My Understanding of How to Bring Up a Young Practitioner
(Clearwisdom.net) Lately, there have been many articles on how to raise young practitioners. I have a four year old child, so I am very interested in this subject, and would like to take this opportunity to exchange my views with other practitioners.
1. In the cultivation process, there are no accidents
My own experience is that whatever happens to my child is a reflection of my own status. If I look inward to remove my attachments, any problems with the child disappear immediately. For example, this past May, my son's sinuses were flowing continuously. I asked him jokingly, "Did you look inward to understand why your sinuses are flowing?" He replied, "Because my mother did not ask me to read Zhuan Falun along with her." I answered, "I asked you to look inward yourself. Instead, you put the blame on me. Didn't I ask you to read Zhuan Falun, and you said no?" When I finished talking, I immediately realized that I was the one who had not looked inward. It is the mother's responsibility to establish a proper life style for her child. A three and a half year-old child cannot setup a life style for himself. Once I asked him to read Zhuan Falun along with me, his sinus flow stopped.
From that time on, he read five to six pages of Zhuan Falun daily. When we reached chapter five, I was very busy with work and did not ask him to read along with me. After two months, I asked him to read with me again. After finishing only two pages, he said, "This is too long. I can't read anymore." I was quite surprised, remembering that he did not have difficulty reading five pages in the past. How can two pages be excessive? Then I realized that I was working on a way to validate the Fa, but I stopped because I encountered some difficulties. I knew that I should have continued with the validation, but had not come up with a viable approach. This problem is similar to my son's issue. With this realization, I restarted my validation work. The very next day when I asked my son to read along with me, he did so without any difficulty. I said, "It is quite simple. Is it not? What is needed is to focus on what you do." He answered, "Yes". I realized that I was making this statement to myself also.
2. Attachments that are still with us
Many concepts and ideas of a young practitioner are also hidden ideas or concepts of our own. For practitioners, the joy of improving our character may be the result of painful experiences. If we are not sufficiently clear about this, it will affect a young practitioner. For example, after a child attends school, he may find that ordinary people are free to do many things, while practitioners are told to monitor their own actions. My child once asked me, "Why can't I do this or that, when others can?" I said, "You are a practitioner, and should have a higher standard." He answered, "I am willing to be an everyday person." I explained to him, "Everyday people lead difficult lives. They do not know the cosmic laws and must experience sickness, old age and death. They do not have a teacher to guide them. On the other hand, practitioners are fortunate, because the Master looks after them. Do you still want to be an everyday person?" He answered, "No."
The fact is that everyday people do not have a joyful day. They are afraid of sickness, loss of jobs, loss of benefits, and are concerned about how they are being treated. No one receives whatever they desire. A practitioner may have to endure some pain, but in return he improves his character.
If we are not clear about this reasoning, or do not remove our hidden attachments, we will not be able to guide the young practitioners. Actually, what your child is doing is actually a test of how well you understand the Fa. It is like taking tests regularly, and you will see your scores as well. If you are slacking off, you may not even know that you have missed the opportunity.
Young practitioners usually have a predestined relationship, and learn the Fa at an early age; this is not by accident. They have relatively few attachments and therefore may understand the Fa better than their parents in some ways. They cannot be looked upon as a "lower class". If their parents constantly feel that they are a "lower class," then they may end up that way. We need to understand that the parents are the cause of this problem.
Consider this situation -- a young practitioner gives up his cultivation practice because his parents are being persecuted. This is similar to a practitioner in a labor camp, being forced to give up cultivation. The purpose of the old forces is to force practitioners to give up their cultivation practice. We cannot acknowledge this. I have read many articles about young practitioners who have given up their cultivation practice, and their parents felt that there was not much that they could do. This feeling of helplessness is what the old forces use regularly. We must let go of this attachment and follow the Master's teaching openly and honestly.
3. Validating the Fa and clarifying the truth by young practitioners
It is my understanding that a young practitioner has a mission to validate the Fa and save sentient beings. However, this requires assistance from the parents. For example, when my child was three years old, he insisted on bringing truth clarification materials to school. These materials included pictures of torture, burning the body, and the removal of organs from a living person. I believed that these pictures could cause misunderstandings, so I invited the teachers to my home, and spoke to them about the pictures first, before I let my child take them to school.
When my child went to another school, he wanted me to do the exercises in the school courtyard while he played some games there after school hours. I used this opportunity to speak to the school teachers about Falun Gong, and asked for their permission to perform the exercises there. Many children came to watch me doing the exercises. Depending upon their ages, I gave them books or truth clarifying materials to take home to their parents.
The above is my understanding of how to bring up a young practitioner. Please point out anything that is not appropriate.