Golden Age Taking care of the family Be Your Children’s Best Friend  

Cultivating ourselves

Taking care of the family
*Master’s Words
*The Young Buddhas at Home
*Be Your Children’s Best Friend
Be the Teacher of Your Own Children
*Train Your Children to be Independent
*From Stone to Saint
Universal School
*How to Cultivate Young Practitioners
*Usher Our Youth into the Golden Age
*Overcome the Distractions of Youth
*A Letter to the Parents of Adolescents
*Dealing with Adolescence on the Spiritual Path
*Cultivate a Happy Marriage
*Be a Good Partner
*Marriage and Spirituality
*The Way to Reconcile Marital Conflicts
*Fulfill Your Obligations as a Marriage Partner
*Cherish the Wisdom of the Elders
*An Elder at Home is a Boon to the Family

Governing the nation

Vegetarian Era

The Sentient World of Animals

Environmental Protection

The Golden Age Lifestyle


News 168, Master Says

Be Your Children’s Best Friend

Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
Surrey, United Kingdom • January 7, 2006
(Originally in English)

Practitioner 1: My son learned the Convenient Method a long time ago, but he didn’t practice. And then he became a teenager and was very rebellious, with smoking and drinking and lying, and stealing and drugs, everything.

M: Oh, God, drugs! You have to watch it. You have to say “No.”

P1: Yes, I did. I was fighting with him a lot.

M: OK. Then what happened?

P1: We had a lot of trouble. But eventually all of a sudden he realized that he would be stuck in this place where he didn’t want to be and that he could go a lot further. So he cleaned everything up. And then we kept encouraging him to come and meditate with us, but slowly, because a lot of people put pressure on their kids to get initiated, but they don’t really practice.

M: I understand.

P1: I said to him, “If you meditate every single day for six weeks, then maybe I will consider putting in your application for full initiation.” So for six weeks, every morning he’d come to meditate, but I didn’t always believe what he said one hundred percent.

M: I understand.

P1: I would see it when he did it.

M: Okay. So he did.

P1: And then this time when I went home, I said, “If you read the five books, Key to Immediate Enlightenment Vol. 1 to Vol. 5, and if you read the Master’s magazine every month, and if you go to a group meditation whenever you get a chance, then I will put in your application.” He also agreed. So You have two of those people.

M: Good! Yes, fine!

P1: I’m sorry to be so strict with him, but I know that he is lazy. And I want to because I don’t want to waste Your time with him, or his time with You. I have to make sure.

M: Very good! Very good. If he does just half of what you say, then he can be initiated, OK?

P1: OK, fantastic!

M: I walk half-way. (Applause)

P1: Okay, thank You. But he’s a good boy. He is very happy now.

M: I understand.

P1: When I went home, he looked very blessed and very happy. Actually, he is a very good boy with a good heart, but he tries to learn to be bad.

M: It’s not that. It’s just the peer pressure. I tell all of you parents because your word really does matter. Many parents don’t say anything, or they say very little. So the child doesn’t think it’s really that important to stay away from drugs. You really have to say, “No!” You have to tell him or her what damage will be done. You have to repeat it again, again and again. In a nice, presentable, logical way; you have to say “No.” Okay? Don’t just say, “Let it be,” or, “Whatever, it’s natural.” No, it’s not like that. Because when the kids go out there, they have hundreds or thousands of bad influences waiting for them on every corner, and they are vulnerable. They are kids!

So you have to say no; you have to walk with him all the steps, all the way. Every day, talk together like friends, OK? And don’t scold him for every little mistake or the things that he does, but encourage him and tell him, “This is no good. You have to stop it. It really matters to your health, your future and to the family.” Tell them that you don’t feel good, that you feel really bad about it. You have to tell them your feeling because kids don’t understand.

Sometimes if you don’t say anything or if you aren’t strict with them, they even think you don’t care, that you don’t care whether they live or die or whether they’re good or bad; so they just feel rejected and neglected. Then they get worse and worse so that they get your attention. But if you pay attention to them, proportionately in the beginning, not like spoiling them or being over-attentive, but like a friend, then they naturally confess everything to you. Then you will know what they’re up to and what the friends are up to, and they have to trust you. They trust you, and then they tell you everything; then you know where they stand, and you know how to help them. Because when they are out there, they’re very alone. You think they are your children and so they’re protected. No! When they’re outside in the school, they are not protected. Sometimes there are bullies in the school, and they don’t dare to tell you, and sometimes they do this or do that, just to be “in,” in the company of other gangs. Otherwise, they will be cast out as no good, as a sissy, and these names are very painful to a teenager.

So you have to tell them what’s good and what’s bad, and that the names don’t matter. You have to be there to support them and be their friend, so they can lean on you and they can trust you so that the whole world doesn’t matter to them anymore. Then, those people cannot cast a shadow on your children. Because the bad society still exists. Especially for the kids, because if other parents don’t know how to teach them, then your kids get the bad influence from them and they all infect each other. So you have to be firm. You have to say “No” even if he doesn’t like it. He will; you just have to say it in a logical and loving way.

Then, day by day, even if he doesn’t like it today, it will sink in, and one day the tables will turn; he will see the bad side of his friends and think, “Oh, my father is better. He is right. Look at you now: You take drugs and you are like that, and look at what happened to you! My father is right. I don’t want to be like you.” So, one day, even if he is already badly influenced, your influence will still count. It’s better than no influence! Especially since you have power as well, you have to say no to all the bad things that the kids want to try and experiment with.

Even with something sensitive like a sexual issue, you have to sit down and talk to them. Maybe they know a lot more than you do already. But then you have to know what they know, in order to guide them. Don’t feel embarrassed about these things and then wait until they have trouble; then it’s too late. Better to be embarrassed now than later, because they might even lose their life by contracting some bad disease.

You have to tell them the way you would tell yourself. So, you have to be friends with your children. If you are not their friend, who can be their friend? You are the best friend they could have, in fact, the only friend they should have until they grow up. Of course they have friends, but they’re all the same age. They don’t know much. Those are the buddies; they’re not friends. You are the friend; you are the guide. They look up to you. And now that you have cleaned yourself, you are even a better guide and better friend.

Family Love Is Very Important to the Children

In the whole wide world out there, they should know that they have you all the time. That makes them feel confident, strong and loved, and that will make them able to beat anything else. Because if they don’t feel loved, they feel dragged down. They don’t feel interest in doing anything, and then they will try anything just to pick themselves up. So family love is very important to the children. You have to give it to them, unconditionally! Be firm, but with love.

Just like the way I treat you: I scold you sometimes, but you are loved, and you know that. Even if I scold you, you know you can rely on me. You know that I don’t harm you. You know that, don’t you? (Audience: Yes, Master!) It’s the same in how you treat your children. They know they are loved at all times, but don’t just give in to their whims. Spoiling them is different from understanding and friendliness.

Befriend and be their friend. If they come home and confess something bad to you like, “Oh, today, I did something that was supposed to be bad,” don’t scold them right away and say, “You bad boy!” You say, “Thank you for telling me this. I really feel very privileged that you tell me; even though you know that it might be not very good to tell me, but I am so glad you told me.” And then help them according to their situation, because they are kids. If they make a mistake, it’s because they are kids.

Look at you, so grown up and still make a lot of mistakes. How can kids not make a mistake? So, along the way, guide them, love them and anytime they confess to you something bad, don’t scold them. Just tell them that you’re really glad and you feel privileged that they trust you. That will make them tell you more, because mistakes are bound to happen and bad influences are bound to happen everywhere, so you should be glad that they tell you something. Then, according to that, you can correct them. Let them tell you. Act like a buddy, not too much like an authoritative figure. Not too much!

It’s a very subtle situation. It’s not like every family is the same. But the guideline is to be a friend. Be a friend so they can cry on your shoulder, and they can trust you; then they will listen to you. Thank you for bringing this up so I can, by the way, tell everyone. (Applause)

P1: There are also programs on TV now that show you how to deal with teenagers and children. When I grew up, we didn’t have these shows. But I think with my son, there was a turning point one day.

M: A turning point! OK.

P1: I always used to say to him: “Look, drugs are bad and you should stay away from them. But you’re going out all the time.” Sometimes we would fight quite viciously with each other, and then my wife would become involved as well. My son would get her on his side, and then I’d feel very powerless and angry. Then I’d say, “Well, I’ll leave you two together; you can do what you like.” But I always tried to give him some good advice.

M: I understand.

P1: One time he went out, and I told him, “Look, I don’t want you to go out. You’re going out every night; I want you to stay in. You can go out on the weekend, but not every day.”

M: Yes.

P1: But he still went out that night. So I confiscated his computer. I took it in my room and locked it in there. When he came back, he said, “I’m going to go in the room and get the computer.” But I had watched one of these programs the day before.

M: Yes?

P1: In this program, the trainer was teaching the teenager how not to get angry. The trainer was in the boxing ring with the teenager, and he said to the teenager, “I’m going to swear at you and I’m going to wind you up, but if you hit me, then you’ve lost.” So, I used that technique on my son. Whatever he said, whether he swore to me or called me this and that, I would say, “Look, I’m not really angry. I love you, but I am not going to give your computer back until you stop going out.”

M: Right!

P1: My son said, “You’ll see.” So he reached for the door, thinking that I would be embarrassed and give in to him because I had a friend there who came for meditation on Wednesday nights. But I involved my friend. I said, “Look, I’m having an argument with my son; he’s been going out all the time so I confiscated his computer. If you don’t mind, we’ll meditate in the other room today.”

Also, at that time, because my son put too much energy into swearing at me and everything, I said, “Look, I’ve heard all that before, the ‘You are stupid and so and so’. I love you, but I won’t give you the computer back.”

M: Right, he doesn’t deserve it.

P1: Yes. Actually, after that I took the computer to work and left it there for about two weeks. And that evening, because I didn’t fight with him, he couldn’t involve his mother. She was on my side.

M: I understand.

P1: We were both trying to help him, and every day, really lovingly I kept repeating “I love you” to him. He would say, “I hate…” but I would say, “I love you, I love you.” So I think it’s because he lost a lot of power that way. In fact, I gave an advertisement for You. I said, “Look I’ve been with the Supreme Master for ten years, don’t you think I’ve learned a few tricks?” (Laughter)

M: So what did he say?

P1: After that time, our relationship improved a lot.

M: Yes?

P1: I gave the computer back to him, but only after he did a lot of testing.

M: I understand.

P1: And then I helped him with his studies; because the subject he’s studying, I also graduated in.

M: Ah, cool!

P1: So we made a good relationship like that.

M: Yes? All right.

P1: We’re slowly building, slowly building, and every day I’m seeing that he’s improving.

M: Yes, those are the hard times in their life, the teenage years, because their hormones are raised.

P1: They have a lot of bad influences around them.

M: Also.

P1: Other boys influence them with drugs and everything, and showing off.

M: I know.

P1: Also, I can see that when he’s with people who are very low level, he is forcing them to be his friend. They don’t even want him, but he forces himself there, just to fit in.

M: Yes, I know. They do that all the time in school. It’s the peer pressure because they have to be cool. Not just to wear the same, they have to act the same. So if they drink, you have to drink. Otherwise you don’t get in. They will make fun of you and all that. You just have to make sure he doesn’t have to go through all this suffering for nothing. Tell him the value is not by being cool, but by being a good student, intelligent and independent.

P1: I did get through to him a couple of times. One time I got a call from an ambulance because he was lying in the road after vomiting and being very drunk. But that day when I brought him home, I was really loving to him that whole time; I wasn’t angry with him at all. I said, “I’m going to wait until you get better, then I want to beat you!” (Laughter) But I know what it’s like to be poisoned with alcohol like that. Also, one time he was arrested by police, and I was ill so I couldn’t get him, but I didn’t know where he was. So the following day – he was in the cell overnight – I talked to him and said, “Look, son, this can be your life if you want it to be, but I think you can do better than this, because you are a bright intelligent boy.”

M: You have to ask him to write down what he wants to do with his life. Don’t tell him what he wants to do, but ask him what he wants to choose, what he wants to be, what kind of person he wants to be.

P1: This is all in the past now. Now he has turned a corner. (Master: That’s good!) He is very focused on his studies; he’s meditating now.

M: Oh, cool!

P1: He is happy!

M: Wow, what a guy! From that, and turned to this. I am proud of you.

P1: Thank You. (Applause)

M: It’s also your work, that you have made it. Wow, family: I tell you!

Support from the Parent Can Make a World of Difference to the Child

Practitioner 2: I was also initiated when I was quite young, and I also went through a lot of peer pressure and everything in school. I’ve done most of the things he’s talking about.

M: I understand.

P2: Then my life turned around when I did have meditation, and I knew You were by my side and knew You were always inside, with me. My life just turned around when I started meditating. Then everything in my life was so amazing. When I was young, I wouldn’t walk outside and always smile because the sun was out. But now I’m just so overwhelmed to have You with me and I know that every day You will be with me.

M: Sure, every day.

P2: I just want to let you know that I really appreciate everything You’ve done for me.

M: I love doing that, and I love you.

P2: Thank You. I love You too, Master.

M: Because you are a good kid, such a good kid.

P2: Thank You so much for everything You have done.

M: I understand you also, OK? I understand you and all the teenagers. It’s very lonely outside. You think they have peers, they have friends, but they are very lonely. The ones who are not lonely are the aggressive ones: the bullies in the school, like the gang leaders. They make every other kid do what they want, and then they pick on other kids, like, “You’re too fat” or, “You’re too skinny.” They call you names and make you feel like you are nothing, like you are the worst in the class and everything. They will make your life hell.

So you, the parents, have to understand that the kids have problems. Don’t just throw them in the school and then you have to do nothing. You have to understand their problems as well. Sometimes they even gang together to harass one person, one kid, and then the kid comes home; of course they are depressed. They don’t know what to do. They can’t tell the parents. Sometimes they can’t even pinpoint the problem; they just feel bad! But they can’t even tell you because they don’t know how to express the things from school. Also, they feel powerless but they feel embarrassed to tell you. So if you are not the real buddy, they won’t tell you their problems because of pride as well. Teenagers are more proud than any of us. This is the time they develop their confidence. If all their friends, their so-called buddies and classmates just throw stones at them, then of course they feel destroyed.

So you have to be there for your children; you already made the choice to be married and to have children. You have to be responsible; you have to be there for your children. Of course, you meditate and all that, but you have to be there for your children. You have to know that it’s very difficult for them to grow up without the love of parents and family. It’s very important for them to feel loved, no matter what. They have to really feel it. Otherwise in school there are bullies, and at home they don’t feel wanted. They don’t feel cared for. Even if you scold them sometimes, they know you care. But if you just ignore them and don’t even scold, just say, “OK, you do what you want,” and after a while don’t talk to them, it will be worse. They are going through a very difficult period in their lives, because the teenage period is the worst. They grow too quickly for their own understanding; their body grows too quickly; they hardly have control of their body. That’s why sometimes they break things or they bump into things a lot, because of their body growing too quickly.

Teenagers break a lot of things easily, easier than when you grow older or younger, because of their body. Really, I am not kidding! Their body grows fast and the brain has a difficult time commanding; they are not used to it. Just like you have a new car or new instrument, it takes time. Then on top of that, the bloody curse: the hormones raging in them, making them feel like they don’t know what to do. They are so restless.

So be understanding. Be helpful, be a friend and be a guide. Remember that you were a teenager once. There were so many things you didn’t understand: why it was happening, why your body felt like that, why you felt that way or why you wanted to do this. You didn’t understand many things! It’s the same for your children.

I am glad. (Master addresses the practitioner who had been sharing her own experience.) You are good; but how many teenagers can be so controlled and confident like that? So I’m glad you are a good kid. I’m glad you’re strong, because the social pressure in the school could destroy your kids. Some of them commit suicide because of that. Sometimes the kids are very intelligent inside, but because of the destructive power of the bully people who make him or her feel powerless, then they drop their grades or don’t study well because they cannot concentrate from feeling so depressed and unhappy. Their intelligence is also ruined.

Always Keep Your Promise to Your Kids

So if your kids sometimes have lower grades or suddenly drop, you have to understand why. You have to talk to him. Bring him out to his favorite coffee shop and sit together, two by two. Or one-on-one; it depends on who he gets on well with. Together with the parents, or just together first with the father if she gets on better with the father and then together with both, and then go on. And if he or she tells you to keep a secret, you keep it. It’s very important that you keep your promise to your kids. If you want to buy him something, and if you promise, you do it. If you don’t do it, you’d better have a good reason! Otherwise he or she won’t trust you. Also, if you leak out a secret without telling him first, he won’t trust you again.

It’s not easy to raise a family, but I’m glad that many of you do well. I can see that your families have good kids. Even though they’re going through a very difficult period of their life, because you are the supporter and you bring them into the good direction, they become good, and they can sail through this troubled water with flying colors. That’s the best way to bring your child up; it’s very good. So I congratulate you. It’s good for the whole family: a “package deal.” I am very proud of you. I really am so proud. (Applause)

We all have our shortcomings, so just try. If you notice it, then try to correct. It’s not the big things that make people happy in the family, it’s the small things, the small details. Big things take care of themselves. Small details are very important and show that you care. For example, if you sit with your children for a few hours and talk or play with things together, it’s even more important to them than if you buy them a big toy and neglect and don’t talk to them. You care. So be firm; don’t spoil them, like the kid that was too bad. What you did was good. You have to be strong when you need to be, and they have to earn what they want. Not that you just buy anything they want and don’t guide them in an educational way. That’s very bad, very bad! Yeah? Kids should learn the value of high thinking and simple living.

To Restore Your God-Given Happiness, Look Forward Not Back

Practitioner 3: Master, I want to thank You for all Your blessings; because when I was young, I suffered a lot in school and in the family, but the last years, I have gotten so much blessing. Miracles happen every day and now I’m very happy.

M: You are more confident now? (P3: Yes.) It could destroy you, you know. The childhood is very bad! It could affect you your whole life, not just in childhood. It’s very difficult to get your confidence back, especially since they’re so cruel in the school, some of the Astrals. They pick on you, and they make you feel really bad. Even sometimes you’re not ugly, but according to them, you are ugly. Or they want you to feel ugly, because they are uglier than you. And then they keep repeating the same thing to make you really feel ugly, even though you are not ugly. The psychological effect is immense.

I cannot emphasize enough how you have to really love and guide your children. You must understand. All right, number one: Get over it. Some people are so stupid that they don’t appreciate other people. Or they’re jealous. Sometimes you are more intelligent, or you have richer parents, or you have a better house, or you even have a better-looking boyfriend. And so they plan to crush you. But because you’re kids, you don’t understand much.

Also, you’re so nice. Mostly the kids who are picked on are nice kids. Just the tough ones go pick on other people. The nice kids are quiet; they study and do their own homework and don’t do anything bad. It’s just that they are too good, so they don’t know how to defend themselves. That’s the problem.

It’s good that you got back your happiness. You deserve it. Everyone deserves happiness. If you don’t have it, then it’s your problem. You have to see why you’re not happy or what area of your life bothers you. One time, I was in France and there was a woman who kept telling me about how bad she felt because of her husband and the family. It wasn’t all that difficult to handle, but she kept nagging me and asking. I told her and she didn’t change. So I said, “OK, you know what? If it’s me, I just look into my life, and any area that’s bugging me, anything that’s making me unhappy, I just get rid of it.”

She said, “What? Really? Everything?” And I said, “Anything!” She said, “The husband?” I said that if the husband bugs me, I sell him. (Laughter) If a car makes trouble, I sell the car. If the house troubles me, I sell the house. First, I said, “If the car troubles me, then I sell the car.” Then I said, “If the house makes trouble for me, I sell the house.” And she said, “How about husband?” I said, “If the husband bothers me, I sell the husband.” (Master laughs.) It takes time; with the husband it’s more difficult, but it’s not like it’s not doable.

This is a joke, but it can be realized. What do you keep yourself in trouble for? Maybe you can’t get rid of it now, but you can plan to. Try to look forward. In school it’s the same for kids. If you have someone bullying you, you have to go home and tell your parents; be up-front. Tell them because they will help you. You have to tell them. If you cannot tell them in words because you don’t know how or it’s too difficult to talk, write a letter. Think of what you want to tell them and write it! It’s easier to write than sometimes to talk, because you have a longer time to think and to formulate your ideas since as a kid, it’s difficult for you to talk sometimes. And when you’re too emotional while talking, you just can’t express it. So maybe you think about what you want to tell your parents about the problem, write it down and give it to them.


Master’s Words

We are Stepping Into the Golden Age

Start with Nirvana and End up on Earth

Reaching a New Era of Universal Consciousness

Journey Through the Universal Network

The Communication Method in the Higher World

Practicing Makes the World More Civilized

We are the Supreme Master

The Mysteries of the Universe

The Different Working Systems in the Universe

Over-Population is not the Main Cause of Starvation!

We Are Catching Up with Heaven

Help to Keep Our “Spaceship” Earth in a Powerful Position


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