Our pen drive in our heart or our mind is sometimes very tricky, it stores useless information and throws away meaningful information into the recycle bin. I always tell my students and friends, don’t keep useless things with you, your short life is your memory capacity at least for this life. Use them to store good things, things that can provide your inner self positive development and not things that drive your emotions up and down. We don’t want to waste our limited time to be emotional, either it is towards excitement or anger, it’s a waste of our energy and time. Always keep ourselves balance. If we are aware that we are now over excited, we should bring ourselves down. When we are feeling angry, we have to cool ourselves down. If we are feeling depressed, we have to bring ourselves up. By keeping a mindful state of living in the present, we will always be on the middle path, we definitely will not go cuckoo. Nothing in the external world will drive us up and down. The life will be naturally wonderful.
Therefore, it is very important to bring up our children without encouraging them to be emotional, and without feeding their ego. Whenever I think of the amount of problems the children and teenagers are bringing to their parents, families, schools, communities, etc, I always feel that the first finger should be pointed to the parents. Children are important because they are our future, but more important is their parents. Parents should be taking loving care of their children like a good and responsible gardener taking care of the flowers.
Sometimes, even though as parents you may want to spoil your children with a lot of different things, you have to take a step back and think what would be the consequences? Many parents nowadays are unfortunately seeing their children as products to be showed off to others. Eventually, many of these children will grow up having a lot of ego issues. Parents have a lot of responsibilities, besides making a living, they have to put all the efforts and heart to make sure that their children grow up nicely. Taking care of children is really not the job of your servants.
When I was very small, I was taken to my monastery. Unlike many of you, because of who I am, I didn’t have the precious opportunity to be taken care of by my mother. My mother was also very busy going around with my father who was very active and successful in his spiritual activities. Every time, whenever my mother had a chance to stay with me, she always set a good example for me. She did not nag a lot, she taught by her actions. I notice that parents these days are scolding too much, children become too tired of hearing parents scolding them, instead they go somewhere else for attention. Instead of scolding, parents should be understanding and also be good examples. If parents are always aggressive and always full of emotions, their children will subconsciously follow the same behaviour. Much later, when children become a big headache, parents may blame the school, the society, servants, everyone. Parents need to be always mindful, because children always pick up the habits of their own parents, without them noticing.
As children, we need to constantly remind ourselves, how kind our parents are to us. Do you still remember who picked you up when you cried because of being hungry, falling down, getting yourself hurt? Parents’ love for children is unconditional, sometimes they express it in a very strange way, but most of the time, we are always growing up in the love and care of our parents. Of course, there are parents who are not responsible and abusive. But majority of the parents are very kind and loving to their own children, whether or not the kindness is a smart or wise one, that is not the issue, the issue is our parents love us without conditions, yet most of us as children love our parents with a string of conditions.
While we are getting old everyday, we have to remember that our parents are also not getting any younger. Our time with them is limited and therefore whenever we have some time to spend with our parents, make them happy, make them laugh. There is no greater merit than repaying the kindness of our parents, especially our mothers. In all our prayers, we say “all mother sentient beings”. In our many past lives, we have many different beings as our mothers, some of them in this life become our friends, our pets, our business partners, even our enemies. When you think deeply, if you can remember, how kind your mother of this life is to you, in every past life, each of your mothers was also that kind to you. When you have this thought and understanding, there is no way you can harm anyone, there is no way you can think of eating any meat of other beings, there is no way you can even think of abusing any being, because they are “mother sentient beings”.
Today is mother’s day. I know a lot of my friends and students are giving special respect and attention to their mothers on this day. This is why all the TV commercials, and all the signboards are reminding us to buy something for our mothers. This is commercial trick. What we have to do is to make everyday a mother’s day, and keep on reminding ourselves that all the beings have been in one life or the other our mothers. Think of mothers’ kindness, appreciate the love and kindness of all our mothers of all different lives. This is the practice of spirituality and the practice of Bodhisattva. A Happy Mother’s Day…Everyday!