The new school year has started and all the young practitioners have gone back to school. Based on my experience teaching at a summer school for young practitioners for thirty days last summer, a weekend class every Saturday, a 6-day class during Easter, and the local Fa Study class for young practitioners this summer, I found the following problems to be common among young practitioners. Here I'd like to offer some suggestions for solving them.
1. Addiction to TV Programs, Computer/Internet Games, and Pop Music
Our young practitioners are usually pure and kind at heart. However, society is polluting our children, and TV programs, the Internet, and computer games are tempting them, so it is very easy for young practitioners to succumb to these temptations if their parents don't pay close attention.
2. Desire for Material Things
Many practitioners skimp and save money so that they can help with the cost of producing materials for promoting public awareness about the persecution of Falun Gong, yet their children can easily develop desires for material things such as expensive clothing or toys when they see what their peers have at school. Sometimes parents don't communicate well with their children about this matter. When their requests are rejected, children may get upset or angry, or even steal their parents' money to buy what they want. This happened with my child, for example.
Because many practitioners consider other people before themselves in any situation, their own children may feel that their parents have time and patience for other young practitioners, but not them. My twins are just like this, and they fight with any other young practitioners whom I show attention to. I didn't handle it well, though. I would treat the other young practitioners even better to try to get rid of my children's jealousy, which only made them angrier. Eventually they became rebellious about everything. In some other situations, older siblings get jealous of their younger ones because the parents pay more attention to the younger ones, and so they bully the younger ones because they are mad at their parents.
4. Fear of Hard Work
Since life outside of China is easier, relatively speaking, many children growing up in this environment become spoiled and are afraid of hard work. Studying the Fa for a long time is difficult for them, as is practising the exercises, and the children also have a hard time concentrating to send forth righteous thoughts.
5. Lack of Knowledge about Their Parents' Work in Stopping the Persecution of Falun Dafa
Many practitioners place the responsibility of saving people by doing Dafa work before taking care of their families' needs, and sometimes they may overlook the educational needs of their children. Polluted by society, some young practitioners get addicted to computer games and forget about studying the Fa and practicing the exercises. Their grades go down, too. Most young practitioners in our Minghui school complain that their parents are too busy to look after their school performance, and the parents don't talk to the children much about what they do. I am one of those parents.
Some young practitioners don't have a clear understanding about doing the three things that Master tells us to do. Not reading articles on the Clearwisdom website and not receiving sufficient information from their parents, they know little about the persecution of fellow practitioners in China. Once I found some articles that gave examples of how young practitioners in China did the three things well and I showed my son. He said, "Why didn't you tell us this earlier, Mum?"
One day in the summer school last year, the young practitioners and I studied the Fa outside. A few junior high school girls complained about the sun, bug bites, and the location because it was too close to a public restroom. I started telling them some stories about young practitioners in China being persecuted in prisons, fellow practitioners being tortured, and my own family members being persecuted to death. Families were broken apart because of the persecution, and young practitioners lost their parents. The children in the class were moved by the stories, and they conscientiously finished reading a whole lecture in Zhuan Falun together before going back.
Most of these problems the children have are actually caused by their parents. Our children are mirrors of our own cultivation. Problems with our children are indeed the reflection of our own shortcomings. We must look within ourselves for the root causes, and we will able to locate some attachments of ours. We let our children do what they want, including playing on the Internet or computer games, instead of disciplining our children with righteous thoughts.
Young practitioners should not play computer games, but instead could be offered some small games aimed at stimulating the brain after having done the three things well. However, they should be reminded of the interference that games pose to their schoolwork and Dafa work. Slowly they will get rid of the attachments to computer games by themselves and their interests may turn to less harmful activities.
To respond to their requests for buying material things, we can agree to some inexpensive and useful items based on our financial situation. If the things they ask for are too costly or not meaningful, we can teach them to be thrifty and save money for Dafa materials, which are much more important. With patience, young practitioners will eventually give up their unreasonable requests.
As for jealousy, we should show love and kindness to our children, and explain to them why we need to care about other young practitioners as well. For example, I told my sons, "Some young practitioners don't have the luxury of living with their parents, so we all need to help look after them; it was wrong for me to be inconsiderate of your feelings, but you also need to get rid of your jealousy." Once my children understood that they had no need to fear losing my love, they became much nicer to other young practitioners.
As for the fear of hard work, I started with asking my children to help me with some housework, like folding clothes, cleaning the house, simple cooking, etc. I compliment them when they do the work well, or correct them when they do it wrong. A high school girl in my summer school last year didn't even know how to wash dishes or look after her younger siblings when she first came to the school, but afterwards, she was able to help her parents with housework.
From September 8, 2007 to now, we have been using the successful experience of summer school to arrange some weekend activities for young practitioners. Every Saturday, practitioners would bring their children to the Dafa practice site close to my home and we would do things together. In the afternoon, we would come to my home to study the Fa, share experiences, tell some stories, and do some scientific experiments. Fellow practitioners put together textbooks and materials from the basis of the Fa. With good collaboration, these weekend activities are getting popular among young practitioners. We hope that young practitioners will gain a better understanding of Dafa and assimilate themselves into Dafa through these activities.
We should also improve our communication with young practitioners and let them know more about the persecution. When the children and I are studying the Fa, I tell them to read the book with their heart and look up words that they aren't sure of. They are welcome to raise any questions, which are answered in a way that is easy for them to understand. I also pay close attention to their emotional needs and school work. Eventually I become a bridge between the young practitioners and their parents on communication. Since the 6-day class during the Easter holiday, so many children want to come to our class that my home isn't big enough to accommodate them, so we had to start a few other classes in different neighbourhoods. The manpower of Dafa practitioners in Hong Kong is limited, but quite a few fellow practitioners have been volunteering to work with young practitioners.
From May to August this year, the Udumbara flowers blossomed four times in Hong Kong, and they were all related to our young practitioners. We should continue to encourage our young practitioners to cultivate more diligently in the Fa-rectification period.
The parents of some children at our practice site are cultivating and doing Dafa work diligently, and they don't have much time to look after their children. In that case, I take on the responsibility of taking care of these young practitioners. No matter how busy I was with Dafa work in the summer, I managed to study the Fa and practice the exercises with them from Monday to Saturday, and we also went to distribute The Epoch Times newspaper at the Disneyland Park. We do the three things together every day: studying the Fa in the morning and calling China to clarify the truth about Falun Dafa, and practising the exercises in the afternoon.
In August, I joined the The Epoch Times distribution team to give them a hand because circulation of the newspaper increased sharply, so I became busier. Usually I would prepare breakfast for my sons and leave home right after finishing sending forth righteous thoughts at 6:00 a.m. I then went out to pick up the newspapers and distribute them, then set up a booth with display boards for truth-clarification. I went home to send forth righteous thoughts and prepare a simple lunch for my sons and myself. In the afternoon, I would do the three things with the young practitioners who are between 5 and 13 years old: we studied the Fa together for one hour, sent forth righteous thoughts, and spent one hour calling China to clarify the truth, then practiced the exercises. Afterwards, we would also talk about some persecution cases reported on the Clearwisdom website, and share cultivation stories and experiences.
Calling China to clarify the truth of Falun Dafa gives young practitioners an opportunity to learn about the severity of the persecution and a chance to talk directly to some persecutors, as most of the phone numbers belong to people in the police, forced labor camps, or 610 Office branches involved in the persecution, and can be found on the Clearwisdom website and Global Rescue Campaign websites. In the beginning, the children were afraid and shy about making phone calls, but now they are eager for the opportunity to call. I write down some things they can say on the phone, and they read it while I send forth righteous thoughts. We also play audio recordings exposing the persecution over the phone. Once, a five-year-old practitioner from Japan joined us in experience sharing, and she could sing "Falun Dafa Is Good" on the phone very well. The results of our calling China are usually very good, due to the young practitioners' pure hearts.
Solving the problems we encounter in our activities with the children not only helps young practitioners to improve themselves, but also benefits me in my cultivation. Running the summer school for over a month was not an easy job, but I feel I have gained a lot and gotten rid of many attachments. My sons stopped playing computer games, and have been doing the three things better than before.
Please point out anything not in line with the Fa.
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