Mothering Based on Falun Dafa’s Principles

This year World Falun Dafa Day and Mother’s Day are both on May 13th, so we’ve decided to celebrate both! We asked some mothers who practice Falun Dafa how they approach motherhood based on Falun Dafa’s principle tenets: Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance.

Meiling L., Mother of 3

Meiling with her daughters. Photo courtesy of Meiling L.

Q: What do you do?

I’ve “retired” from being a licensed acupuncturist to become a full-time homemaker. I still keep up my licensing and make referrals. I also volunteer at different organizations and my daughters’ school.

Q: How many kids do you have and how old are they?

Three girls ages 15, 13 and 8.

Q: When did you start practicing Falun Dafa?

I started practicing Falun Dafa in November 2001 when I was getting my Masters in Oriental Medicine. I didn’t have any kids yet.

Q: What do you do when things get difficult or your kids misbehave?

I try to follow the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance in every aspect of my life including being a mom. I do my best to instill positive values and morals in my kids so they can make the right choices or do the right thing when they come across challenges in life.

When kids 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 can improve myself to better handle the situation in the future. Then I would talk to them. I do apologize to them if I had gotten 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.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say?

During my first pregnancy in 2003, I had stopped practicing Falun Dafa since I didn’t really understand what truly cultivating meant as I had only been practicing for a little over a year. Being a new mom, I was overwhelmed with a lot of emotions and uncertain of how to parent. Combine that with lack of sleep and that you still experience some pain after labor, added another level of stress no one prepared me for or talked about at that time.

I also began to experience symptoms of postpartum depression and felt ashamed to tell anyone since I thought I was being a bad mom. I was fortunate that a friend of mine who I had learned Falun Dafa from kept in touch with me. That helped me to remember the teachings of Falun Dafa and encouraged me to pick it up again. I began to read the book and do the exercises, and that helped me overcome all the insecurities of being a mother. It also got rid of the postpartum depression because I was able to confront and let go of the fear, doubt, and uncertainty that was the cause of the depression.

 Diana M., Mother of 5

Diana with four of her kids. Photo courtesy of Diana M.

Q: What do you do for a living?

I am a small family farmer.  Luckily we don’t have to survive off it! We are also opening a restaurant May 16th this year.

Q: How many kids do you have and how old are they?

I have 5 kids. 19, 12. 11. 10. 5.

Q: When did you start practicing? How old were your kids at that time?

I started practicing in 2013.  My kids started about a week later, but my oldest didn’t start until about 6 months later.  Brady (who was 8 at the time) really grabbed it fast.  I would find him with the book Zhuan Falun reading it and was really excited about it.  I taught all of them the exercises, but Brady would do them all with me.

Q: As a practitioner, how do you approach parenting? Did your approach change at all after you started practicing?

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 is when I realized that I need to have more control over myself and not over them.  In understanding my role in their lives better, I can better guide them.

Q: What do you do when your kids misbehave?

That varies.  It really depends on what they did or the specific issue.  But our usual daily struggle is mostly little things like “No! That was mine. I had it first and just put it down so I could (whatever they were doing). Then I was coming right back.”  And the other one not relenting, type of situation.  I used to try to really ‘solve the problem,’ but now I can take a step back and really try to more guide the kids in where each went wrong without the absolute wrong or right that I used to discipline with.  I used to blame one or the other, but now I try to help them see where they both (or all) went wrong.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say?

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 have the understanding of needing to look within when we encounter problems and we all need to practice Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance to the best of our abilities.  As simple and universal as these principles seem, they are sometimes difficult to always practice.  But the best part is having this moral compass to always compare ourselves against.

 Amy S., Mother of 2

Kevin Gent/Unsplash

Q: What do you do for a living?

I work for the State of Minnesota.

Q: When did you start practicing and how old are your kids?

My husband introduced me to the practice in 2007, about 9 years before I had my twin boys. They are currently one and a half years old. It was a bit before I truly began to practice in earnest, but I knew that I’d found something precious from the moment it was introduced to me.

Q: As a Falun Dafa practitioner, how do you approach parenting?

Being a parent has made me a better practitioner, and vice versa. I am much better able to handle the tribulations that come with handling young children, and I have a better understanding of how my level can influence and direct the atmosphere and environment in my household. I find myself more diligent in removing my attachments, as parenting is constantly confronting me with situations I’m not necessarily well-versed in handling. There have been many moments where I’ve wanted to slack in my duties as a parent because I was too attached to my own comfort and personal time; however, if I allow myself a moment to truly evaluate my actions and thoughts against the Fa, I find myself thankful for these tribulations, for showing me that I must eliminate these things from my environment, and providing me an opportunity to do so.

Q: How do you handle things when things get difficult?

When my children misbehave, I try to look within myself to understand where my shortcomings lie and how they’ve contributed to the situation. 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? Children see and understand quite a lot 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. When they misbehave, I make it a point to be gentle, to explain the situation with kindness, and respond in accordance with the Falun Dafa principles.