Bringing Up Young Practitioners Well, Cultivating Oneself to Be Considerate
(Minghui.org) A practitioner once told me that my child and I share a relationship of mutual achievement, something I found inspiring. The process of bringing up my child and guiding him to be a young Falun Dafa practitioner is a process of cultivating myself.
There are so many problems to be solved as a child grows up. We cannot tackle the problems in an ordinary way, but instead need to view each problem as a cultivator.
Rooting Cultivation in a Child’s Heart
As cultivators, my family and I pay most attention to how to root Dafa in my child’s heart. If we achieve this, when he grows up he will be able to prevent himself from being polluted by society.
I’ve often read articles on Minghui.org about young practitioners who cultivated with their parents from a young age. Some of them slacked off after going to college, but fortunately managed to return to Dafa cultivation later. Others ended up as everyday people.
It’s easy to make a five year old study the Fa and do the exercises because they are obedient. However, when that child grows up and becomes independent, it’s not so easy for him to do those things on his own.
When my son was two, we showed him the movie The Eternal Poem. We wanted him to understand that humans came from their real homes in the heavens, and our mission is to save sentient beings. We also wanted to protect him from atheism.
“People are all innately kind, and quite rational. Then, consider what would happen if when I imparted Dafa during the Fa-rectification one hundred percent of such people, without any exception, all wanted to obtain the Fa as soon as it was made available. And this would have been especially true for Chinese people, who would perhaps have all come to learn and cultivate in Dafa.” (“What is a Dafa Disciple” from Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
Besides teaching him where life is from, we need to build a foundation of cultivation and be a positive influence to guide our son to genuinely practice Falun Dafa.
Children don’t have the ability to tell right from wrong or good from evil. It’s easy for them to learn bad behaviors. We showed our son videos of upright stories, so that he could learn traditional and positive culture. When he ran into problems in life, we referred to the videos to explain the Fa principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
We never forced our son to study the Fa or do the exercises, but tried our best to establish his habit of doing so. For example, we did the exercises together and recited Hong Yin and Lunyu before bedtime. We figured out methods that were acceptable for him, and studied the Fa with him. We wanted it to be a long term habit for him, and didn’t want him to resist Fa study.
Cultivate a Considerate Heart
I find it easy to get anxious and upset when I discipline my son.
“Some people will lose their temper in disciplining children and yell at them, making quite a scene. You should not be that way in disciplining children, and neither should you, yourselves get really upset. You should educate children with reason so that you can really teach them well.” (Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun)
I feel regret every time I lose my temper. For example, during the pandemic, my son was taking online classes. Sometimes, he couldn’t focus or answer the questions correctly. I felt very upset and scolded him.
After talking with my family, who are also practitioners, I realized that I had an attachment to getting my money’s worth. I’d paid for every lesson. If he didn’t study well, I felt the money was wasted. When I let go of the attachment, I felt differently.
I believe the most important thing for an elementary school child is to establish good character and habits. I would praise and encourage my son when he focused on doing something. If he couldn’t focus, I would do it with him to help him focus. Learning is part of life. As a parent, my job is to foster his interest in learning.
Whenever I lost my temper, I apologized afterwards. I told him where I went wrong, what attachment I had, and how I found my problem through following Truthfulness- Compassion-Forbearance. My son forgave me right away. He sometimes told me that his attachment was wanting to play, and he would apologize to me.
Another thing that caused me to lose my temper was not thinking from my son’s point of view. Some things that seem simple to me are difficult for him. When he started to learn writing, he always wrote crookedly no matter how I corrected him. When he practiced violin, he always played four notes when there were supposed to be three. I often lost my patience and asked him why he couldn’t do it right.
My family told me that children can’t control their hands in the same way adults can. It takes lots of practice. All a parent can do is keep reminding them of the correct way. It’s a process to improve our tolerance. My impatient behavior was influenced by Chinese Communist Party culture, and it hurt my son’s confidence. I changed my attitude to focus on his improvement, praising and encouraging him more.
The process of raising a child is truly a process of cultivating oneself, and it’s very interesting. A child is like a blank piece of paper getting painted and written on. Lives may get polluted by society, but gods give them culture to get back on the right track. As parents, we need to help our children assimilate to this culture in their early stage of life.