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Welcoming little Bodhisattva, in Chan Meditation Center, NY

On this Saturday afternoon (11/4/2017), we were so lucky to join the seminar of “Welcoming Little Bodhisattvas” led by Dr. Ya-Ning Amy Hsu at the Chan Meditation Center. As a modern well-educated scholar, Dr. Hsu has years of work experience and rigorous academic training in language education and child development. Also, she is a successful mother who has three children and has accumulated lots of parenting experiences from her own family. So this time, she gave us the wonderful talk and shared her experiences.

The seminar was divided into two parts: “Read with our children” and “Have it all: kids, career, and your own life.” For the first part, Dr. Hsu emphasized the importance of reading paper books with our children, not E-books. For babies and toddlers, the most efficient practice of parenting is always communicating. The more parents talk with children, the faster the language and logic systems will be established. In addition, reading with them can calm down their emotions as well, especially while travelling and waiting. Also, company and communication should be kept and set up between parents and kids on a daily basis. The role of parents cannot be replaced by electronic devices, such as iPads, cell phones or electronic version of books.

As a new mom, I’m always over-worried, about such as how to teach my baby, how to balance the relationship between my son and my husband, how to chase my own dreams and how to find the balance between my career and my son. So, the second part of the seminar actually answered lots of my questions. When a child is born, the first persons he/she meets are parents, especially the mother. While growing up, the child will adapt to society better if he or she has a better relationship with parents. Therefore, the most important thing in a family is “harmony” between spouses and between parents and children. And there is no need to make extra efforts to train the baby for normal emotional development. A natural and easy way is to show them love and to respect them. The love between spouses will affect their children. Therefore, spouses should find a way to keep their relationship fresh and to be always in love with each other. From this point of view, the never-ending workloads and (other) burdens should not be the excuses for being absent from family activities. Another thing that impressed me a lot is Dr. Hsu’s “lazy men’s theory,” which says parents need to prioritize their life. Parents should finish those that they think are important and ignore others temporarily. After practicing for a period of time, you will find that your life becomes more organized, easier, and peaceful. At the end, you will find you have all the things you want, such as educating children, career and your life, but this may not happen at the same time and at the same place. Her theory shocks me by emphasizing the importance of “treating yourself well first,” and changes my traditional and conservative thoughts. I grew up in a culture where women need to sacrifice themselves and need to work hard for their families. After listening to Dr. Hsu’s talk, I realize how important it is to treat myself well first. Furthermore, raising babies and having my own hobbies are equally essential. Thus I think parents should learn from experienced experts the modern ways of child-raising.

At the end, I would like to show my gratitude to Venerable Chang Hsu, Dr. Hsu, and volunteers at CMC.

Article by Michelle Jia
Photos by Yin-Li Ting

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