(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings Respected Master, Greetings Fellow Practitioners. My name is Rong Jing, from New Jersey, and the title of my sharing is: Cultivating with Innocent and Pure Children Is My Honor
1. Taking Opportunities to Spread Dafa to American Children in the School Where I Work
I am a teacher at an American public school. At first I worked as a substitute teacher and this provided me opportunities to work with children of different races and age groups. Typical American children are very energized, curious and active, which makes it hard to keep them in order. It was my biggest wish for these American children to learn Dafa. I was not a very experienced teacher at that time, and it was quite a challenge for me to spread Dafa to the children.
Not too long after I started working, an art teacher went on maternity leave. I was assigned to teach all of the school's art classes. As a matter of fact, I am not very good at art. However, I knew it was a great opportunity for me to spread Dafa to those children. I prepared for the classes very carefully, and overcame my nervousness and fear in the classroom. Soon, I could handle the art classes easily, and received recognition from the school for my good work.
In order to teach the students about Dafa, I started "Chinese Culture Month" activities in my art classes. During the first week, I introduced students to China's 5000 years of glorious history and rich culture. When talking about Beijing, I told them about Tiananmen Square. In the following week, I started talking about Dafa to the students. I printed the characters "Falun Dafa is good" and "Truth, Compassion, Tolerance" in both Chinese and English. I had the lower grade students color them, and higher grade students try to copy the characters in addition to coloring them. The children were very interested in learning how to write Chinese characters, so I taught them how to write "Falun Dafa is good" and "Truth, Compassion, Tolerance" stroke by stroke on the blackboard. I also taught them how to pronounce the Chinese words. The children learned the writing and pronunciation of the Pudu and Jishi music, and the class was in good order. To my surprise, even though it was the first time for most children, their Chinese handwriting was very nice. Later, I played the 12-minute video "Falun Dafa in New Jersey". I also taught them the song "Falun Dafa is good". In the last week, I taught them to read the Hongyin poems by Teacher, short poems for lower grades and the whole book for higher grades. The students would repeat each sentence after me. This way, I brought the greatness of Dafa to about 400 American children in four grades within several weeks.
One time in class the children were sitting on the floor, and I noticed some children sat very well with their legs crossed. A thought came to my mind, "I should try to teach them the sitting exercise." The children were making lot of noise at that time and another teacher kept yelling, "Be quiet!" "Stop talking!", yet the classroom was not quiet. The phone rang and the other teacher went to answer the phone. I told the children I wanted to teach them Falun Gong and asked them to follow my instruction. At first I tried to differentiate the different hand gestures for boys and girls. Soon I realized it was not appropriate in that circumstance. So I started doing the hand movements myself and asked the children to follow me. The children paid attention and followed me. Several children even sat with their legs crossed very nicely. I kept encouraging them: "Very good, keep going." The other teacher was surprised: "Great, they all settled down. They must have liked to listening to you, why don't you keep practicing with them. I will be back soon." The noisy classroom became very quiet, and I knew that it was the power of Dafa and Master.
After that day, I started thinking that all the children knew about Dafa and listened to the music, so it would be great if I could start teaching them the exercises. One day, the school notified me that the gym teacher was sick, and I had to teach gym classes. "What am I going to teach?" I asked. The response I got was, "It is your decision, you can teach them whatever you want." I realized that my wish had come true again. I prepared the 30 minute exercise music and pictures of children practicing, along with my little tape player. The next day, in five classes, I taught about 100 children the five exercises. My experience was that children are different from adults. They could not keep the same position for a long time, and the position might not be accurate. But they remember this is Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, and there are more than 100 million people around the world practicing it. Some other teachers also joined the children to learn the exercises.
Maybe it is because I am the only Chinese person in the school that all of the children know me. I do not teach the art class any more, but lots of children still call me art teacher, and some call me Ms. Chinese. A little girl says to me clearly in Chinese "Master, Falun Dafa" every time she sees me, she is so lovely.
American children also need to learn about Dafa. It is possible to make Dafa part of the mainstream of our society. As long as we have the sincere wish, Master will give us the opportunities. My process of spreading Dafa at school in the past several years is also a process to cultivate myself. The children were mirrors for me and I could see my shortcomings from their reactions. When I had the attachment of fear and could not relax in the classroom, the results would not be good. Sometimes when I ran into children with bad tempers who did not follow instructions, I might not be able to control my anger. I even punished them by making them copy down the classroom rules when I was angry. However, when I could keep a calm heart and clear mind, the children would behave very well. The power of Dafa and the Benevolence of Master helped me to change the children's behavior dramatically. The school recognized my achievement. This year the headmaster talked to me in person and encouraged me to teach Falun Gong to other teachers. Lots of teachers learned the exercises and bought Dafa books. To help in the effort of rescuing Charles Li, dozens of teachers, including the deputy headmaster, signed the petition requesting the Chinese government stop the brutal persecution against Falun Gong practitioners.
2. My Experience of Participating in Minghui School Work
Before coming to the U.S., I worked for the Chinese Custom Bureau for ten years. At that time, although I had a good job and good life, I seldom felt satisfied. I actually considered myself to be quite unfortunate. After coming to the U. S., the pressure of work and learning once made me feel that I was the unluckiest person in the world. After I started practicing Falun Dafa in 1997, through constantly cultivating in Dafa, my thinking went through a huge change. In the past I only liked pretty and smart children. When I encountered children who were disobedient, I felt impatient from the bottom of my heart and I wanted to stay as far away from them as possible. Now, although I don't have my own children, I treat all children like they were my own. I cherish this cultivation path that Teacher has arranged for me. I feel so lucky that I can be with pure and innocent children. Therefore, last year I talked to a local assistant and volunteered to try working in the Minghui School. After cultivating in the Minghui School for the past year, I have been greatly tempered and also improved my character.
Last May, when I announced the opening of the Minghui School, I met with approval from the majority of practitioners. Nevertheless, when I really started putting it into actual practice, it was not as easy as I thought. At the beginning we held classes at my home. I remembered the first time, many children and their parents came over, and their reactions were good after they left. Afterwards, because we had many different activities, some practitioners stopped sending their children over to the Minghui School. Some practitioners thought that we had so many Dafa projects and so many people waiting in China to be saved. "Our children already practice Falun Dafa, is it necessary to send them to the Minghui School?" With regard to this, my understanding is that at present the Minghui School is a rare environment created for young practitioners to get together to study the Fa and practice the exercises. Although young practitioners have predestined relationships, they are after all still children who like to play and not as aware of their actions. Consequently, if their parents are busy, their cultivation will slack off. It is just like how Master said that an environment for group Fa-study and exercise practice is important to us. In the same sense, it is even more so for children. Master points out in the article "Environment:"
"This is because all those whom you come into contact with in society are everyday people. What is more, they are everyday people who have undergone a rapid decline in human morality. In this big dye vat, people can only drift along with the current." (Essentials for Further Advancement)
What children come in contact with is the human world. They quickly accept things and are also quickly contaminated with bad habits. Therefore, an environment for group Fa-study and exercise practice is definitely necessary for them. At present, many practitioners have indeed neglected their own children's education because they have been busy with Dafa projects. Some practitioners probably think that their children have already practiced Falun Gong, and this is something that doesn't need a lot of attention. Actually, some young practitioners started practicing Falun Dafa early, they have seen Master's nine-day lectures and have read through the book Zhuan Falun, and they also have participated in many Fa conferences and activities, yet their conduct does not reflect that they are young Falun Dafa practitioners. Since I had already noticed this problem and being a person in charge of the school, I must be responsible for these children and be responsible for Dafa. I quietly made up my mind, even if there was only one kid, I would still persist in holding classes.
At the end of last year, the person in charge of the New York Minghui School had a new baby, so another practitioner and I covered the work for the two Minghui Schools. Whenever we had joint classes, my husband would drive me and several kids in the New Jersey area to attend classes held at Columbia University in New York.
Next I would like to introduce to you the four sessions of summer camp we conducted in the New Jersey and New York Minghui Schools for two consecutive years. Each summer camp only lasted for four days, yet the effect we got was beyond our imagination. It greatly inspired us. We are also more confident with the future development of the Minghui School.
The first year, fifteen children participated in our summer camp. The number of children increased to twenty-seven in the second summer camp and this year we had forty children participating in our summer camp. Since we had so many children we had to divide them into two sessions. They were kids from six to sixteen years old. We persisted in spending six to seven hours studying the Fa, practicing the exercises and sending righteous thoughts together as a group. We also emphasized teaching children to conduct themselves well by following the guiding principles of the Fa in their daily lives. We set the three things that Master asked us to do as our goal. We also paid attention to helping the children develop the sense of a whole body.
A. Fully Utilizing This Environment and Intensifying Group Fa-Study
I remember last year in the 2nd summer camp when we did group Fa-study. At the beginning it was somewhat difficult. For one thing, it was the first time some of the children listened to the Fa-teaching, so it was hard for them to keep still for a long time. Another problem was that the small children would move around or keep talking, and they could not sit down at all. As a result, the group as a whole had a hard time quieting down. With regard to this, first we calmed our minds, but we did not force all the children to immediately sit still. For those children who were able to listen carefully to the Fa-teaching, we encouraged them with our smiles; for those who could not quiet down, we did not complain to them or lose patience with them. We occasionally pulled them over to our sides and signaled them to sit down. I discovered that when we let go of the attachment of making the children study the Fa, when we were able to first remain unaffected in that environment and were able to meet the standard, the power of the Fa was magnificent. First of all, the big children were no longer affected by the small children and they started focusing on listening to the Fa-teaching. Then, the small children also gradually quieted down. They stopped walking around and started sitting down, and eventually they quietly listened to the Fa-teaching along with everyone. The same thing happened in the following sessions of summer camp.
Indeed, for one or two dozen children of different ages and different areas to be able to gather together and sit quietly for a long time to study the Fa--it is hard for ordinary people to imagine this. Only in a school like this can such an amazing yet real scenario occur. Here, we would like to express our gratitude to Master's watching over us. Thank you, our respected Master.
B. Stressing Genuine Cultivation; Constantly Referring to the Fa to Guide Children to Solve Specific Problems
Whenever there was problem, we immediately organized the children for discussion and referred to Fa-principles to help them solve specific problems. For example, once three children fought over a toy and would not give in to each other. One girl felt so bad that she started to cry. The rest of the children made various comments on the side and expressed their different takes on the situation. After finding out about it, I first asked the three children to tell the truth and to each tell us what really happened. Then I tried to inspire the children's compassionate thoughts and told them that they should learn to share and think of others first. Whenever there was conflict, we hoped that they could be tolerant and generous. I also stressed Master's teaching regarding "looking inward" in "Lecture at the Western United States Fa Conference":
" When two people have a conflict both should look for the causes within themselves, "What problem do I have here?" Each should search for his own problem. If a third person witnesses the conflict between the two, I would say that it's not accidental for this third person to see it, and he should also think it over: "'Why did I see their conflict? Is it because I still have some shortcomings?'"
After listening to the Fa-teaching, the children all calmed down. The three children who thought they were right also lowered their heads and said one after another, "It was me that was wrong. If I had not insisted on..." Other children around them also remembered similar things that had happened before and realized that they forgot to act like cultivators, so they were all looking outward. After coming to the understanding that we should think of each other first, the children very quickly made up and happily played together again. Afterwards, similar incidents never happened again.
In addition, one thing that we should not neglect when running the Minghui School is communicating with students' parents on a long-term basis. It is also important to get the students' parents' cooperation. After being with children night and day for four days, I had a pretty good understanding of the children. Giving parents feedback on their children's existing problems is my responsibility and is also a way to eliminate the attachment to affection in my cultivation. I felt that as long as I was doing it for the good of the children but not with a criticizing or complaining attitude, parents should be able to accept it. Because I stressed communicating with parents, through exchanging information on their children's problems, I established a common understanding with the parents. This was also a rare cultivation process for practitioners and me. This year, practitioners in Philadelphia and Connecticut also started sending their children over to our school. One practitioner spent four hours every day driving her children back and forth.
One thing worth mentioning is that this year two non-practitioner parents also sent their children to our summer camp. After practicing Falun Dafa, their children went through dramatic changes. Their parents were greatly inspired and shocked by the children's improvement. After the summer camp was over, the parents accompanied the two children to again attend our Minghui School's classes. Another example is a practitioner couple with their two children. Before the summer camp, they did not practice Falun Dafa, nor did the children speak Chinese. After attending the summer camp, the two children really started practicing Falun Dafa and they changed dramatically. Within only a short period of four days, they were able to remember and recite by heart seven or eight poems. This was a great inspiration to their parents' cultivation. Ever since then, the couple took the initiative to offer great help for the summer camp's meals and lodging.
After working for the Minghui School, I felt deeply that this environment not only was good for children's cultivation, it was also a good opportunity for improving myself in cultivation. We are not just doing a simple matter of leading a group of children to study the Fa and practice the exercises. In ordinary people's schools, there's only the relationship of teaching and learning--however, we have an even greater responsibility. I often feel an invisible pressure that comes from the verification of my Fa-study, because our conduct will directly affect our children's conduct. Our own cultivation state is a silent form of impact to our children. When our minds reach the standard they are supposed to reach, the energy field around us will be peaceful and what we say will have power, and our children will listen to us. Otherwise, simply lecturing them or giving them orders will be in vain.
Consequently, our own genuine cultivation should be our first priority. Dafa encompasses everything, and Master's Fa can solve all problems. Therefore, as long as we study the Fa more in our daily life, keep the Fa in our minds and we ourselves first have a deeper understanding of Dafa, then, whenever different problems arise, we'll be able to follow the Fa-principles properly. Then based on children's characteristics, we'll be able to reason with them or tell them stories, in order to help solve and handle these problems. Children are like an empty piece of paper, they don't have adults' notions and complicated thoughts, and once they understand Fa-principles, they are like what Master said in "Lecture at the First Conference in North America:" "If they practice cultivation they can proceed really fast. They don't have any of the attachments developed later on in life."
Master said in "Lecture at the First Conference in North America:" "I like to watch children very much because their thoughts, minds, and bodies are so pure." It is my honor to be able to practice cultivation with innocent and pure children. Here, I would like to express my gratitude to our respected Master for arranging this cultivation path for me. I believe that with Master and Dafa by our side, as long as we offer our love and patience, make concerted efforts and fully display Dafa practitioners' united strength, we'll be able to make the Minghui School a good school. We will also help our lovely children to fully and truly display Falun Dafa practitioners' strength and power along the Fa-rectification journey.
Thank you Master. Thank you everyone.