[Celebrating World Falun Dafa Day] How I Came to Get Along with My Daughter
(Minghui.org) My teenage daughter and I had a serious argument a few years ago. Even though she was disobeyed me, my wife seemed to agree with her. I kept asking myself, “Which part of me is not aligned with the Fa? Obviously, what I said is correct, but why did she disobey me and why did my wife take her side?”
It was midnight, and I still could not fall asleep. Then, four Chinese characters flashed in my mind: “Qiang Jia Yu Ren,” which refers to imposing my ideas on others. I talked with my wife about what I had figured out that night.
“You always think you're right,” she said, “so you are opinionated and try to impose your thoughts on others–not only when it comes to our child but also to me and other practitioners.”
Despite having recognized my attachment, my daughter and I kept having arguments due to my lack of solid cultivation. I kept telling her that she was too young to understand, and, as a grown-up, I knew better. I told her more than once, “Dad is doing this for your own good. You should learn to obey!”
During one fierce quarrel, I hit her out of anger. She was in the third year of high school at the time. She ran away from home many days, refusing to answer my calls or messages of apology.
Recognizing My Mindset
Amid the Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Dafa, I was arrested and illegally detained for more than two years.
While in prison, I realized that I had not cultivated myself well based on Dafa’s principles and had xinxing problems. The most prominent attachment was my being opinionated. Although I was aware of this attachment, I had not really tried to eliminate it through cultivation.
I then remembered all the times when I had imposed my thoughts on my fellow practitioners and family members. I felt regret and decided to completely eliminate the attachment.
Removing the Attachment
After I was released from prison, my daughter took a leave from her studies and came home. I apologized as soon as I saw her and said that I had not treated her properly and was too strict. She replied, “Don’t worry, I forgive you!”
Hearing her words, thoughts flashed through my mind, “You really think you are qualified to forgive me? I spent so much effort on you and suffered a lot in these years. But as soon as we see each other, you don’t comfort me or say you miss me, let alone what wrongs you’ve done...”
I tried to suppress these thoughts, but what I said was still mingled with dissatisfaction: “It doesn’t matter if you forgive me or not. I just know I was wrong.”
Crestfallen, my daughter said, “Oh, I thought you really cared about it. Then just forget it.”
Although nothing happened after that, I knew I was still clinging to what I thought was “right.” My notion of forcing others to accept my opinion had not really been removed.
In the few days she spent at home, I saw her old habits again: playing games on her cell phone, staying up late, sleeping in, and making a mess in the bathroom. My first thought was to teach her a lesson, though I was able to control myself better this time. I understood that Master had arranged whatever irritated me to help me get rid of my attachment. I told myself to either talk to her kindly or don’t talk about it at all, and that I shouldn’t be attached to the result.
Once, she took a long shower and even got water into the living room. I was also waiting to use the toilet. My anger began to swell. I raised my clenched fist several times to knock on the door, but I decided to wait. After she finished, I hurriedly cleaned up the water going under the living room floor. She saw me and said, “Dad, I’m sorry.” I calmly gave her tips for avoiding the problem in the future.
Last spring, my wife was arrested for talking to people about Falun Dafa. I initially kept it from my daughter to keep her from worrying, but that was hard to do because they talked on the phone every few days.
At my niece’s wedding a few days later, I had to make an excuse for my wife's absence. My daughter then called and asked what had happened to her mom. Her voice was stern, as she sensed something was wrong. I told her the situation.
Erupting in anger and tears, she blamed me for not telling her sooner, for not protecting her mother, and for being in the mood to attend a wedding during such a crisis.
Taken aback, I replied, “I didn’t say anything because you are still young and far from home. Please rest your mind and study well. I can handle your mother’s thing. If I didn’t attend this wedding, the whole family would be affected. We can’t only think about our own feelings.”
She hung up. Bitter and depressed, I thought, “My daughter, you used to study Dafa. When can you become mature and share some of these burdens with me? Or at least not put even more pressure on me?!”
In fact, when she was in middle school, she read Zhuan Falun and memorized Hong Yin together with my wife. She also showed strong righteous thoughts during the early stages of the persecution of our faith. When harassed by police at school, she said to the officer, “My dad is a good person!”
She did well on her college entrance exam by reminding herself, “I am a child of Dafa practitioners. I have to pass the test well to show people that practicing Dafa is beneficial.” She was admitted to a top university despite her test scores. Many people said she was blessed for supporting Dafa.
However, the persistent persecution I faced had an effect on her. She found a boyfriend after she went to college and gradually stopped cultivating. I blamed myself whenever I thought of her.
Sometime after the wedding, she started sending me messages or called me once in a while about school issues and to ask about her mother’s progress, including when she would be released. It was hard for me to answer her.
But I understood her, as any child would worry about her mother and miss her. As a Dafa practitioner, it is my responsibility to take care of my parents and children. Instead of telling her how to handle things in advance and thus increasing the pressure on her, I comforted her and made sure she understood that I was there for her.
I realized that my relationship with my daughter consisted of my picking at her faults and wanting to train her into a well-educated young lady. I thought her daily life and emotional care was my wife’s responsibility.
“He has bountiful virtue and also maintains a benevolent heart; he is full of great aspirations while minding minor details.” (“Sage” from Essentials For Further Advancement)
In contrast, my aggressive and shortcut-style “education” was laced with selfishness and imposition.
A New Relationship with My Daughter
A few days later, I was chatting with my daughter when I asked when she would come home for summer vacation. She said she didn’t want to come back because she didn’t want to face her mother’s absence, and she wanted to work instead.
I was initially offended that she didn’t think of missing me, but I quickly rejected those notions that had been built up from before. I told her, “Dad misses you, but I understand and respect your idea. Take care of yourself out there. Let me know whenever you need money or other help.”
Last November, she called to tell me that her school counselor was going to punish her. Many students chose to live outside of school for a variety of reasons and got the counselor’s permission to do so, but she told the counselor she couldn't study because the dormitory was too noisy.
She hid another reason, that she sometimes cried uncontrollably because she missed her mother. She was afraid of being noticed by her roommates because she didn’t want her classmates to know that her mom had been arrested for practicing Dafa.
She felt it was unfair that other students who lied were not punished but that she would be penalized for telling the truth. The counselor had decided to punish her after she refused to return to the dormitory.
I praised my daughter for speaking the truth but told her that she still had to shoulder the responsibility. I asked what I could do for her. She explained that, for her to live on her own, the school required that I fill out an application. But she didn’t want to ask me, fearing that I wouldn’t understand and would scold her.
I said, “That’s because Dad didn’t understand you before and liked to scold people, and I gave you a bad impression. I don’t blame you. Just like you, I’m improving now and becoming more mature. Can we still apply now?” She cheered up immediately.
I later called the counselor and explained my daughter’s situation and how my wife was persecuted for practicing Dafa. The counselor told me, “I only threatened to punish her to scare her and teach her a lesson, not for real. I understand your family’s situation. This happens a lot around the country. Of course you can fill out the application form.”
Later that night, my daughter sent me a message, “Dad, today is Thanksgiving. I really thank you. I don’t know how to say a lot of things. You’ve worked hard in this period of time. Thank you for what you have done for me, Mom, and everyone. I understand everything. You’ve really worked hard. I love you.” She added a heart emoji. Meanwhile, she told her WeChat friends for the first time, “I love my dad.”
Dafa Changed Me
With my improvement through cultivation, I began to understand that being opinionated is also an attachment to self. Such a person pursues the result and intends to change others according to his own ideas. If others don’t cooperate, he blames them, looks down on them, or even comes up with ideas to “fix” them.
“You are unable to interfere with the lives of others, and neither can you control others’ fates, including those of your wife, sons, daughters, parents, or brothers. Can you decide those things?” (Zhuan Falun)
The only thing that can make people improve is Master and Dafa. If one sees something wrong, one can point it out kindly but should not be attached to the result.
No matter what happens, I continue to measure myself against Dafa, let go of attachments, and hold strong righteous thoughts.
My daughter used to tell me, “Even if you’re right, I won’t listen to you!” She now trusts me and depends on me.
(Submission to “Celebrate World Falun Dafa Day” 2018 on the Minghui website)