The Best Education
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 Almighty God’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.
Later, I saw it said in the words of God: “You are incapable of controlling yourself: Despite always rushing and busying about for himself, man remains incapable of controlling himself. If you could know your own prospects, if you could control your own fate, would you still be a creature?” (“Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“Many people go their whole lives without having their wishes fulfilled. Is this really because of a fault in their thinking? Many people’s lives are filled with unexpected happiness and satisfaction. Is this really because they expect too little? Who of the whole of mankind is not cared for in the eyes of the Almighty? Who does not live in the midst of the Almighty’s predestination? Whose birth and death come from their own choices? Does man control his own fate?” (“The Eleventh Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words awakened me to the truth that: People’s everything is in the hands of God and people cannot grasp hold of their destiny themselves. What family a person is born into, their appearance, how cultured they are and what work they will do in the future are all things that God pre-determined long ago. No one can get around this. No wonder my many years of hard work were exchanged for contrary to my wishes. It turns out I am a created being and cannot dominate mine or my child’s own destiny. Mine and my daughter’s destiny is dictated by God. As a created being, one can only obey the dominance of the Lord of creation and be at the mercy of God to be able to attain God’s care and protection. Otherwise one can only be afflicted and fooled by Satan! After I had understood God’s intentions, I gave up the forced education and observation of my child and just prayed to deliver her to God and obeyed the arrangements dictated by God. This way of living felt much more relaxed.
One day I saw it said in the Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life: “What is the point of view of some people who still want to make their children successful now? It is Satan’s point of view. You have Satan’s point of view and the way you are going is also Satan’s way. Where are you pushing your children to? Are you not pushing them to hell? You have died and not been saved and your children have also died and not been saved either. You have not brought your children to the ark. Noah worshiped God. In that era, he was a righteous man and was saved. When God wished to destroy that era, God was righteous and said: Noah is a righteous man. I cannot let Noah perish as well, I must save him. God instructed Noah to make an ark. Noah was a righteous man and God wanted to save him. His children also benefited by association. Why did they benefit? Because Noah also made his children worship God and made them believe in God. Although they did not have such strong faith, Noah led them in this way and brought them before God and regardless of the outcome, Noah fulfilled his duty and God saved them too. They benefited from their association with Noah. Is that not the case? How do you view your children now? If you take the path of believing in God but let your children take Satan’s path and be successful, then that proves that you do not truly believe in God” (“Bringing God Into Real Life Is Essential” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (I)). “When you believe in God and read God’s words and the truth, why do you have more humanity, reason and conscience, the more you read them? Why do you have more real love and true wisdom, the more you read them and why does your heart move more toward good and is more capable of returning to God the more you read? Why do you love the truth and goodness more and are more able to worship God and unconsciously take the true path in life the more you read? What is going on? The facts are enough to prove that the word of God can save people from corruption and make people break free from Satan’s corruption. The word of God can cleanse people of their corruption and finally, the word of God can make people live out a true life and live out the likeness of man” (“How Does God Save Corrupt Mankind?” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (III)).
I then understood what true love for my child is. It is not teaching her much knowledge or letting her go to university and be successful, but it is bringing my child before God and letting her be saved by God. This is what real love for my child is. Because only the word of God and the truth can change people, bring them real happiness and make them live out the likeness of man. Living based on knowledge and my desires can only make the relationship between me and my child become more and more distant and can only make my child more and more rebellious. Noah fulfilled a father’s duty and by bringing his three children before God, he changed their destiny of perishing and brought about God’s salvation. I want to be like Noah now and fulfill a mother’s duty, bringing my daughter before God and letting her be saved by God. This is what the best education is.
A few days later, my daughter came home from school and I brought out the book of God’s word to read to her. But before I had even finished a paragraph, she impatiently said: “Don’t read to me. If you believe then believe! I have a lot of homework. When do I have time to listen to you reading to me?” Seeing her unhappy face, I said: “Do not write yet. Read God’s words first and then write.” After she had listened to me, my daughter frowned and said: “At the beginning, who was it who watched me and made me study hard to take exams to go to university? And now you ask me to believe in God. Whatever you say goes. Don’t talk to me now! I do not want to hear it! To believe or to read, that is your own business, do not make me!” Hearing my daughter’s words and seeing my daughter’s cold and detached expression, I felt like a knife had been twisted in my heart. I thought of the following words of God: “Mankind is silly and doesn’t realize this. All you know is that if your children get into a top university they will be promising and bring glory to their ancestors. Until one day, your children return and you tell them about believing in God, and they show antipathy. After you tell them about the truth, they say you’re foolish and laugh at you, and scoff at what you say. At that time you will think: ‘Oh, sending my children to those schools to accept such education was the wrong path. I chose the wrong path, but it’s too late for regret.’ For human beings, once these ideas and viewpoints are instilled, take root, and take form, they are not something that can be removed overnight, nor can they be changed overnight. You can’t turn around their situation or their thinking, and you can’t remove the things in their ideas and viewpoints” (“Knowing Yourself Requires Knowing Your Deep-rooted Thoughts and Views” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words are so real! Am I not the same as God’s words have described? Choosing the wrong path for my child’s education resulting in her ignoring God’s work is all my fault. If I didn’t instill in her the idea that “The worth of other pursuits is small, the study of books excels them all” and that “Knowledge can change your fate,” these satanic philosophies and ways of thinking, how could she have become like this? In order to pull my daughter back from the wrong path, I pray to God silently in my heart: “God, I cannot give up. I know that Satan’s ideas and viewpoints have already taken root in my daughter’s heart and that this cannot be reversed in one or two days. Only Your words can change people and save them! God, I entrust You with my daughter and ask You to lead her and to change her….” From then onward, as soon as she came back from school, I found time to read God’s words to her and explained to her why I no longer educated her to study knowledge. No matter how coldly she spoke to me, I never lost faith. Under God’s leadership, my child’s attitude gradually improved. I read God’s words and sang hymns to her and she was willing to listen. Sometimes after coming back from school, she even talked to me about what was going on in school and seeing that I was tired from working hard, she even proactively helped me. Seeing such a big change in my daughter, I thanked God from the bottom of my heart. I know that this was all achieved by the word of God! God’s words not only fixed the rift between my daughter and me, but also changed my daughter. It really is only the word of God and truth that can save and change people!
Later, my daughter also followed me in believing in God. After going to meetings and reading God’s words for a while, the change in my daughter became even greater. When she had time she not only was capable of helping me do the housework but we also often fellowshiped about the word of God together and were able to speak words from the heart to each other. When my daughter saw me doing something in a way that was not in accordance with the truth, she could communicate this to me and when I saw that my daughter was doing something unsuitable, I could also point this out to her and my daughter could accept it and moreover, could seek out the related truth to understand herself. The feelings between mother and daughter became better and better. Seeing us getting on like close friends, our neighbors were all especially envious. Seeing the change in my daughter, I especially thanked God. It was God who saved my daughter and me in time and made my daughter take the right path in life. After this experience, I truly understood that the best education for children and the truest love for children was to bring them before God to receive God’s salvation. Because only God can bring us real life! Thank God! May all glory be to Almighty God!