seeing constructive patterns emerging in both family and community life, particularly when individuals foster a desire to serve others and contribute to social betterment.” This focus, she noted, encourages a shift from self-centered behaviors to more outward-oriented actions.
She emphasized the crucial role of moral education in this transformative process. “The family, as the most fundamental unit within society, plays a pivotal role in shaping an individual’s habits and patterns of conduct. It is in this intimate setting that essential qualities and capacities for broader service to society are nurtured.”
These discussions have closely examined various traditional family dynamics, acknowledging that some can diminish the voice and participation of women in family affairs and, consequently, in broader societal spheres.
Ms. Yangaliyeva noted that this examination has underscored the importance of adopting constructive practices that promote equality and reduce conflict within families.
She added that attendees have noted the principle of consultation as a promising method for fostering constructive interactions that go beyond decision-making—it serves as a means for nurturing respect, compassion, and mutual support within families.
Mr. Chekparbayev further elaborated on this concept, saying: “Consultation is essential in cultivating stronger family relationships and building a resilient family unit, more capable of facing life’s challenges.
“It empowers individuals within the family, enhancing their ability to make meaningful contributions to society at large.”
The Office has planned several discussions on these themes for the coming months as part of its broader contribution to the discourse on the family’s role in societal progress.