How My Teenage Son Became More Diligent in Cultivation
(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
My son is 16 years old. Two years ago he began attending the Fei Tian Academy of the Arts in Middletown, New York. In the process I was able to examine my own cultivation and I would like to share some of my experiences with you.
A Parent's Frustration
Since he was a small child, my son cultivated along with my husband and I. When he was three, he began attending the Minghui School summer camps. However, as he grew older, he was more and more influenced by ordinary society. Two years ago, when he was about to start 10th grade he said that he was confused. Homosexuality was considered “cool” in his school. He couldn’t figure out why his friends had boyfriends and girlfriends and that casual dating was normal, so he was considered abnormal because he didn’t have a girlfriend.
I was worried because I didn’t know how to explain these issues to him. The only thing I could tell him was, “Study the Fa more. Study the Fa more.” He also said that most of his classmates spent a lot of time indoors playing video games. No one wanted to hang out with him outdoors. His ability with the violin was growing, and he had reached the 10th level. However, for a period of time, he only attended his weekly lesson but would not practice. My husband and I were worried but did not know what to do. Fortunately, my son didn’t give up the violin.
At that time we learned that the Fei Tian Academy of The Arts had started accepting applications. I was so moved – I felt Master’s compassion!
The Best School
Master said in “Fa Teaching Given at the 2016 New York Fa Conference”:
“As I was just saying, everything in this world is trying to entice you, to block you from gaining the Fa. And you’re not alone—most every parent in this world as well as government is aware of the problem, but everyone is powerless to do anything about it! And there’s not just the problem of blocking people from gaining the Fa: it leads people to do poorly at their jobs, to not learn well in their studies, and to waste vast amounts of time on the computer or with electronic devices. Those things are tempting you to watch and play with them. [People’s behavior is] not befitting of human beings anymore.”
The first month after my son joined the school, he called me every day and asked to return home. He said that the school restricted Internet use to academic needs and did not allow any smartphones. He said to me, “Life is so hard here. The living conditions are bad. I cannot adjust to it. I have to get up at 6 a.m. and return to the dorm at 9 p.m. There is also tons of homework.”
I kept telling him to persevere because this special cultivation environment was hard to come by. He then asked me, “Mom, let me cultivate at home. Now I really know what cultivation is. I will for sure diligently study the Fa and do the exercises.”
I knew that what was really bothering him was not any hardships or the living conditions. It was because he couldn’t surf the Internet anymore! It was so addictive that letting it go was as difficult as getting rid of a drug addiction.
I became hesitant to answer his phone calls. I thought to myself, “There must be gaps in my cultivation state that are affecting his cultivation state.” I decided to look inward and found that I was selfish. I thought that it would be easy for my son to cultivate at the school; my son would be taken care of there; my son would increase his chances of making it into the Shen Yun Orchestra, and so on. All my thoughts and concerns were all about me! I realized that my attachment could make it harder for him to stay at the school. One by one, I started eliminating the bad substances in myself. Soon afterward, the teachers started talking with my son and his heart opened.
One night, I had a dream: I was standing outside the school and saw my son walking towards me in his school uniform with his backpack. I was afraid – maybe he planned to ask me to take him home. To my surprise, he looked quite pure and bright. He pointed to the classroom, smiled at me and said, “Mom, I have no time to chat with you. I have to join my class immediately.” He left.
A thought came to my mind: he is Master’s child! I realized that all the young Dafa disciples are Master’s children! Any worries or attachments that parents may have will block their children's growth. Only if we cultivate ourselves well can we provide the best environment for our kids and avoid creating additional troubles for Master!
All my worries disappeared. My son also stopped calling me asking to come home. Two weeks later, I called him to see how he was doing. He said, “What’s up? I’m very busy now.” I was happy to hear it and we ended the call quickly. My son got rid of his addiction to the Internet in just a month. I knew Master was helping him.
My son became more diligent in this environment of group Fa study, exercises, and sending righteous thoughts. He resumed his violin practice. For his weekly “My Most Touching Experience,” he said that once while sending righteous thoughts, he could clearly feel Master removing a lot of bad things from his body. Afterward, he felt lightened and experienced enhanced concentration which allowed him to practice the violin more efficiently. Thank you, Master!
After I learned that Shen Yun needed more viola players, I asked my son during his spring break, “Would you like to change to the viola?” He said, “No.”
After sending him back to Middletown, I struggled to figure out how to persuade him to switch to the viola. I visited him at school in February and met with his teachers. My son seemed to know why I was there. For three days, he came up with various excuses to not meet with me. His teachers encouraged him to switch to the viola. He finally agreed, but reluctantly. But I knew that he was still angry and so he would not speak to me when we saw each other. I knew that he was in pain because this meant that he had to abandon so many years of hard work with the violin.
He discussed his situation with his classmates. During their group sharing, they said that teachers shouldn’t force any students to make any decisions. My son told me, “My classmates saw me in pain and didn’t want me to change instruments.”
This issue caught the attention of the school. The next day, all the teachers in the music department had a meeting with my son about changing instruments. My son told me later, “I was silent because I thought that all the teachers were going to try to persuade me with different arguments. To my surprise, all the teachers looked inward. No one criticized me or tried to persuade me to do anything. I was very touched when I sensed their genuine care and encouragement. I felt the pressure being lifted off me and then I truly wanted to change instruments.”
I told the chair of the music department, “Sorry we have brought so much trouble to the school.” She said, “No problem. It’s all good. This helped our teachers to think about the issue of nurturing talents. By looking inward, we teachers now better understand that the ultimate and true objective of teaching the students is to assist Master in rectifying the Fa and saving sentient beings. The children can feel that.”
I told my son, “You are so lucky! You can study at a school run by Dafa disciples. You have such good teachers guiding and teaching you. Teachers at an ordinary school wouldn’t guide their students so sincerely! We really need to cherish what we have. Everyone has the best intentions for you.” His music teacher asked someone to give him a viola to try out.
He later wrote in a sharing, “I have just started with the viola. I must be more diligent in the future. Master has given me hints to bear more suffering. I will remember Master’s teachings and be open to enduring more hardship on my cultivation path in order to cultivate better.”
I know that this issue of switching instruments has helped my son greatly improve. Thank you, Master!
My Son Becomes More Sincere and Caring
My son has now attended the school for about two years. During each holiday break, I've noticed the positive changes in him. At the end of his first winter break, I asked him if he would like to take any snacks back with him. He said not for himself, but he asked for a special Canadian snack for one of his roommates. The second time, he asked for five snacks for all of his roommates. He said he knew what they liked. Later on, when I visited him, he didn’t want anything for himself. He said that if I brought anything, I should bring enough for all his classmates. I realized that he cared about more and more about the needs of his classmates.
Once, I picked him up at the dorm to eat out. He asked if his roommates could go as well and I agreed. We went to a Western restaurant. The four other students were from Canada, Germany, and Australia. The kids talked among themselves. One said, “Auntie, we have just eaten. We are not hungry. We can share one item between two people.”
They asked me if they could bring some of the food to another roommate who couldn’t come because he had to finish his homework. Tears welled up in my eyes – they were so close to each other! They were also very considerate and wanted to save me money. Children who are Dafa cultivators are truly different!
Providing Children with Correct Perspectives
Master said in “Teaching the Fa in San Francisco” in Lectures in the United States:
“But I can tell you that the root cause of all humankind’s ills is in fact the degeneration of human morality. Without starting there, none of humankind’s problems can be solved. Starting from that, all of humankind’s problems can be solved.”
The Fei Tian School focuses on teaching children morality. According to the school’s regulations, students should not date. Some students who violated the rules were punished according to the school’s regulations.
One day, my son told me that he couldn’t focus when practicing his viola. He said he couldn’t figure something out. A classmate stayed in touch with a female classmate via cell phone. Teachers treated him differently when they discovered this. He said, “Shouldn’t cultivators be tolerant?”
I explained that we have to follow the school’s regulations. We shouldn’t behave according to ordinary people's principles. If we choose to attend this school, we need to follow the school’s rules. I said, “The morality in society has slid down so much; we sent you to this school to give you proper, traditional guidelines. Your classmate violated the school’s rules but will still be given an opportunity to correct his mistake. He now understands more about what’s appropriate.”
The chaos rampant in today's society has affected the kids a lot. The school's teachers remind students every day about what is upright and moral behavior. One teacher said, “We are combating the downward moral slide of humankind!”
My son asked me, “We are cultivators, so we can bear hardships. But if the school has ordinary students in the future, how would they adjust?” I said, “You are the first-year students. You can be a role model. Helping ordinary students at the school is also a way you can save people.”
A girl who had been hoping to attend the school since its founding finally enrolled last year. Her father doesn’t cultivate; it took her a year to be able to go to the school. She wrote a poem to thank her mom for her education.
Her mom cried as she read the poem and said, “My daughter learned what cultivation was in the school environment! She learned to be thankful. Thank you, teachers! Thank you, Master.” The non-cultivator father also said to his daughter, “I’m proud of you. My daughter has truly matured.”
I would like to thank all the faculty, students, staff, and volunteers at the school. Because of your dedication and giving, our children are able to grow up in this healthy cultivation environment. Thank you, Master, for making it possible for the kids to find a pure land in the chaotic world whose morality is on the decline!
Thank you, Master. Thank you, everyone.
(Presented at the 2018 Washington DC Fa Conference)