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 Christ’s Talks
One Has No Control Over What Becomes of One’s Offspring
Birth, growing up, and marriage all bring disappointment of various kinds and in different degrees. Some people are dissatisfied with their families or their own physical appearance; some dislike their parents; some resent or have complaints about the environment in which they grew up. And for most people, among all these disappointments, marriage is the most dissatisfactory. 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.
Excerpted from “Only by Performing the Duty of a Created Being Well Does One’s Life Have Value” in Records of Christ’s Talks
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.
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh