Raising Our Children Amid the Big Dye Vat of Society
(Minghui.org) I try my best to raise my 12-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter as Dafa disciples. I am writing to share my understanding of the great effort Dafa practitioner parents must put into disciplining and guiding our children to prevent them from slipping away into the big dye vat of ordinary human society, especially when they reach the teenage years.
It recently became clear to me that if I do not put more effort into studying the Fa with the children every day and doing the exercises with them, it is quite likely that they will end up lost in society as teenagers and go off with their ordinary friends. This is because they are at a tender age where they are searching for leaders and peers to look up to and go along with.
Keeping Our Kids from Getting Lost
Kids tend to choose their teachers as their leaders and their school friends as their peers. But these sources of influence could lead our children astray into all sorts of ideas, notions, and desires that go against the Fa principles.
In addition, our children are meant to use the skills they develop to save sentient beings rather than for their own gain and pleasure. Without reminders from us, they may forget it and eventually no longer believe it.
The education systems in Western countries are becoming increasingly influenced by communism. In particular, sex education is not only taught as a lesson in human biology and procreation, but is also infused with the idea that it is for recreation, fun, and emotion; it encourages pre-marital affairs, dating, and engaging in sexual activity at a young age, as well as non-traditional views regarding gender and sexual orientation. Practitioners should be mindful of when these lessons are being taught and consider removing their children from them unless they are really able and prepared to negate it.
As I looked at electives at one state college, I noticed subjects such as “women in power,” “girls fix cars,” “girls design it and build it,” but no subjects aimed at men or boys. Yin and yang are reversed, and our children are being subjected to this every day at school. For ordinary society, this is the way it is. It is clear that this is the dharma-ending period. But if we wish to prevent our young disciples from following along with the downward slide, we as their parents need to be very vigilant and keep a close eye on their education. Children are easily influenced by their peers. And as good students, we expect them to listen to the teacher and study well what they are taught, and to respect and trust the teacher. But in these times, with what is being taught, that could lead them down the wrong path.
Children who attend practitioner-run schools are protected from all this, and they are immersed in a cultivation environment every day. Their teachers are practitioners, and their peers and friends are practitioners. Their cultivation environment is therefore extended beyond the family.
But since most practitioners' children around the world attend ordinary schools, we need to make extra effort to keep them from sliding downward. We may need to ask them each day what they were taught. If we determine that it is not in accordance with the Fa principles, we should correct it and tell them what Master and the Fa teaches on that subject.
To keep them from straying from the Fa, we should also consider the amount of time they spend with non-practitioner children, especially during their teenage years. Parents could make extra effort to gather the young Dafa disciples in the area to study, do the exercises, clarify the truth, and do fun activities together so that they bond, form friendships with one another, and turn to one another for friendship and recreation.
I remember that when I was a teenager, I just wanted to fit in with my friends. In trying to put myself in my children's shoes, if I had practiced Falun Dafa with my family as a child but none of my friends did, would I have kept practicing when I hit my teenage years? I think I would have found it very hard to stay diligent.
Some practitioners send their children to religious schools with the expectation that they will be exposed to fewer of these problems. It may be a good option in some cases, but it’s not a safeguard against all problems ordinary schools present. Within the last two weeks, I have had discussions with two practitioners, one Chinese and one a Westerner, whose children were or are in religious schools. Both teenagers eventually became disinterested in cultivation and fully immersed themselves in ordinary activities.
My husband asked about another practitioner’s 13-year-old son, who we no longer saw at the big Fa study group or truth-clarification activities. He found out that the son was in his second year in a state high school, had suddenly become rebellious, adopted a lot of anti-tradition ideas from school, and no longer wanted to be a practitioner.
I’m saddened to hear of Master’s young disciples getting lost in the big dye vat of society. But at the same time, I am thankful to Master for showing me what could happen to my own children, who are beings he has entrusted to me to raise and guide in Dafa. If I am not diligent and strict with myself in creating or contributing to a cultivation environment that is solid and sufficient enough for our children to want to stay in throughout their teenage years, I already know what will become of them.
Creating a Local Cultivation Environment for Our Kids
In our region, there are hardly any Western practitioner children. About a year ago, the Western parents decided to gather our children together at the big Fa study group to study, exercise, send forth righteous thoughts, and play together. But is it enough?
Sometimes, if one family with children doesn’t attend, there are only one or two families with children there, making it difficult to form that solid, consistent environment. One solution could be to include both Western and Chinese children in the group.
My daughter is five and just starting to read. I have made an effort to compile, print, and bind the published Hong Yin in Chinese, with the illustrations and English translations next to them. My 12-year-old son and I read Hong Yin to my daughter every night. She likes to look at the illustrations, too. My son has just started to hand-copy one poem and illustration in English and Chinese every night.
Letting Go of Jealousy, Embracing My Own Responsibility
Another fellow practitioner told me recently that her son had been accepted into a practitioner-run arts academy. Although I was very happy for him and it gave me hope for the children, I realized that I also had the attachment of jealousy.
My family is not in a position to send my son to this academy, where he would be immersed in a cultivation environment, develop into a solid cultivator, and have the opportunity to contribute to an important truth-clarification project. Master has laid out a different path for him, yet I struggled with the thought that it would require more effort from me to keep him from straying from the Fa.
From a cultivator’s perspective, however, this is my path and my opportunity to gain mighty virtue. I must strive to succeed in guiding my children well and keep them from sliding downward and leaving Dafa. These difficult circumstances are the challenges I must overcome.
I would like to end by quoting some of what Master has said regarding raising young Dafa disciples:
“If your child can’t do the exercises yet, you should read the Fa to him and teach him to sing Dafa disciples’ songs. The children of many Dafa disciples can recite Hong Yin. Some of them can recite many poems from it at a very young age. They are truly good kids.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference VIII)
“Yes, when the children were of an age such that the Dafa disciples could personally take care of them, things were great. You taught the children to memorize the Fa and do the exercises every day. As soon as the children started school, though, things changed. The impact that society has on children is truly large. It has to do with the morality of all of society sliding downwards. Children have no way to resist it. As soon as they enter society, they enter a big dye vat. If you are able to urge your children to study the Fa and do the exercises as you did before, it will be harder for them to slide downwards along with society. Many young Dafa disciples have gone in the other direction and become quite bad as they grew up, and that is the reason.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference VIII)
“A pure young girl, an innocent girl, is really hard to find nowadays.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference VIII)
“Dafa disciples should not, under any circumstance, have any further problems in this regard. I don’t want to see you make these kinds of mistakes. The boy and girl students in the performing arts troupe normally aren’t allowed to just casually intermingle. Also, because they are so young, they are strictly forbidden from dating. Other Dafa disciples need to pay attention to these same issues.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference VIII)
“But as for many Dafa disciples’ own family members and children, you have indulged them, failed to discipline them, or even felt helpless about them. This society just has such a strong attraction, and these negative elements are just so strong.” (“Fa Teaching at the New York Fa Conference on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Dafa’s Introduction to the Public”)
“Dafa disciples, especially Dafa disciples in mainland China, led their own children to cultivate when they were young. As the children grew up, parents could not discipline them. They were won over by the things in ordinary human society. They would graduate from school, they learned something, and then they went out to society...” (“Fa Teaching at the New York Fa Conference on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Dafa’s Introduction to the Public”)
“Some Dafa disciples’ children didn’t really have any notions when they were young, and they did the exercises along with the adults and behaved pretty well. Since they were young kids, their Third Eyes could see some scenes and it was helpful to you too. But once they grew up, they developed their own notions and became strongly influenced by society; if you are too lenient with them, they will just follow the trends. Don’t we have some Dafa disciples’ children who have conducted themselves really poorly? In some cases they are even worse than everyday people’s children.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2014 San Francisco Fa Conference”)
“But it’s definitely not the case that relatives, friends, parents, or children who don’t cultivate can join you at Consummation. Since that person, who is an independent being, doesn’t cultivate, whatever is in store for him will be in store for him. You can’t stand in for him or take on his things.” (“Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan 2006”)
“The old forces’ arrangements for this affair have caused this world to become terrible. There’s the modern thinking that people have, modern art, modern trends, and modern culture, on top of which there is the damage done to the culture by the wicked Party. It’s especially difficult for young people, who are growing up in such a setting. They can’t see these things for what they are.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference”)
“Young children follow their parents, and how well their parents cultivate will have an impact on them—especially when the child is the type that’s quite dependent on his or her parents. With the students at the Fei Tian school, or even Shen Yun’s intern performers, you can tell from how the person behaves how his parents’ cultivation is. It’s different if the student is very independent and has his own thinking. In that case he’s pretty much acting on his own.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference”)
“Those students at the school that trains talent for Shen Yun, Fei Tian Academy of the Arts, have already done very well, as you know. But I am still very worried, since society’s arts nowadays have really affected them too much, and all things in society are attracting them. Ordinary society’s morality was brought down this way through the exertion of subtle influences.” (“Fa Teaching at the New York Fa Conference on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Dafa’s Introduction to the Public”)
Category: Improving Oneself