My Son Changed When We Let Go of Sentimentality
(Minghui.org) My son was a difficult child. He didn't obey the rules in primary school. He didn't like to study and did poorly academically. I was often asked to see his teachers due to his misbehavior.
As Falun Dafa practitioners, my husband and I had high expectations for our son and thought that he would be an excellent boy because he was born into a family of practitioners. We asked him to memorize poems from Hong Yin when he was young, and we explained the principles of Falun Dafa to him. However, his behavior was not satisfactory. He was lazy, naughty, and told lies. He tried to get out of studying, and every time we talked to his teachers, we felt upset and angry with him. We didn't know why he was like that. Sometimes we shouted at him and spanked him, but he wouldn't change.
When I talked to other practitioners about him, they said that children's behavior reflects the parents' cultivation states and that parents should look within to find their attachments. I previously didn't think that my son's problems had anything to do with me. I emphasized, “I will be held responsible if I don't educate my son well,” while I neglected my own attachments. I often looked at his shortcomings and got upset if he didn't change. I always complained to my family and other practitioners that my son was a big worry for me. Yet I didn't realize that it was my greatest attachment.
I started to look within and reflect on what I had done. I saw that I had an attachment to sentimentality; I would not have gotten so angry if someone else's son was behaving this way. Because he was my son, I was easily moved and could not control myself.
“Those who have bad tempers might think that this is too hard for them to do. But I think they simply need to work on their tempers, as practitioners should be able to stay composed. Some people lose their tempers when disciplining their children and get all worked up. But it needn’t be like that. You shouldn’t genuinely get angry. You have to be calm and rational for your child to be reared well.” (Zhuan Falun, Ninth Talk)
I knew I had to be rational—instead of emotional—in order to look at myself clearly and use a better way to discipline my son. I talked to my husband about changing our previous ways of educating him and letting go of all emotion about it. Thus, whenever his teacher told us bad news about him, I reminded myself to control my emotions and educate him just like I would educate someone else's son. I tried to handle such situations this way several times and achieved good results.
When we previously got angry and scolded him, he looked oblivious and didn't take in what we said. It seemed there was a shield around him, and we were not able to communicate with his heart. But when we talked to him in a rational way, he responded to us and communicated what he was thinking. Through talking to each other, he accepted our thoughts about what was right.
I realized that I had many attachments and notions in bringing up my son. I expected him to be upright, kind, and have forbearance. I was also concerned about whether he was smart, achieved good scores, was capable, or could have a solid place in society in the future. All of these were ordinary notions that I had to let go of.
Our son studied hard in his last year of senior high school. We talked to him about the importance of studying the Fa and maintaining virtue. He then decided to study the Fa for half an hour every night with us after he finished his homework.
My husband and I were confident because our son became more and more mature. He told us how he stayed vigilant about his behavior and didn't go along with his peers' bad behaviors. He was now willing to help others, and we saw his improvement and felt happy for him. It seemed everything was going smoothly.
We had an argument about how he should study for his exams. I thought he should send righteous thoughts to make sure his exams went smoothly. My son, seeing the folly in my words, was upset by my suggestion. After our argument, he did poorly on his exam. My husband then reminded me of Master's Fa: “In cultivation, everything you experience is a good thing, and you are establishing your own mighty virtue.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Eastern U.S. Fa Conference”)
I became vigilant and immediately tried to let go of my resentment toward my son for pointing out my attachments, as well as let go of my attachment to him doing well on his exams. I told myself that the result must have been caused by the attachments that I clung to and I should look within seriously. But now that I had recognized the problem, the incident turned out to be a good thing. In fact, all three of us understood the situation clearly and were all of one mind: The Fa is sacred, and we must conduct ourselves strictly as cultivators.
My son soon applied to several universities, some more prestigious than others. Now, regardless of where he would be accepted, the three of us could calmly accept the outcome. Unexpectedly, he was accepted at a prestigious university. We viewed his acceptance as the consequence of our looking within and handling our lives as cultivators.
My son, though surprised by his acceptance letter, was calm in the days following. I felt it was a bit strange and asked him why he didn't show his happiness. “No, I shouldn't become too happy,” he said. “Being too happy is also an attachment. Things might change if I develop an attachment.” He knew he had to maintain his xinxing.