Mother of 3
Meiling L. is the mother of three girls. After giving birth to her first daughter, she was overwhelmed with a lot of emotions and uncertain of how to parent. A lack of sleep and some residual labor pain added more stress that she was not prepared for nor told about at the time. She also began to experience postpartum depression. Fortunately though, a friend of hers reconnected her with Falun Dafa, an ancient Chinese cultivation practice that she had known before but was not decisive enough to keep at it. Encouraged by her friend, Meiling resumed reading the book and doing the exercises. Soon it helped her to get rid of the postpartum depression because she was able to let go of the fear, doubt, and uncertainty that were the cause of the depression.
Since then, she has tried to follow the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance in every aspect of her life including being a mom. She shared:
“I do my best to instill positive values and morals in my children so they can make the right choices or do the right thing when they come across challenges in life.
When children misbehave, it’s easy to get angry and blame them even if what they did was an accident. However, that never solves anything and feelings get hurt. In those situations, when I’m able to remain calm and be understanding, I would sit them down and talk about their behavior from the perspective of the principles of the practice. But if I lose my temper, I would look within and see where I could improve to better handle the situation in the future. Then I would talk to them. I do apologize to them if I get angry and for not being patient enough. Our talks usually revolve around the problem and how they can improve themselves. In any difficult situation, as long as I look within to reflect on myself first, I find most of the time the situation isn’t as difficult and can be resolved easily.”
Mother of 5
Being a small family farmer and also a restaurant owner, Diana ‘s life is already plagued by stress and pressure. Let alone mothering her five children with the oldest being 20 and the youngest one just 6. But much of her tension was diminished when she picked up Falun Dafa in 2013. She talked about the change in her parenting approach: “I used to discipline them with emotion. It was exhausting. Even though some days are more tiring and trying than others, I am never as emotionally spent as I used to be. When I started practicing, I ran the gamut of understanding how to discipline with compassion, which I’m still figuring out. But the biggest part of it for me was when I realized that I needed to have more control over myself and not over them. In understanding my role in their lives, I can better guide them.”
Diana found that her life got even easier when her children, one by one, followed her to practice.
‘I think the biggest thing is that we all do it together. The kids and I all read the Falun Dafa teachings and we all do the exercises. The understanding of the principles of Falun Dafa vary in each one of us, but we all understand the need to look within when we encounter problems and we all need to practice truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance to the best of our abilities. As simple and universal as these principles seem, they are sometimes difficult to practice. But the best part is having this moral compass to always compare ourselves against,’ said her.
Mother of 2
Mothering a young child requires intensive time, care, and patience. But as a state official and a mother of twin boys, Amy has found many moments where she has wanted to slack off in her parenting duties because she was too attached to her own comfort and personal time.
When she puts her whole heart in cultivating herself in Falun Dafa, drastic changes are seen in her attitude toward life. She feels thankful for the hardship that she confronts in life and in parenting as it provides her with an opportunity to better herself. When her children misbehave, she tries to look within to understand where her shortcomings lie and how they’ve contributed to the situation. She has learned to put herself in her children’s shoes by asking, “Are they upset because I’ve been too attached to my personal time and space and I’ve neglected to respond to their needs and wants? Have I spoken too harshly to them and, in turn, allowed them to be harsh with me?”
Truly evaluating her behavior and thoughts against these principles, she came to realize, “Children see and understand quite a bit more than many believe, and much like their parents, are a reflection of their environment. If I have shortcomings and am lacking, my children will see that example and follow suit. It is my duty as a parent to show them the correct way, to show them truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.’
Mothers are deemed to have the greatest influence over their children. Social and family researchers have recognized more and more the importance of family education, which has been neglected for quite some time, in the moral and spiritual development of a child, where mothering should be put in the center. It is only the great care, compassion, and tolerance of a mother that can make a difference, as the three stories above show us.
(The cover photo: Meiling with her daughters. (Photo courtesy of Meiling L.))