The Best Education (Part 1)
I am 50 years old this year and from a young age I lived in a very remote and backward poor mountain village. There were eight people in my family, my maternal grandparents at the top and four brothers and sisters at the bottom, with only one person, my father, earning a wage in the production team. My family was so poor that we did not even have enough polenta and corn bread to eat. I was extremely jealous when I saw others eating steamed buns and thought: When will I be able to eat steamed buns? When will I ever not be hungry? My grandmother often encouraged me saying: “If you want to live a good life, to eat well and be dressed well, you must study hard! You can only excel if you have knowledge and culture and later you will be able to go and live in the city and will not need to lead such a life with your face to the ground and your back to the sky.” My grandmother’s words were deeply engraved in my heart. I was determined to study hard and change my destiny by relying on knowledge.
But contrary to expectations, the year I was 12 years old, I suffered from stomach problems due to long-term malnutrition and could not go to school, so I had no choice but to drop out and return home and go to work in the production team, with the adults. Miserable and tired, I could only wipe the tears and continue working. I had not rid myself of destiny’s arrangements and was still leading a life of face to the ground and back to the sky. I was very unwilling to submit to this and thought: Wait until I’m married and have children and I will certainly put them through their education. I must not let my children suffer the same hardships as me.
After I got married, I gave birth to a daughter. As soon as my daughter was born, I thought: Only knowledge can change one’s fate and one can only live a good life by possessing knowledge. My wish has not been fulfilled in this life. This time I must educate my daughter well and let her have a future. I heard other people say that if one wishes one’s children to have a future, one has to start from when they are young. Formative education is very important. I thought this really made sense, so when my child started to talk, I started to teach her to count, read and memorize Tang poetry. Seeing my child study so well, extremely intelligent and able to learn anything I taught her after several times at a very young age, I felt so happy in my heart and thought: My child is so clever and born to study, she will certainly have a good future! Even if I surrender my last resources, I will raise my child to be talented and let her leave this poor mountain village and achieve the desires I never achieved. When my daughter was just starting to understand things, I told her: “‘The worth of other pursuits is small, the study of books excels them all’; ‘Knowledge can change your fate.’ You must study hard and fight! You must not be like your mother, working a lifetime in a poor mountain village, living such a hard and tiring life.” My daughter, only half understandingly blinked and looked at me and nodded her head. From then onward, no matter how hard and tiring it was for me going out to work, every day when I returned home, I would persist with accompanying my child studying. My child was also very competitive and her academic grades were always among the best. One time, my child was appraised as a “three good” student (good in study, attitude and health) and I was invited to attend the parent-teacher conference. Seeing my daughter standing on the stage holding an award, I felt especially proud. At this moment, the teacher said: “The reason why classmate Siqi can be appraised as a ‘three good’ student is inseparable from her own hard work. However, the most important thing is the cultivation and education by her parents. In this regard, her mother does very well! We should learn from her …” Parents in succession looked at me admiringly and I felt cheerful inside and could not help but think: I just need to continue educating her like this and my child will certainly have good prospects in the future and will certainly make my dreams come true.
As my child gradually got older, her cultural knowledge increased. I wanted to help her but felt powerless because I had only Grade Five level of education. Regardless, I did not relax my daughter’s education. Seeing other parents finding cram schools for their children to improve their academic performance, I thought: I must not delay my child’s future. Even if I surrender my last resources or have to borrow money, I will pay for her to go to cram school. She cannot fall behind. Because of the pressure to study, my child wanted to play for a while after returning home from school and relax, but every time I saw her like this, I would educate her: “‘If you are lazy in your prime, you’ll be sorry in old age.’ If you do not study hard now, what will you do when you get older? Do you want to live your life with your back to the sky and your face to the ground like me? If you do not study hard, what future will you have?” From then onward, I watched her once she had finished school. If she hadn’t finished her homework, she wasn’t allowed to play. Accordingly, my child studied from early to late, always sleeping little. Seeing her like this I felt sorry for her. But then I thought: If people do not exert themselves, then there will be no return. Who on this earth can accomplish things and succeed without working hard for it? Did our forefathers not tie their hair to the house beam and jab their thigh with a needle to keep them awake in order to learn? If you want to have a future, then what’s a little hardship? Thinking thus far, I did not worry anymore and what I demanded of my child got even stricter. But gradually, my child became less obedient. When I forced her, she would still obey and study, but when I left, she started to play. To begin with, I could reason with her to persuade her, but later on, not only did she not listen, but she also blamed me for being that I was long-winded and said that I did not love her and asked me not to force her. When I heard her say this, I felt very heart-broken and sad. Flustered and exasperated, I beat her. It made me so angry that I cried and thought to myself: Knowledge can change one’s destiny. What can you do if you do not study hard? If you are like me being suppressed for a lifetime in this poor mountain village, is this life not finished with? What future is there? If I do not care for you now, is that not hurting you? Why do you not understand my painstaking care?
Under my series of compulsory education, my child’s academic grades improved. But as she got older, she became more and more rebellious, not as obedient and sensible as before. She did not tell me what was on her mind, or what was happening at school. The distance between us increased. If I wanted to tell her something, she always blamed me for being long-winded and gave me the cold shoulder, with a look of impatience. She even contemptuously said to me: “What can I say to you? If I said anything, you wouldn’t understand!” “Don’t say it! It’s annoying! I do not want to hear what you have to say!” Sometimes she would rather pretend to read in the room than talk to me. I felt very sad and disappointed to see the way my child was now and couldn’t figure anything out. I had worried my heart to pieces for my child’s future, but she did not understand me at all. I do not know how many tears I cried over this.
Later, I was fortunate in accepting’s last days’ work. One day, I saw in God’s words: “Everyone starts planning as soon as they have children: I want my child to receive what kind of education, attend what university, and then find a good job, and have a stable footing and status in society. That is, the first thing to have in life is knowledge, an academic degree, and then one will have status and power in society. That way, they will have living capital throughout their lives and power in the world, making it easy for them to survive and make a steady living. They won’t have to worry about food, clothing and shelter in the future. So when you have children, you will start to make plans for them. Some see their children have musical talents, so they make them learn the piano, violin, and so forth. Some see their children have literary talent, so they make them read more books, write novels, write biographies. Some even go find celebrities to nurture their children, striving to make their children follow the path they have laid out for them. … People all hope that their children can be successful. Everyone hopes their children can go to a famous university, then take up advanced studies, earn a degree, and afterward stand out among others and gain a firm foothold in society. People all have this viewpoint and all want their children to pursue higher education because of the saying: ‘The worth of other pursuits is small, the study of books excels them all.’ Furthermore, competition in this modern society is especially intense. If they don’t have a university degree or have a firm foothold in society, making a living becomes a problem in the future. This is everybody’s thinking and point of view. That is, what you learn and what kind of educational background you can achieve will decide your livelihood, your future. In other words, people intend to rely on this thing to survive throughout life, and they see it as especially important. That’s why everyone sees receiving a high-level education and getting into a top university as the number one most important thing for their children. In reality, these things and education and knowledge accepted by people, these contents and ideas, all go against God and the truth, and are loathed by God and condemned by God. What is mankind’s point of view? They will not be able to survive and have a stable footing in this society and the world if they don’t have such things, and they will be inferior, poor, and base people. That is why, if someone doesn’t have knowledge, is uncultured, or does not have a high level of education in your eyes, you will despise them, look down on them, show contempt for them, and not take them seriously. If you let your children do this and nurture your children to do these things, your point of view and your motive are not right in the first place. If you nurture your children to study and receive an education, you will surely choose the professions and industries that are more lacking in people, because your aim is to give your children a good future and for them to have stable jobs, families and prospects throughout their lives. But did you think about, after they accept such education, how many toxins and how many of Satan’s ideas and theories will be instilled in them?” (“Knowing Yourself Requires Knowing Your Deep-rooted Thoughts and Views” in Records of Christ’s Talks). In the face of God’s words, I felt overwhelmed; what God had said described me! Over these years, was I not living by Satan’s poisons of, “The worth of other pursuits is small, the study of books excels them all”? In order to change my child’s destiny through knowledge, when my daughter was very young, I emphasized her formative education. When my daughter had just started to understand, I taught her Satan’s philosophies, such as, “The worth of other pursuits is small, the study of books excels them all.” After my daughter went to school, I more seriously supervised and regulated her studies and closely observed her academic performance…. Was everything that I did not to make my daughter successful, so that people may look up to her? It turns out that this was all Satan’s trick to fool people. I was obviously already living under Satan’s dark influence, living such a hard and tiring life, yet still thinking that people should pursue such things to live. Only today did I see that if people do not have the truth then to live in this world, they are so pitiful and can only be deceived and fooled by Satan! In order to let my child have good prospects for her future, I had put in so much effort, but not only did my child not study hard, on the contrary she got more and more fed up of studying and even became antagonistic and distant toward me because of my compulsory education. I also lived under endless suffering because of this. Now I finally understand that all this suffering was caused by Satan’s corruption and that my living by Satan’s thinking, point of view and laws of survival brought my daughter and me so much hurt and suffering.