Helping Our Children Practitioners Cultivate
(Clearwisdom.net) After I read "Fellow Practitioners: Please Share Ideas on How to Help Young Practitioners Persist in Their Cultivation" (http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2008/9/14/100630.html), I wanted to share my ideas on how I helped child practitioners.
My ten-year-old son started his cultivation practice when he was seven. I understand that he is with us because of Master's arrangement and he is here to cultivate. I read Zhuan Falun to him when he was very young and I let him watch Master's lectures on video. One day he was sick and there was no sign of improvement even after giving him medicine. He told us that he wanted to practice Falun Gong. I was really happy for him, because regardless of why he wanted to cultivate, his Buddha nature had emerged. He got better in a week without taking any more medicine.
I often reminded him that he should follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and that the key was to improve his character. He agreed, but contact with his teachers, classmates, and the school environment was interfering with his cultivation. Furthermore, he was not diligent in studying the Fa. In the beginning, I didn't pay much attention, thinking that he was still a child. This idea turned out to be an obstruction to his improvement. One day a classmate of his stepped on his toe and really hurt it. The doctor said that it would require surgery, because it was difficult to stop infection underneath the nail. I told him that he had a choice--either follow his doctor's recommendation or Master's teaching. In the latter case, he should spend more time studying the Fa, always tell the truth, be nice to his classmates, and check inside himself. If he did, Master would help him remove karma. He decided to follow Master's teaching and he recovered in less than two months.
This incident indicated to me that Master is always looking after child practitioners. If they do not do well, that is because we are using human standards and fail to ask them to follow the Fa. In other words, we are not doing our part.
Last year on a school holiday, I told him that as a practitioner he must study the Fa, and that cultivation was a serious matter. We read Zhuan Falun together. Over time he understood that Master helped him eliminate his karma. Generally, a third grader can read Zhuan Falun. During the winter holiday this year I asked him to recite Hong Yin. Then, during the summer we studied Zhuan Falun, Essentials for Further Advancement, and the lectures in Guangzhou and Dalian. His wisdom is growing and he is doing better in school and extra curricular activities. He understands that the time spent on studying the Fa actually helps him in his school work. He is not attached to improving his grades, but his academics have improved naturally.
Of course, it's not easy to be diligent in studying the Fa. As a child he wants to study less and play more (but this could also be due to interference). I arrange time for him to study and play. I believe a child needs guidance. When we are telling people about the Fa, we have to take into account the special traits and the attachments of our audience. Similarly, depending on the child's character, we need to use wisdom to sensibly guide the child along the path of cultivation.
Studying the Fa is most important for the child. It can remove the culture of the Communist Party and allow him to learn what is right and wrong. He may not be able to follow the Fa right away, but it lays down a very good foundation for him. Once the seed of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is planted, it will grow.
We should also be careful how we conduct ourselves in front of children. If I do something wrong, I apologize to him. I allow him to remind me of any mistakes I make and thank him for it. In dealing with other people in front children, we must make sure that we behave like practitioners. (That is, we must follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.) In so doing, we are cultivating ourselves, too.
Whatever is going on around me, I apply the Fa to assess it and discuss it with my son. I let him know that we always use the Fa to guide us and not the reasoning of ordinary people. Whenever I can, I bring him along to distribute Falun Gong informational materials. If he feels uneasy, I comfort him and tell him to say in his mind "Falun Dafa is good," or to send forth righteous thoughts. Upon returning home I tell him that we have saved many sentient beings. This makes him happy. Depending on his state I don't force him to clarify the truth. Every evening I read to him Zhuan Falun or articles dealing with how young practitioners should cultivate. I let him decide what he should do. There are times when he wants to save the sentient beings on his own.
Another point is that many children like to hear stories. We can read some stories from the Minghui/Clearwisdom website that deal with "you reap what you sow." Children like these kinds of stories and the concepts they acquire also helps remove the atheistic view of communist teachings. You can also download MP3 audio files from the Sound of Hope and Minghui websites that are intended for children. Actually, many articles and books are good for all ages, for example, "Culture from God," "Folk Tales," "Happy to Learn the 3-Character Classic," "Idiom Stories," "Investiture of the Gods," "Transmission of Dafa," etc. I downloaded them to an MP3 player and let him listen to them while resting or playing. Sometimes my husband, who is not a practitioner, also listens. These stories are entertaining, increase our knowledge base, and establish correct views on life. They contradict the atheistic view and help people understand the persecution to some extent.
In short, to help child practitioners, we need to use wisdom and pay attention to the character and age of the child. The aim is to guide the child to study the Fa. Usually I study the Fa with him. It is our responsibility to help our children establish the habit of Fa-study. This is critical. Master said in "Drive out Interference" (from Essentials for Further Advancement II), "The Fa can break all attachments, the Fa can destroy all evil, the Fa can shatter all lies, and the Fa can strengthen righteous thoughts." Regardless of your level, the Fa can provide guidance. It is clear why studying the Fa is essential and can form a good foundation for future growth. At the same time, we need to carefully watch how we conduct ourselves. By constantly improving ourselves we set a good example for our children.
The above is my understanding of how to help children practitioners. I hope it will be useful to fellow practitioners.