Indelible Lessons: Children As Mirrors of Their Parents' Cultivation (Part 3 of 3)
(Minghui.org) (Continued from Part 2)
Raising Young Practitioners
It is crucial to raise young practitioners in a well-established cultivation environment, a mission a parent must take seriously.
Many young practitioners came to this world with a mission, so if we fail to bring them up on par with the Fa, they and their missions will be ruined.
Telling Stories of Historical Figures That Have Played a Positive Role
“Yet nowadays, the degree to which children are indulged—especially in the United States—is beyond description. Those children have absolutely no manners. Their entire education has failed.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Europe”)
“In fact, throughout the past, anything culturally prominent or anything displayed by the cultivators or awakened ones of different periods was all meant for Dafa disciples’ reference and to lay a foundation for the vast spreading of Dafa.” (“20th Anniversary Fa Teaching”)
Stories about the lives of ancient heroic figures who were believed to be of good character, such as Shakyamuni, Zhu Geliang, Yuefei, Kangxi, Cai Wenji, and Mulan, can inspire young practitioners and help them walk a righteous path.
That does not mean that we should not compare the characters of ancient heroes with those ancients that played a negative role. That can very effective in teaching right from wrong and making sure that children learn to make the right choices.
Recognizing the Deeper Meaning of the Fa
A practitioner was explaining the meaning of the last two lines in Master’s poem,
“With the ultimate catastrophe now past,lucent is the whole Cosmos.”(“After the Catastrophe” in Hong Yin)
Her child said, “The word ‘catastrophe’ means ‘time’ in the Buddha school. Then can ‘ultimate catastrophe’ connote ‘time and firmament’?”
The child's thoughtful remark helped the mother understand that the phrase did talk about the layers of universes that Master has traveled through when rectifying the cosmos.
She praised the child and afterward they read the “Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference,” in which Master said, “During Fa-rectification I traversed all of the firmaments and saw that those ultimate arrangements of theirs all have omissions and can't be made complete or harmonized.”
This incident demonstrates that, if we help children understand the literary meanings of Master’s teachings, they without doubt can understand the deeper meanings of the Fa.
It therefore follows that all Dafa disciples need to study the Fa diligently and do the exercises, including adults and young practitioners. Once a youngster has internalized the desire to do the exercises and study the Fa on a regular basis, he or she may carry this habit into adulthood.
Now that time is moving forward at a faster pace, young people do not have sufficient time to do everything they want. If parents fail to set up a time for their children to read Master’s teaching and practice the exercises, they will not find the time by themselves. It will be the best if parents read the Fa and practice the exercises with their children. That way they can guide them to follow the righteous path.
Setting High Standards for Young Practitioners
A practitioner's grandson lived with her. When the child was 5 years old, he knew about the goodness of Dafa. This practitioner was busy every day, so she recorded all the poems in Hong Yin and asked the child to listen to the recordings by himself. She also told him stories about the historical characters mentioned in Zhuan Falun.
Within 10 days, the child had memorized all the poems. This practitioner was thrilled and promised that she would raise him well. Unfortunately, this child stopped cultivating in Dafa, because the practitioner failed to set high expectations for him.
Parents--or those caring for young practitioners--need to set high expectations. If the expectations are too low, they may set even lower standards for themselves and eventually stop practicing Falun Dafa and turn into ordinary human beings.
Practitioners are busy with Dafa tasks and do not have much time to educate their children. However, we noted that some young practitioners became very diligent once they joined the Fei Tian Academy, where the standards and expectations for the young practitioners are very high. We should create an environment at home to give the younger practitioners an opportunity to cultivate genuinely and diligently.
Physical Suffering May Benefit the Child
Cultivators need to learn to handle suffering and difficulties positively. Master taught us, “As to how high your cultivation level can reach, it all depends on your endurance and your ability to bear hardships.” (Zhuan Falun)
We can help our children develop the ability to endure hardships. This will establish a solid foundation at a young age.
If children are spoiled and their parents do everything for them, the children may learn to crave attention and develop two personality flaws–egotism and laziness. These flaws could prevent them from being diligent in cultivation.
Children should be given tasks at home, such as sharing household chores with adults. Learning to be reliable and responsible at a young age will help lay a solid foundation and help them grow into hard-working and diligent cultivators. Spoiled children may find it hard to stand up after they fall, and hence, find cultivation beyond their reach. It may be easier for them to slack off, lose confidence, and finally give up.
Using Positive Incentives and Encouragement
We should praise and encourage our children when they make progress, so they will gain confidence. Young practitioners can develop special talents, which they can use to assist in validating the Fa. Solely focusing on test scores can conceal a child's talents and lessen their confidence.
It is crucial to encourage children to endure if they fail to reach a specific goal. With this, we help them see their own weaknesses and shortcomings, especially when we discuss the flaws in relationship to the Fa. They will find it easier to accept our criticism and rationally reflect on their mistakes without reservation.
“Did you know that Fa-rectification disciples who aren’t able to come through the Fa-rectification period will not have another chance to cultivate, because throughout history you have already been given all the best things?” (“Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples” in Essentials for Further Advancement II)
Many young practitioners have lived through the most difficult era of the persecution. However, now that the pressure is subsiding, some choose to stop cultivating in Dafa. The consequence is very serious.
Not Too Late to Correct Mistakes
Young practitioners’ cultivation depends on the adults' cultivation state. Do not dwell on the mistakes that were made in the past—correct the mistakes and make up for the losses. If we do not solve our problems, our children may not see the beauty of Dafa through us. Therefore, it may not be easy to help them let go of their attachments.
Once we renew our spirits and cultivate diligently just as we did in the beginning of our cultivation—study Master’s teachings, search inside ourselves, and rectify ourselves to assimilate into the Fa—our children will witness the mighty virtue of Dafa. Their original true selves will wake up and they will get a second chance to return to Dafa.
The above is my personal understanding. Please kindly point anything that is not in accordance with the Fa.