(Minghui.org) There was no such concept as kindergarten or daycare until about 100 years ago. Schools existed, of course, even in ancient civilizations like the Greeks, but young children were never collectively raised in daycare. Mothers and other relatives, like grandmothers and aunts (or nannies in wealthy families), were responsible for raising the young.
The point of writing this article is to encourage practitioners, both parents and grandparents, not to fear the traditional family model and the traditional way of raising children. Taking care of children and grandchildren should not prevent us from doing the three things well.
I've read some articles on the Minghui website that talk about how elderly practitioners give up their attachment to sentimentality to grandchildren and decide not to be the childcare provider, in order to better do the three things. In our current society, when mothers are urged to go back to work, the duty of raising children often falls on the grandparents. It is praise-worthy when practitioners manage to let go of their attachment to sentimentality and devote a lot of time to doing the three things. However, in my understanding, as practitioners, we sometimes overlook the importance of raising our young children ourselves, rather than placing them in daycare.
I think it is a misconception that having children or taking care of children would prevent us from doing the three things well. There are many articles that talk about practitioners taking their babies and young children along with them to clarify the truth.
As for myself, after I had my baby, I found that I do indeed have less time to actually read the Fa, but I often spend more time listening to the Fa. When we take walks or do other things, we listen to the Fa together. When cradling him to sleep or feeding, I recite Hong Yin to him from memory. When he plays with his toys, I sit next to him and make lotus flowers. When I do the exercises, he sometimes just watches. Even when we play together, we listen to “Pudu” and “Jishi.” I also try to utilize the time when he naps to do the exercises or other cultivation-related activities. Overall, if I plan our time well, I find that the baby actually helps with my cultivation.
When I clarify the truth face to face, people sometimes are more approachable, open, and relaxed when they see a baby. My husband and I have also printed and laminated Hong Yin poems with pictures, so that when the child touches the pages, they can be cleaned if needed. We also plan on printing, painting, laminating, and making toys depicting different historical figures mentioned in Chinese traditional culture, to perhaps play skits with them.
In my understanding, reviving traditions also encompasses the way we look at children and the way we raise them. When a woman stays at home and takes care of the children, the father usually does not have to do household chores. Everyone does his or her share of the work and there is harmony in the family. The mother is not as tired as if she had to go to work, take care of children, and manage the household. This sometimes exhausts modern women, because they need to shoulder all those responsibilities.
In daycare, children listen to ordinary people's music, watch ordinary people's cartoons, and play with ordinary, sometimes not so good, toys. They spend their time in the company of many other children, so they are inevitably exposed to noise and yelling. They sometimes become hyperactive and find it hard to calm down. They are brought up craving attention and learn to fight over toys.
If we practitioners take care of our young ones, we can be the gatekeepers and watch-guards of what enters their minds, so that our children are exposed mainly to good things, to Dafa teachings and energy-fields.