Learning to Pray

July 27, 2022

There often are inconsistencies between quantitative surveys and observable behaviors. Replying something different from what one does or, at least, believes seems to be a common habit. Religious practice seems to be a very illustrative example of this phenomenon.

Brazil features as one of the most religious and conservative countries in global surveys about values. In particular, about the values taught children. According to the World Values Survey Database, Brazilian children are brought up continuously and consistently on the most conservative values across all dimensions in the study: obedience, trust and effort instead of independence, collectivity and imagination, respectively.

In practice, religious temples have had growing difficulty ensuring assiduity by their younger faithful to the weekly ecumenical rituals, the youths’ unequivocal preference for digital entertainments in their free time from studies and chores, reducing their knowledge of mythologies and religious rituals. In short, contemporary children are increasingly less included in the temples’ routine.

No wonder! The attractions in the digital universe are irresistible... In addition, the clergy’s ornate language is less adherent to the plainness of the bits and bytes.

Nonetheless, in the face of the daily brutality, the unfiltered cybernetic violence and the eternal existential questions, there is a void that must be filled with something significant that soothes anguished young minds in search of meaning for life.

Again, there are human questions that precede any institutional framework or technological apparatus. The speed, breadth, complexity, ambiguity and scalability of things in today’s world... the enchantment and wonderment of the future world... nothing is capable of offering complete answers to concerns of a metaphysical nature.

Where do we come from? Where are we headed? Two simple questions... but without conclusive answers on online search tools, social media, gaming platforms, self-help books. It is a fact that the sacred scriptures contain mythological narratives, prophecies and dogmatic commandments as paths for those who believe faithfully. On the other hand, there are scientific postulates for countless aspects of life, but not all... and certainly not for those two simple questions.

This is not a manifesto for religions as something mandatory in children’s lives. Rather, for the expression of spirituality (in its most diverse forms) in children’s and youths’ daily lives.

Learning to pray is one of the main avenues to well-being.


Daniel Augusto Motta é Managing Partner e CEO da BMI Blue Management Institute. Doutor em Economia pela USP, Mestre em Economia pela FGV-EAESP e Bacharel em Economia pela USP. É Alumni OPM Harvard Business School. Atua também como Managing Partner da corporate venture capital WhiteFox sediada em San Francisco (EUA), como Senior Tupinambá Maverick na content tech Bossa.etc e com Membro do Conselho de Administração da Afferolab. Também atua como Diretor de Planejamento Estratégico da UNIBES e Membro do Conselho Deliberativo do MASP. Foi Membro-Fundador da Sociedade Brasileira de Finanças. Foi Professor nos MBAs da Fundação Dom Cabral, Insper, FGV, ESPM e PUC-SP. É autor de diversos artigos publicados por Valor Econômico, EXAME, VocêSA e Folha de São Paulo, e também tem três artigos publicados pela Harvard Business Review Brasil. É autor dos livros best-sellers A Liderança Essencial, Anthesis e Data Insights.