146. The Principles of How to View the Education of One’s Children
(1) It is incumbent on parents to exhort and guide their children toward having faith in God and onto the right path of life, yet the minimal education a child should undertake must not be delayed;
(2) Children should be taught according to God’s word the truth and guided toward becoming honest people who cast off corruption and live out a true human likeness;
(3) One should only fellowship on the truth based in God’s words regarding their children’s choices for their future. Moreover, one must respect their children’s choices, and never force them to believe in God;
(4) Do not merely use the truth to guide your children onto the path of belief in God; also ensure that they acquire some practical knowledge. Only then can they fulfill their duties and expend themselves for God.
Relevant Words of God:
Regarding the treatment of children, all parents hope their children will receive a higher education, and, one day, will make a name for themselves and have a role to play in society, with a steady income and influence. This alone would honor their ancestors. This concept is common to everyone. “May my son be a dragon, and my daughter a phoenix,” as the saying goes. Is this concept correct? Everyone wants their children to attend a prestigious university, followed by postgraduate studies. They believe that once they have gotten their degrees, their children will make names for themselves, for all people, in their hearts, worship knowledge. “The worth of other pursuits is small, the study of books excels them all,” they believe. Moreover, today’s society is extremely competitive. Without a degree, one might not eat—this is how all people think, and the view they hold—as if a degree alone could decide one’s future and livelihood. This is why every person makes higher education and acceptance into an institute of higher learning the first priority in their demands of their children. In reality, those educations people pursue, that knowledge they acquire, and those thoughts of theirs are all antithetical to God and the truth; they are loathed and condemned by Him. What is man’s point of view? It is that, without knowledge and education, a person has no leg to stand on in this society and this world, and is a lesser person, a pauper. In your eyes, whoever lacks knowledge, whoever is uncultured, or largely uneducated, is someone you look down on, and scorn, and treat as insignificant. Is this not so? Your point of view and premise are themselves incorrect. You raise your children to go to school and get a higher education in order that they might have a good future, yet have you ever considered how many of Satan’s poisons this education will have instilled in them by the time they are done? How many of its thoughts and theories will be instilled in your children? People do not think of these things; they know only that if their children attend an institution of higher learning, they will succeed and honor their ancestors. As a result, the day will come when your children come home, and you speak to them of believing in God, and they are repulsed. When you speak to them of the truth, they will call you silly, and laugh at you, and view your words with contempt. When that day comes, you will feel you chose the wrong path in sending your children to such a school to receive such an education, but, by then, it will be too late for regret. Once those thoughts and views have entered a person, and laid root and taken shape inside them, they cannot be removed or altered overnight. You cannot turn such a state around, nor can you remedy such thoughts as they now have, and you cannot pluck things out of their thoughts and views. There is no one who says, “I’ll send my children to school just to learn their ABCs and how to read and understand God’s words. After that, I’ll have them focus on believing in God, and they’ll study some useful profession, too. Better that they should be people of good caliber and humanity who can perform their duty in God’s house. However, if they can’t perform their duty, they’ll have a way to provide for themselves and their family in the world, and that will suffice. What matters is seeing that they accept what comes from God in His house, and not letting them be polluted and tarred by society.” When it comes to their own children, no one willingly brings them before God for the sole purpose of accepting the truth of His words, of behaving according to the truth and God’s requirements. People are unwilling to do this, and they dare not, lest their children have no livelihood or future in society. What does this view confirm? It confirms that people are uninterested in the truth and believing in God. They have no faith in God, much less true faith in Him, and, in their hearts, what they look up to and worship remains this world. They feel that, if they leave the world behind, they will have no way to live, whereas, if they leave God behind, they might yet have food, clothes, and shelter. They feel that, if they leave knowledge and the education of society behind, then they are finished, a square peg in a society of round holes, and that to be discarded and eliminated by society means they cannot survive. You lack faith to say that if you leave the world behind and rely on God, you can live, that God will give you a lifeline that will allow you to live. You do not have the understanding or courage to say this. These words are not meant to demand that you truly practice thus, but to say that, before you practice thus and address these issues, such thoughts and views have already taken shape inside you, and are controlling your every word and deed. They can decide how you will act in the future, and how you will handle these issues.
Excerpted from “Only by Recognizing Your Misguided Views Can You Know Yourself” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
No matter how dissatisfied one is with one’s birth, maturation, or marriage, everyone who has gone through these things knows that one cannot choose where and when they were born, what they look like, who their parents are, and who their spouse is, but must simply accept the will of Heaven. Yet when it comes time for people to raise the next generation, they will project all the desires they failed to realize in the first half of their lives onto their descendants, hoping that their offspring will make up for all the disappointments of the first half of their own lives. So people indulge in all kinds of fantasies about their children: that their daughters will grow up to be stunning beauties, their sons dashing gentlemen; that their daughters will be cultured and talented and their sons brilliant students and star athletes; that their daughters will be gentle, virtuous, and sensible, and their sons intelligent, capable, and sensitive. They hope that their offspring, whether they be daughters or sons, will respect their elders, be considerate of their parents, be loved and praised by everyone…. At this point, hopes for life spring afresh, and new passions are kindled in people’s hearts. People know that they are powerless and hopeless in this life, that they will not have another chance or another hope to stand out from the crowd, and that they have no choice but to accept their fates. And so they project all their hopes, their unrealized desires and ideals, onto the next generation, hoping that their offspring can help them achieve their dreams and realize their desires; that their daughters and sons will bring glory to the family name, become important, rich, or famous. In short, they want to see their children’s fortunes soar. People’s plans and fantasies are perfect; do they not know that the number of children they have, their children’s appearance, abilities, and so forth, are not for them to decide, that not a bit of their children’s fates is in their hands? Humans are not the masters of their own fate, yet they hope to change the fates of the younger generation; they are powerless to escape their own fates, yet they try to control those of their sons and daughters. Are they not overestimating themselves? Is this not human foolishness and ignorance?
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Everyone who comes into the world has a mission; one does not come into the world arbitrarily, nor is the arrangement a mistake. The arrival of each person in the human world, no matter what they study or do, is in order that they may play a role in this world. What role is that? Their role is to complete a task and perform some actions in this world. For example, two people get married and have a child, and these three people form a complete family. What does the mother live for in this family? She lives to complete her mission and her role as a mother, which are to look after her child and husband, and take care of the home; these are the things she lives for. What does the child in this family live for? What role does the child play? They are the family’s offspring who will carry on its name; they play the part of the next generation of this family. The child’s presence establishes and completes the family. To complete the family—this is the child’s first role. Boy or girl, they have their mission in the family. Are the step-by-step arrangements for the child’s destiny—what their fate will be, what they will study in society, where they will work, the job they will do, the duty they will do when they enter God’s house, their special skills, and what they will do—not all planned out by God? Does the child itself have a choice? From the moment they are born into their family, they do not, in fact, have any choice over any stage of their destiny; it is all arranged by God. There is truth within the statement, “It is all arranged by God,” and it relates to what people live for. Say you study music—this is a condition you have; this is the family environment you are in. Are you the one who have chosen to study music? Your taking this course was not of your own volition. When you complete this kind of mission, and complete this kind of action, who is it you complete it for? You complete it because it was predestined by God; you do not do it by your own choice. Is your fulfilling this task not a result of the Creator’s orchestrations? You now perform your duty, and you apply what you have studied and what you know to your duty; who decided this? This was decided by God; it was not up to you. Looking at this objectively, who are you living for now? In fact, everyone is the same. They live for the sake of God’s sovereignty and His arrangements. Every person is like a chess piece. Where God puts you, where you go, what you do, and how long you stay in a place are all orchestrated by God. So, in terms of God’s orchestrations, for whom does mankind live? In truth, they live for God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and they live for His management; they are not their own masters.
Excerpted from God’s Fellowship
No matter who they are, a person is the path they walk—this is beyond doubt: The path they walk determines what they are. The path they walk and the kind of person they are is their own business, it is ordained, innate, and related to their nature. So what role does what people are taught by their parents play? Does it make a difference to people’s nature? (No.) What people are taught by their mother and father makes no difference to their nature. Parents can only teach their children certain simple behaviors for everyday life, a few relatively crude ways of thinking and behaving; these bear some relation to parents. Before their children grow up, parents do what they are supposed to: They teach their children to walk the right path, to study hard, to try and be successful when they grow up, to not do bad things, to not be a bad person. Parents’ responsibilities also include making sure their children follow norms of behavior, teaching them to be polite and to say hello to their elders, teaching them certain things to do with behavior. Parents’ influence covers looking after their children and teaching them certain basic principles of behavior—but a person’s temperament is not something that can be taught by parents. Some parents are phlegmatic, and don’t do anything in a hurry—whereas their child’s temperament is impatient, they can’t stay anywhere long, at the early age of 14 or 15 they start making their own way in life. They decide what they do, they don’t need their parents, they’re highly independent. Are they taught this by their mother and father? No. And so, a person’s temperament, disposition—things to do with their essence, even, and the path they choose in the future—none of these bear any relation to their parents. Some people retort, “How could there be no relation? Some people come from a long and distinguished line of artists. They are proof of the words ‘To feed without teaching is the father’s fault.’” Is this right? (No.) It is a mistake to use this example as a rebuttal. Lineage only has an effect on their skills; everyone in their family may have learned one thing, and on the face of it, they, too, chose this thing—but at root, this was determined by God. How were they born into this family? Was it not ordained by God? Parents can only influence their external behavior, and perhaps certain simple predilections. But after the children grow up, their life’s goals and endeavors, and their fate, have nothing to do with their parents. Some parents are ordinary, dutiful farmers and their children become heads of government or titans of industry. Some parents are lawyers or doctors—talented people—and they have children who are good-for-nothings that can’t find a job anywhere. Were the children taught this by their parents? If parents are lawyers, are they likely to teach their children less, and have less of an influence on them? Absolutely not. Never has a parent said, “I’ve been so successful in life, but I don’t want my child to be as successful as me; it’s too much effort, they’re better off being a cowherd.” They would undoubtedly wish for their child to emulate them, to turn out like them. What happens after this education ends? Children are as they ought to be, they are as their fate dictates. No one can change this. Parents get angry and anxious when they see their children performing badly in school. They do everything they can, they hire a tutor, and select a good school for them—and what happens? The children can’t find a job after they graduate from college, and have to go begging to their parents for money. What fact does this show? That a child’s path has nothing to do with their parents. Some parents believe in God and teach their children to believe in God—but no matter what the parents say, the children refuse to, and there’s nothing the parents can do about it. Some parents don’t believe in God and their children do, on their own initiative. After they believe in God, the children start to follow God, and expend for God, and their fate is changed as a result. Parents say, “To feed without teaching is the father’s fault—we didn’t pay enough attention to our child.” Is this a matter of paying attention? (No.) You can’t see what anyone’s path will be before they grow up; once they are an adult, they have their own mind, they can figure things out, and so they choose what kind of person they will be in this group of people. Some people say they want to work high up in government, others that they want to be a lawyer, or a writer; each makes their own choice. No one says, “I’ll wait for my parents to teach me, I’ll be whatever they teach me.” No one’s that stupid. After they reach adulthood, people’s minds come alive; slowly but surely, they mature, and the path and goals before them become increasingly clear; at this time, the type of person they are, and the tribe they belong to, gradually comes to the surface, appearing bit-by-bit. From this time onwards, each person’s temperament gradually becomes clear, as do their disposition, and the path they strive for, their life’s direction, and the tribe they belong to. What is this based on? In the final analysis, this is ordained by God, and has nothing to do with parents—now this is clear to you.
Excerpted from “They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part One)” in Exposing Antich
Besides birth and childrearing, the parents’ responsibility in their children’s lives is simply to provide them with a formal environment to grow up in, for nothing except the predestination of the Creator has a bearing on a person’s fate. No one can control what kind of future a person will have; it is predetermined long in advance, and not even one’s parents can change one’s fate. As far as fate is concerned, everyone is independent, and everyone has their own fate. So, no one’s parents can stave off one’s fate in life or exert the slightest influence on the role one plays in life. It could be said that the family into which one is destined to be born and the environment in which one grows up are nothing more than the preconditions for fulfilling one’s mission in life. They do not in any way determine a person’s fate in life or the kind of destiny within which a person fulfills their mission. And so, no one’s parents can assist one in accomplishing one’s mission in life, and likewise, no one’s relatives can help one assume one’s role in life. How one accomplishes one’s mission and in what kind of living environment one performs one’s role are entirely determined by one’s fate in life. In other words, no other objective conditions can influence a person’s mission, which is predestined by the Creator. All people become mature in the particular environments in which they grow up; then gradually, step by step, they set off down their own roads in life and fulfill the destinies planned for them by the Creator. Naturally, involuntarily, they enter the vast sea of humanity and assume their own posts in life, where they begin to fulfill their responsibilities as created beings for the sake of the Creator’s predestination, for the sake of His sovereignty.
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh