A Stepmother's Responsibility
(Minghui.org) My first marriage didn't last long. When my husband passed away due to chronic kidney disease, I was in my early 30s and my daughter was only three.
I met the man I am married to now through a friend. He was a single father to his daughter, whom he spoiled rotten. He didn't have a lot of money but was honest and kind. We married, and I became a stepmother.
I took up the practice of Falun Dafa in 1997 to improve my health, but I soon realized that it was also morally enlightening. Guided by the Fa principles, I have shown my stepdaughter compassion even when she was hostile toward me, and I eventually helped her turn her life around. She is now very supportive of Dafa and has been blessed accordingly.
The Trying Years
When my now husband and I first got married, my stepdaughter did not even acknowledge me. She loved her mother and resented me. She ignored me for the most part, and if she ever did speak to me, she yelled.
I told her one time, “Dear, it's not polite to talk like that. Anyone who hears you will think you are rude. Why don't you just call me ‘Aunt.’” She started to cry. She cried every time I spoke to her, even though I was trying to be nice.
My daughter and my stepdaughter went to the same elementary school. When they got home from school in the afternoons, my stepdaughter always locked my daughter out and did not let her in until right before I got home from work. My daughter just stood outside or squatted down when she got tired.
Once my daughter was sick, so I took off from work early to take her to the doctor. When I got to our courtyard, I saw my daughter coming out of the house. My stepdaughter kicked the door open right behind her and threw my daughter's school bag out the door. I remained calm, picked up the bag, and went into the house. She shouted, “Take it away!” When I asked her where to, she didn't say anything and started crying.
I got home after work one day and ran into her washing her socks in a plastic basin. When she saw me, she dumped the entire basin of water, along with the socks, into the toilet. I didn't say anything. She then threw the basin, and it landed right by my feet.
I asked her, “Why didn't you just put it down? Why did you have to throw it? It might break if you throw it.” She said, “I was trying to hit you.” I was very angry, but I reminded myself that I was a cultivator and that I needed to stay calm.
My Stepdaughter Drops Out of School
My stepdaughter dropped out of school after the 8th grade. According to her, she was “rudderless.” She spent all her time and allowance in internet cafes, hanging out with older kids. She is a tall, pretty girl and attracted a lot of attention wherever she went.
Once she lied to me and said she was going to visit her mother for two days. When her friends came looking for her the next day, I told them that she was with her mother. They said she didn't stay there and had already come back. I was very worried, but didn't know where to look for her. Her friends told me to try the internet cafes.
I took time off from work and looked all over the city. I had no clue where all the internet cafes were, so I got a cab and told the driver to stop at every single one that he knew until I finally found her.
When she saw me standing in front of her, she was not surprised at all. She asked, “What are you doing here?” I said calmly, “Let's go home. Stop playing. Your dad is looking all over for you and is worried out of his mind.” She said, “I'll go home when I'm ready.”
My husband hardly ever disciplines his daughter, so I had to be the bad cop sometimes. I told her, “If you want to move out, you don't have to worry about me. But think about your father—he is already in his 50s and is doing manual labor to provide for you. He loves you so much. Are you sure you want to do this to him?” She said, “If I do move out, it's because you’ve driven me out.” I was so angry that I was shaking. I just couldn't stay calm, however hard I tried.
Figuring Out Where I Fell Short
For several days, I couldn't get her hurtful words out of my head. A co-worker asked me, “What's the matter? You look like you're going to cry.” I forced a smile and told her, “I'm okay.” But, truthfully, I wanted to have a good cry. I couldn't figure out where I had fallen short. When she went missing, I was so worried and looked all over for her. I treated her like my own daughter. Why couldn't she see all that I did for her?
Master's new lecture at the Philadelphia Fa Conference had just been published. When I read the phrase “ an extremely immense tolerance,” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A.” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference II), all my resentment and anger melted away, as if a door to my heart had been opened. I realized that I was not tolerant enough. Master's words awakened me, and I knew what I was supposed to do.
I made dumplings the next day and planned to have a talk with her. When she was heading out before dinner, I asked her to stay and help me make dumplings. She sneered.
I said, “I want to talk to you. You and I have had a lot of conflicts and arguments lately. I have cultivated in Dafa for years, but I haven't done well. It's my fault. I haven't been patient with you.” She started to cry before I could even finish.
I went on and talked about the principles of Dafa, our relationship, and the family. We had a really good talk. Although I did most of the talking, she listened quietly and nodded every now and then.
My stepdaughter met a young man from Hubei and the two started dating. She went with him to visit one of his relatives once without letting us know. My husband and I had no clue where she was. We called all of her friends, and one of them said that she had “left with a guy from Hubei.” I didn't know what to think. I thought she’d been kidnapped. She was only a teenager, and I was so worried about her safety.
I called her mother, and we took a train to Harbin and looked for her at the central train station. I realized how much I cared about her, and was so worried that I cried out loud at one point. Her mother, on the other hand, was calm and collected. She tried to comfort me and said, “Don't worry. She’ll be okay.” When we finally found her, she didn't understand why we were so worried.
I never brought up this incident again after we returned home. I felt very sad when I thought about where her life was headed. After giving it much thought, I had a long talk with her and finally convinced her to go back to school.
My Stepdaughter Finally Turns Things Around
I am a cultivator and I try to be kind and always consider others. As a stepmom, I care about both my daughters equally and give them the same amount of love. I always put my husband's daughter before my own and gradually earned her respect.
Her attitude toward me changed, and, through me, she saw that Dafa practitioners are truly good people. She now tells everyone that I am a good stepmom. Even her mother said to me, “You are so good to her.”
I was arrested and detained by the local 610 Office agents in 2003 for my faith in Falun Dafa. My stepdaughter told me later that, right after my arrest, she put all my Dafa books in her school bag and took them to a friend's house. She also went to warn another local practitioner so that she could get away in time. I was so proud of her.
Her support of Dafa also brought her blessings. My stepdaughter and her husband got into an accident in 2014. The brakes on their car failed on the freeway, and the car slammed into the center divider and rolled off the freeway. My stepdaughter wasn't wearing a seat belt and was thrown out the window. Luckily, the car did not hit her as it rolled down the hill.
All three passengers were rushed to the hospital and all survived. When we visited her at the hospital, my stepdaughter had stitches in her left eyebrow, and her left shoulder and two ribs were broken. When the highway patrol officer who got to the scene first saw the totaled car at the bottom of the steep hill, he thought, “Nobody could have survived that.”
I asked my stepdaughter what she was thinking when she regained consciousness. She said, “Falun Dafa is good.” I knew that Master protected her.