Ramesh used to say that the teaching of reverence should be an essential part of every children education. But he also pointed out that the faculty of reverence was innate in all human beings, and that the teaching of reverence meant simply the drawing out or developing, and the guidance, of this faculty.
This can best be done through stories of heroic actions and good deeds, and the examples of noble and good men. Children are great hero-worshippers; and the chief thing in teaching them reverence is to put before them for their worship heroes who are worthy of their respect, admiration and imitation.
Irreverence is a serious defect in character. It may arise from an unfortunate experience in childhood. If a child is badly brought up, and surrounded with mean and selfish and bad people, he may grow up to be a cynical man. Cynical means doubting the very existence of real honesty, unselfishness, heroism and virtue.
A man who believes that all apparently good deeds are done from a bad motive, and that no man is really honest and no woman really pure, is a cynic: and cynic reveres nothing. Such an attitude of mind is fatal, and can produce nothing but unhappiness or a vicious life. Irreverence may also be due to conceit. A vain fellow, who thinks he is better and clever in very way than anyone else, will have course anyone. Such a man may be cured of irreverence if the conceit can be knocked out of him.
Most people, however, revere something or someone. But their reverence is often misguided. The savage kneeling down in a awe and fear and worship before an idol of stone or wood, is full of reverence; but he is in his blind ignorance, groping after some being whom he can reverence and worship; and when the true God is revered to him, he will turn away from his image and transfer his reverence to Him who alone is worthy of it.
We must learn to give reverence where reverence is due-to God, and to real goodness, nobility and heroism in man; and we must also learn to despise all that is unworthy of reverence, such as all worldly success that is due to trickery, mere wealth, and brag. For to revere a man simply because he is rich, is to be no better than the savage worshipping an idol.