How to Pursue the Truth (18) Part Two

At our last gathering, we fellowshipped on content relating to parental expectations within “letting go of the burdens that come from one’s family.” We have finished fellowshipping on the relevant principles and major topics involved in this. Next, we will fellowship on another aspect of letting go of the burdens that come from one’s family—letting go of expectations for one’s offspring. This time we’ll change roles. Regarding the content that involves approaching parental expectations, these are some things that people ought to do from the perspective of a child. When it comes to how children should approach and handle the various expectations that their parents have for them, and the various approaches that their parents use on them, and what principles they should practice, this is about correctly approaching the different problems that come from parents from the perspective of a child. Today, we will fellowship on the topic of “letting go of expectations for one’s offspring,” which is about handling the various problems that people have regarding their children from the perspective of a parent. There are lessons that should be learned and principles that should be observed here. As a child, what matters most is how you should face your parents’ expectations, what sort of attitude you should adopt toward these expectations, as well as what way you should follow, and what principles of practice you ought to possess in this situation. Naturally, every person has the chance to be a parent, or they may be a parent already; this touches on the expectations and attitudes that people have toward their offspring. Whether you are the parent or the child, you ought to possess different principles for dealing with the expectations of the other side. Children have principles that they ought to observe when it comes to approaching their parents’ expectations, and naturally, parents also have truth principles that they ought to observe for approaching the expectations of their children. So first have a think, what principles can you see or think of now that parents ought to observe in their treatment of their children? If we speak about principles, this might be a bit distant for you, and the topic might be a bit too broad and deep, so instead let’s talk about what expectations you would have for your offspring if you were a parent. (God, if I were to become a parent one day, first of all, I would hope that my children would be healthy, and could grow up healthy. Furthermore, I’d hope that they could have their own dreams, and that they’d be ambitious about fulfilling their dreams in life, that they’d have good prospects. These are the two main things I’d hope for.) Would you hope that your children would become high-ranking officials or that they’d become very wealthy? (I’d hope for those things too. I’d hope that they could, at least, get ahead in the world, be better than other people, and be looked up to by others.) The most basic requirements that parents have for their children are that they will be physically healthy, that they’ll be successful in their careers, move up in the world, and have everything go well in their lives. Are there any different expectations that parents have for their offspring? Whoever has children, speak up. (I hope that my children will be healthy, and that things will go smoothly in their lives, and that their lives will be peaceful and safe. I hope they will be in harmony with their family, and that they can respect the old and care for the young.) Anything else? (If I were to become a parent one day, aside from the expectations that have just been spoken about, I’d also hope that my children would be obedient and sensible, that they’d show filial piety to me, and that I could count on them to take care of me in my old age.) This expectation is quite crucial. Parents hoping that their children will show filial piety to them is a relatively traditional expectation that people have in their notions and subconscious. This is a fairly representative matter.

Letting go of expectations for one’s offspring is a very important part of letting go of the burdens that come from one’s family. All parents place certain expectations on their children. Whether they be great or small, near or distant, these expectations are an attitude that parents have toward their children’s comportment, actions, lives, or how their children approach them. They are also a kind of specific requirement. These specific requirements are, from the perspective of their children, things that they ought to do, because, based on traditional notions, children cannot go against the orders of their parents—if they do, then they are unfilial. Consequently, many people carry great and heavy burdens regarding this matter. So, shouldn’t people understand whether the specific expectations that parents have for their offspring are reasonable or not, and whether their parents ought to have these expectations or not, as well as which of these expectations are reasonable, which are unreasonable, which are legitimate, and which are forced and illegitimate? Furthermore, there are truth principles that people ought to understand and observe when it comes to how they should approach parental expectations, how they should accept or reject them, and the attitude and perspective from which they should view and approach these expectations. When these things have not been resolved, parents often shoulder these kinds of burdens, thinking that it is their responsibility and obligation to have expectations for their children and offspring, and, naturally, that they are even more things that they ought to possess. They think that if they had no expectations for their offspring, it would be the same as not fulfilling their responsibilities or obligations to their offspring, and equivalent to not doing what parents ought to do. They think that this would make them bad parents, parents who do not fulfill their responsibilities. Therefore, when it comes to the matter of the expectations they have for their offspring, people involuntarily generate various requirements for their children. They have different requirements for different children at different times and under different circumstances. Since they have this kind of view and burden when it comes to their children, parents go and do the things that they ought to do according to these unwritten rules, no matter whether they are right or wrong. Parents make demands of their children while treating these approaches as a kind of obligation, and as a kind of responsibility, and at the same time, they force them upon their children, making their children achieve them. We will separate this matter into several stages in our fellowship; it will be clearer that way.

Before their children reach adulthood, parents already put forward various requirements for them. Of course, within these various requirements, they also pin various kinds of expectations on them. So, while parents are pinning different expectations on their children, they personally pay various prices and produce various kinds of approaches in order to realize these expectations. Therefore, before children reach adulthood, parents educate them in various ways, and have various requirements for them. For example, from a very young age, they tell their children: “You need to study well and study more. You will only be better than everyone else and not be looked down on by others after you’ve done well in your studies.” There are also parents who teach their children that they need to show them filial piety after they grow up, to the extent that, when their children are just two or three years old, they always ask them: “Will you take care of your dad after you grow up?” And their children say: “Yes.” They ask: “Will you take care of your mom?” “Yes.” “Do you love your dad more or your mom?” “I love my dad.” “No, you have to say that you love your mom first, then say that you love your dad.” Their children then learn these things from their parents. The education of their parents, whether by words or by example, has a deep influence on children’s young minds. Of course, it also imparts a certain amount of basic knowledge on them, teaching them that their parents are the people who love and adore them most in the world, and the people to whom they most ought to show obedience and filial piety. Naturally, the idea that “Since my parents are the people closest to me in the world, I should always obey them” is planted in their young minds. At the same time, an idea arises in their young minds, which is that since their parents are the people closest to them, then everything their parents do must be to ensure that their children can live better lives. Consequently, they think that they should unconditionally accept the actions of their parents; no matter what kind of methods are used by them, no matter whether they are humane or inhumane, they believe that they ought to accept them. At an age where they still do not have any ability to discern between right and wrong, the education of their parents, through words or through example, plants this kind of idea within them. Under the direction of this kind of idea, parents can demand that their children do various things, under the guise of wanting the best for them. Even though some of those things are not in line with humanity, or their children’s talents, caliber, or preferences, under these circumstances, where children have no right to act on their own initiative or any of their own autonomy, they have no choice and no ability to resist regarding their parents’ so-called expectations and demands. All they can do is obey their parents’ every word, let their parents have their way, put themselves at their parents’ mercy, and be steered by their parents onto any kind of path. Therefore, before their children reach adulthood, everything that parents do, whether unintentional or stemming from good intentions, will have a bit of a positive or negative impact on their children’s comportment and actions. That is, everything they do will plant various ideas and views within their children, and these ideas and views may even be buried deep in their children’s subconscious, so that after they become adults, these ideas and views will still deeply influence how they view people and things, comport themselves and act, and even the paths that they walk.

Before they reach adulthood, children have no means of resistance against the living environments, inheritance, or education that their parents pass on to them, because they are not yet adults, and they do not understand things very well yet. When I speak of the period before a child reaches adulthood, I am referring to when a child cannot think or judge right from wrong independently. Under these circumstances, children can only put themselves at the mercy of their parents. It is exactly because parents call the shots about everything before their children reach adulthood, that parents will, during this evil era, adopt corresponding methods of education, ideas, and views based on social trends, to incite their children to do certain things. For example, competition in society right now is very fierce. Parents have been influenced by the climate of various societal trends and consensuses, so they accept this message that competition is fierce, and quickly pass it on to their children. What they accept is the phenomenon and trend of competition in society being very fierce, but what they feel is a kind of pressure. When they feel this pressure, they quickly think of their children, saying: “Competition is so fierce in society right now, it wasn’t like this when we were young. If our children study, work, and approach society, and various people and things in the same way that we did, they will be swiftly cast out of society. So, we need to take advantage of the fact that they are still young, we need to start working on them now—we cannot let our children lose at the starting line.” Right now, competition in society is fierce, and people all pin great hopes on their children, so they quickly pass this kind of pressure that they accepted from society onto their children. Now, are their children aware of this? Because they are not yet adults, they are not aware of this at all. They do not know whether this pressure that comes from their parents is right or wrong, or whether they should reject it or accept it. When parents see their children acting like this, they rebuke them: “How could you be so stupid? Competition is so fierce in society right now, and you still don’t understand anything. Hurry up and go to kindergarten!” At what age do children go to kindergarten? Some of them start at three or four years old. Why is this? In society right now, a phrase is being circulated: You can’t let your children lose at the starting line, education should begin from a very early age. See, very young children suffer, and begin kindergarten at three or four years old. And what kind of kindergarten do people choose? In ordinary kindergartens, teachers often play games like “The Eagle and the Chickens” with children, so parents think that they can’t choose kindergartens like that. They believe that they have to choose a fancy, bilingual kindergarten. And, to them, learning just one language isn’t enough. When children still don’t speak their mother tongue well, they have to learn a second language. Isn’t this making things difficult for children? But what do parents say? “We can’t let our child lose at the starting line. Right now, there are one-year-olds being taught by nannies at home. The children’s parents speak their mother tongue, and the nannies speak a second language, teaching the children English, Spanish, or Portuguese. Our child is already four, they’re already a bit too old. If we don’t start teaching them now, it’ll be too late. We have to start educating them as early as possible, and find a kindergarten that teaches in two languages, where the teachers have bachelor’s and master’s degrees.” People say: “That kind of school is too expensive.” They respond: “It’s fine. We have a big house; we can move into a smaller one. We’ll sell our three-bedroom house and swap it for a two-bedroom. We’ll save that money and use it to send our child to a fancy kindergarten.” Choosing a good kindergarten is not enough, they think that they have to get tutors to help their children study for the Mathematical Olympiad in their spare time. Even if their children innately dislike studying for it, they still have to do it, and if they fail at studying it, then they’ll study dance. If they’re no good at dance, they’ll learn to sing. If they’re no good at singing, and their parents see that they have a good frame, and long arms and legs, then they’ll think perhaps they can become a model. Then they’ll send them to art school to study modeling. In this way, children begin to be sent to boarding schools at the age of four or five, and their families’ homes go from three-bedroom houses to two-bedroom houses, from two-bedroom houses to one-bedroom houses, from one-bedroom houses to rented houses. The tutoring sessions that their children attend outside of school grow increasingly in number, and their homes become progressively smaller. There are even some parents who move their whole families to the south, to the north, moving back and forth, so that their children can go to good schools, and in the end, they no longer know where to go, their children do not know where their hometowns are, and it’s all a big mess. Parents pay various prices before their children have reached adulthood for the sake of their children’s futures, so that their children won’t lose at the starting line, and so that their children can adapt to this increasingly competitive society, and have a good job and a stable income later on. Some parents are very capable, they run big businesses or serve as high-ranking officials, and they make high, enormous investments in their children. Some parents are not that capable, but just like other people, they want to send their children to fancy schools, various after-school classes, dance classes, art classes, to study different languages and music, putting a lot of pressure and pain on their children. Their children then think: “When will I be allowed to play a little? When will I grow up and be able to call the shots like adults do? When will I not have to go to school anymore, like an adult? When will I be able to watch a bit of TV, let my mind go black, and go for a walk somewhere by myself, without being led around by my parents?” But their parents often say: “If you don’t study, you’ll have to beg for food in the future. Look at how little promise you have! It’s not time for you to play yet, you can play when you’re older! If you play now, you won’t be successful in the future; if you play later, you can have more and better fun, you can travel the world. Haven’t you seen all those wealthy people in the world—did they play when they were young? They just studied.” Their parents just lie to them. Did their parents see with their own eyes that those wealthy people only studied and never played? Do they understand this matter? Some of the rich and wealthiest people in the world didn’t go to university—that is a fact. Sometimes when parents speak, they are just tricking their children. Before their children reach adulthood, parents tell all kinds of lies in order to get a better hold on their futures, and control their children and make them obey. Of course, they also endure all kinds of suffering, and pay all kinds of prices for this. This is the so-called “praiseworthy love of a parent.”

In order to realize their expectations for their offspring, parents pin many hopes on their children. Consequently, they do not only educate, guide, and influence their children with their words, at the same time, they also use concrete actions to regulate their children, and to make their children obey them, act and live according to the trajectory that they have designated and the direction that they have established. Regardless of whether or not their children are willing to do this, ultimately parents just say one thing: “If you don’t listen to me, you’ll regret it! If you don’t obey me or take your studies seriously now, and you regret it one day, don’t come to me, don’t say that I didn’t tell you so!” One time, we went to a building to conduct some affairs, and saw a few movers expending a lot of effort to move some furniture up the stairs. They were faced with a mother who was leading her son down the stairs. If a normal person saw this scene, they would say: “There are people moving furniture, let’s get out of their way.” The people going downstairs would have to hurry to get out of the way, without bumping into something, or bothering the movers. But when the mother saw this scene, she took the opportunity to start practicing some situational teaching. I can still remember what she said very clearly. What did she say? She said: “Look how heavy the things they’re moving are, and how tiring it is. They didn’t take their studies seriously when they were children, and now they can’t find good jobs, so they have to move furniture and work very hard. Do you see this?” The son seemed to partially understand, and believed that what his mother said was correct. A sincere expression of fear, horror, and belief appeared in his eyes, and he nodded his head, looking again at the movers. The mother took advantage of this opportunity to hurry and lecture her son, telling him: “Do you see? If you don’t take your studies seriously when you’re young, then when you grow up, you’ll have to move furniture and work very hard like this in order to make a living.” Were these statements right? (No.) In what way were they wrong? This mother took any opportunity to lecture her son—what do you think her son’s mindset was after hearing this? Was he able to discern whether these statements were right or wrong? (No.) So, what did he think? (“If I don’t take my studies seriously, I’ll have to work very hard like this in the future.”) He thought: “Oh no, all the people who have to work really hard didn’t take their studies seriously. I must listen to my mom, and do well in my studies. My mom is right, everyone who doesn’t study has to work very hard.” The ideas he receives from his mother become life-long truths in his heart. Tell Me, isn’t this parent foolish? (Yes, she is.) In what way is she foolish? If she uses this matter to compel her son to study, will her son definitely amount to something? Will it guarantee that he won’t need to work very hard or sweat in the future? Is it a good thing for her to use this matter, this scene, to scare her son? (It’s a bad thing.) It will cast a lifelong shadow over her son. This is not a good thing. Even if this child gains a bit of discernment about these words after he grows up, it will still be hard to remove this theory which his mother expressed from his heart and from his subconscious. To a certain degree, it will mislead and bind his thoughts, and orientate his views on things. Most of the expectations that parents have for their children before they become adults are that they will be able to study a lot, try hard, be diligent, and not fall short of their expectations. Therefore, before their children become adults, no matter what the cost, parents do everything for their children, they sacrifice their own youth, years, and time, as well as their own health and their normal lives, and some parents even give up their own jobs, their old aspirations, or even their own faith, in order to train their children and help them study while they are attending school. In the church, there are quite a few people who spend all of their time with their children, training them, so that they can be by their sides as they grow into adults, so that their children can be successful in their careers and have stable jobs in the future, and so that things will go smoothly in their children’s work. These parents do not go to gatherings or perform duties. They have certain demands regarding their own faith in their hearts, and they possess a little bit of resolve and aspiration, but because they cannot let go of their expectations for their children, they choose to accompany them during this period before they reach adulthood, abandoning their own duties as created beings, and their own pursuits regarding their faith. This is the most tragic thing. Some parents pay many prices in order to train their children to become actors, artists, writers, or scientists, and to enable their children to satisfy their expectations. They leave their jobs, abandon their careers, and even more so, they abandon their own dreams and enjoyment in order to accompany their children. There are even parents who give up their married lives for their children. After they get divorced, they take on the heavy burden of raising and training their children alone, betting their lives on their children, and dedicating them to their children’s futures, just so that they can realize their expectations for their children. There are also some parents who do many things that they shouldn’t do, who pay many unnecessary prices, sacrifice their own time, physical health, and pursuits before their children reach adulthood, so that their children can get ahead in the world in the future, and establish themselves in society. In one respect, for the parents, these are some needless sacrifices. In another respect, for their children, these approaches place a huge pressure and burden on them before they reach adulthood. This is because their parents have paid too many prices, because, whether in terms of money, time, or energy, their parents have expended too much. However, before these children reach adulthood, and while they still lack the ability to discern right from wrong, they have no choice; they can only let their parents act like this. Even if they have some thoughts in the depths of their minds, they still comply with their parents’ actions. Under these circumstances, children imperceptibly start to think that their parents have paid such great prices to train them, and that they will not be able to completely repay or recompense their parents in this life. As a result, during the time that their parents are training and accompanying them, they think that the only things they can do, the only things they can carry out in order to repay their parents, are to make their parents happy, to achieve great things to satisfy them, and to not disappoint them. As for parents, during this time before their children reach adulthood, after they have paid these prices, and as their expectations for their children grow greater and greater, their mindset gradually turns into a demand of their children. That is, after parents have paid these so-called prices and made these so-called expenditures, they demand that their children must succeed, and achieve great things to repay them. Therefore, regardless of whether we are looking at this from the perspective of a parent or a child, within this relationship of “expending for” and “being expended for,” the expectations that parents have for their children grow higher and higher. “Their expectations grow higher and higher” is a nice way of saying this. Actually, in the depths of parents’ hearts, the more they expend and sacrifice, the more they think that their children should repay them with success, and at the same time, the more they think that their children are indebted to them. The more parents expend, and the more hopes they have, the higher their expectations become, and the bigger their expectations about their children repaying them grow. The expectations that parents have for their offspring before they reach adulthood, from “They need to learn lots of things, they can’t lose at the starting line” to “After they grow up, they need to get ahead in the world, and establish themselves in society,” gradually become a kind of demand that they make of their children. That demand is: After you grow up and establish yourself in society, don’t forget your roots, don’t forget your parents, your parents are the people you need to repay first, you must show them filial piety, and help them to live a good life, because they are your benefactors in this world, they are the people who trained you; you being established in society now, as well as everything that you enjoy, and everything that you possess, was bought with the painstaking efforts of your parents, so you should use the rest of your life to repay them, recompense them, and be good to them. The expectations that parents have for their children before they reach adulthood—that their children will establish themselves in society and get ahead in the world—evolve into this, gradually turning from a very normal parental expectation into a kind of demand and solicitation that parents make of their children. Suppose that in the period before they reach adulthood, their children don’t get good grades; say that they rebel, that they don’t want to study or obey their parents, and they disobey them. Their parents will say: “Do you think that I have it easy? Who do you think I’m doing all this for? I’m doing this for your own good, aren’t I? Everything I do is for you, and you don’t appreciate it. Are you stupid?” They will use these words to intimidate their children and hold them hostage. Is this kind of approach right? (No.) It’s not right. This “noble” part of parents is also the despicable part of parents. What exactly is wrong with these words? (Parents having expectations for their children and training their children are one-sided endeavors. They impose certain pressure on their children, making them study this and that, so that their children will have good prospects, put a feather in their parents’ caps, and show them filial piety in the future. In reality, everything that parents do is for themselves.) If we set aside the fact that parents are self-serving and selfish, and just talk about the ideas that they indoctrinate their children with before they reach adulthood, and the pressure that they pass down to them, demanding that their children study such-and-such subject, that they engage in such-and-such career after they grow up, and attain such-and-such success—what is the nature of these approaches? For now, we will not assess why parents are doing these things, or whether these approaches are appropriate or not. We will first fellowship on and dissect the nature of these approaches, and find a more accurate path of practice based on our dissection of their essence. If we fellowship on and come to understand this aspect of the truth from that perspective, it will be accurate.

First of all, are these requirements and approaches that parents have regarding their children right or wrong? (They are wrong.) So, ultimately, where does the main culprit stem from when it comes to these approaches that parents use on their children? Isn’t it the parents’ expectations for their children? (Yes.) Within the subjective consciousness of parents, they envisage, plan, and determine various things about their children’s futures, and as a result, they produce these expectations. Under the instigation of these expectations, parents demand that their children study various skills, that they study theatre and dance, or art, and so on. They demand that their children become talented individuals, and that they are thereafter superiors, and not subordinates. They demand that their children become high-ranking officials, and not foot soldiers; they demand that their children become managers, CEOs, and executives, working for the top global 500 companies, and so on. These are all the subjective ideas of parents. Now do children have any concept of the content of their parents’ expectations before they reach adulthood? (No.) They do not have any concept of these things at all, they do not understand them. What do little children understand? They only understand going to school to learn to read, studying hard, and being good, well-behaved children. This itself is quite good. Going to school to attend classes according to their prescribed schedules, and going home to finish their homework—these are the things that children understand, the rest is just playing, food, fantasies, dreams, and so on. Before they reach adulthood, children have no concept at all of the unknown things on their life paths, and they do not envision anything about them either. All of the things that are envisioned or determined about the time after these children reach adulthood come from their parents. Therefore, the erroneous expectations that parents have for their children have nothing to do with their children. Children only need to discern the essence of their parents’ expectations. What are these parental expectations based upon? Where do they come from? They come from society and the world. The point of all these parental expectations is to enable children to adapt to this world and society, to avoid being cast out by the world or by society, and to establish themselves in society, to get a secure job, a stable family, and a stable future, so parents have various subjective expectations for their offspring. For example, right now it is quite fashionable to be a computer engineer. Some people say: “My child is going to be a computer engineer in the future. They can earn a lot of money in this field, carrying around a computer all day, doing computer engineering. This will make me look good too!” In these circumstances, where children have no concept of anything at all, their parents lay down their futures. Isn’t this wrong? (It is.) Their parents are pinning hopes on their children entirely on the basis of an adult’s way of looking at things, as well as an adult’s views, perspectives, and preferences about matters of the world. Isn’t this subjective? (Yes.) If you were to put it nicely, you could say that it is subjective, but what is it really? What is another interpretation of this subjectivity? Is it not selfishness? Isn’t it coercion? (It is.) You like this or that job and such-and-such career, you enjoy being established, living a glamorous life, serving as an official, or being wealthy in society, so you make your children do those things too, be that kind of person too, and walk that kind of path—but will they enjoy living in that environment and engaging in that work in the future? Are they suited to it? What are their destinies? What are God’s arrangements and rulings regarding them? Do you know these things? Some people say: “I don’t care about those things, what matters are the things that I, as their parent, like. I’ll pin hopes on them based on my own preferences.” Isn’t that so selfish? (It is.) It is so selfish! To put it nicely, it’s very subjective, it’s calling all of the shots themselves, but what is it, in reality? It is very selfish! These parents don’t consider their children’s caliber or talents, they don’t care about the arrangements that God has for each person’s destiny and life. They don’t consider these things, they just force their own preferences, intentions, and plans onto their children through wishful thinking. Some people say: “I have to force these things onto my child. They’re too young to understand them, and by the time they do, it’ll be too late.” Is that the case? (No.) If it really is too late, then that’s their fate, it’s not the responsibility of their parents. If you force the things that you understand onto your children, will they understand them quicker just because you understand them? (No.) There is no relationship between how parents educate their children and when those children come to understand matters like what kind of life path to choose, what kind of career to choose, and what their lives will be like. They have their own paths, their own pace, and their own laws. Think about it, when children are small, no matter how their parents educate them, their knowledge of society is a total blank. They will feel the competitiveness, complexity, and darkness of society, and the various unfair things in society, when their humanity matures. This is not something that parents can teach their children from a young age. Even if parents teach their children from a young age, “You must hold something back when interacting with people,” they will only take it as a kind of doctrine. When they are truly able to act based on their parents’ advice, they will truly understand it. When they do not understand their parents’ advice, no matter how their parents try to teach them, it will still just be a kind of doctrine to them. Therefore, is the idea that parents have, that, “The world is so competitive, and people live under a great deal of pressure; if I don’t start teaching my children from a very young age, they will endure suffering and pain in the future,” tenable? (No.) You are making your children shoulder that pressure early on so that they might suffer less in the future, and they have to bear that pressure starting at an age where they still don’t understand anything—in doing this, are you not harming your children? Are you really doing this for their own good? It is better that they do not understand these things, then they can live a few years in a comfortable, happy, pure, and simple way. If they were to understand those things early, would that be a blessing or a misfortune? (It would be a misfortune.) Yes, it would be a misfortune.

What people should do in each age-group is based on their age and the maturity of their humanity, not the education they receive from their parents. Before they reach adulthood, children should just play, learn a bit of simple knowledge and receive a bit of basic schooling, learn different things, learn how to interact with other children and how to get along with adults, and learn how to deal with some things around them that they do not understand. Before people reach adulthood, they should do non-adult things. They shouldn’t bear any of the pressure, game rules, or complicated things that adults ought to bear. Such things cause psychological harm to people who haven’t reached adulthood, and they are not blessings. The earlier people learn about these adult matters, the bigger blow it deals to their young minds. Not only will these things not help people at all in their lives or existences after they reach adulthood; on the contrary, because they learn about or encounter these things too early, they turn into a kind of burden or cast an invisible shadow on their young minds, to the extent that they might haunt them all their lives. Think about it, when people are very young, if they hear about something horrible, something that they cannot accept, an adult thing that they could never imagine or understand, then that scene or that matter, or even the people, things, and words involved in it, will follow them for their whole lives. This will cast a kind of shadow on them, impacting their personalities, and their methods for conducting themselves in life. For example, children are all a bit naughty at the age of six or seven. Say that a child gets scolded by their teacher during class for whispering to a classmate, and the teacher doesn’t just scold them in a matter-of-fact way, but attacks them personally, scolding them for having a face like a ferret, and eyes like a rat, even scolding them by saying: “Look at how little promise you have. You’re going to be unsuccessful for your whole life! If you don’t study hard, then you’ll just be a laborer. In the future you’ll have to beg for food! You look just like a thief; you have the makings of a thief!” Though the child doesn’t understand these words, and doesn’t know why their teacher would say these things, or whether these things are true or not, these words of personal attack will become a kind of invisible, evil force within their heart, piercing their self-esteem, and hurting them. “You have a face like a ferret, and eyes like a rat, and a tiny head!”—these words of personal attack spoken by their teacher will follow them for their whole life. When they choose a career, when they face their superiors and their co-workers, and when they face the brothers and sisters, those words of personal attack spoken by their teacher will burst forth from time to time, affecting their emotions, and their life. Of course, some of the improper expectations that your parents have for you, and some of the emotions, messages, words, thoughts, views, and so on that they passed on to you, have also cast a shadow over your young mind. From the perspective of your parents’ subjective consciousness, they do not have any bad intentions, but because of their ignorance, because they are corrupted humans, and they do not have proper methods that are in line with the principles for how to treat you, they can only follow the trends of the world in how they treat you, and the ultimate result of this is that they pass various negative messages and emotions onto you. Under circumstances where you lack any discernment, everything your parents say, and all of the mistaken ideas that your parents indoctrinate and promote in you, become dominant in you because you are exposed to them first. They become the goal of your lifelong pursuit and struggle. Although the various expectations that your parents put forth for you before you reach adulthood are a kind of blow and devastation for your young mind, you still live under the expectations of your parents, as well as under the various prices that they pay for you, understanding their will, and accepting and giving thanks for their various acts of kindness. After you accept the various prices they pay and the various sacrifices they make for you, you feel indebted to your parents and ashamed to face them in the depths of your heart, and you think that you have to repay them after you grow up. Repay what? Repay their unreasonable expectations for you? Repay the devastation they cause to you before you reach adulthood? Is this not confusing black and white? Actually, speaking about this from the root and essence of the matter, your parents’ expectations for you are just subjective, they are just wishful thinking. They are absolutely not things that a child should possess, practice, or live out, and they are not something that a child needs. In order to follow the trends of the world, to adapt to the world, to keep up with the progress of the world, your parents make you follow them, they make you bear this pressure as they do, and they make you accept and follow these evil trends. Therefore, under the ardent expectations of their parents, many children work hard studying various skills, various courses, and various kinds of knowledge. They go from trying to satisfy their parents’ expectations, to proactively pursuing the intended goals of their parents’ expectations. In other words, before they reach adulthood, people passively accept their parents’ expectations, and after they gradually come to be adults, they proactively accept the expectations of their parents’ subjective consciousness, and willingly accept this kind of pressure and this misleading, control, and binding that comes from society. In sum, they gradually go from passive to active participants in this. In that way, their parents feel satisfied. The children also feel a sense of inner peace, and that they haven’t let down their parents, that they have finally given their parents what they want, and that they have grown up—not simply growing into an adult, but becoming talented individuals in the eyes of their parents, and living up to their parents’ expectations. Though these people succeed in becoming talented individuals in the eyes of their parents after they become adults, and on the surface, it seems as though the prices paid by their parents have been repaid, and that their parents’ expectations for them haven’t come to nothing, what is the reality? These children have succeeded in becoming the puppets of their parents, they have succeeded in owing their parents a great debt, they have succeeded in using the rest of their lives to realize their parents’ expectations, to put on a show for their parents, bringing credit and prestige to their parents, and they have succeeded in satisfying their parents, becoming their pride and joy. Wherever their parents go, they will mention their children: “My daughter is the manager of so-and-so company.” “My daughter is a designer for such-and-such famous brand.” “My daughter is at so-and-so level in this foreign language, she can speak it fluently, she’s a translator for such-and-such language.” “My daughter is a computer engineer.” These children have succeeded in becoming their parents’ pride and joy, and they have succeeded in becoming their parents’ shadows. This is because they will use the same methods to educate and train their own children. They think that their parents have succeeded in training them, so they will copy their parents’ methods of education to train their own children. In this way, their children have to bear the same misery, tragic suffering, and devastation from them as they did from their parents.

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