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Wednesday, 25 June 2014 00:00

Tzu Chi’s Great Love Mothers Celebrates 10thAnniversary

Written by  BY YONG SIEW LEE, MELAKA / TRANSLATED BY LEE REN HUI

Led by Lin Ci Tian (in Tzu Chi’s dress), the Great Love Mothers sang a modified version of the Happy Birthday song to celebrate its 10th Anniversary.[Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

Tzu Chi’s Great Love Mothers’ Team has turned ten! In the past ten years, the Great Love Mothers have been through many ups and downs, yet they continue to influence others with their love, hoping that this love will spread like dandelions.


“Happy birthday to Great Love Mothers; Happy birthday to Great Love Mothers! We wish you all a birthday full of blessings and wisdom, and that you will become the lights that guide others…” These wishes were given to all present and former Great Love Mothers, who had gathered to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Great Love Mothers in Melaka!

The Great Love Mothers’ Team is a functional group under Tzu Chi’s Education Mission. It provides a platform for mothers, who only take care of their individual family initially, to step out, learn and improve themselves through classes besides bringing love to their families. In addition, they also walk into schools to promote goodness, kindness and Tzu Chi’s humanistic culture to the students.

“By joining the Great Love Mothers’ Team, I have formed karmic bonds that are even closer than siblings, with other volunteers. They have supported me through the lowest ebb in my life, given me the strength to continue to spread love,” shared Great Love Mother, Chen Cai Yan. After retiring from her job, Cai Yan focused solely on her family and felt empty until she became a Great Love Mother. Her nine years in this role has transformed her from a stern Great Love Mother, whom the children feared and disliked, to one, who is close with the children; and she has also become a confident cadre member of Tzu Chi, who is able to assume sole responsibility.

“I used to have a bad temper and could not interact well with my family members. It was not until I joined the Great Love Mothers’ Team that I realized not only my children need to learn, but as a mother, I need to learn too. In the process, I have learnt to be more considerate and tolerant. I have also changed my attitude and this has improved my relationships with my family members,” shared Zheng Yu Lan, who joined the team four years ago. She is looking forward to sharing her motherly love with more children.

Guo Wei Ting, who joined the team last year said, “I was touched by the selfless contributions of the Great Love Mothers towards other children, and that had inspired me to step into one school after another, hoping that I can also be a benefactor to these children…” Wei Ting has visited four schools to spread love to the children. Besides personal growth, the reciprocated love from many children whom she cared for, has led her to continue her aspiration to become a Great Love Mother.

Regardless of the number of years of service, every Great Love Mother seems to have countless touching stories to share. From discovering more about themselves to influencing others with love, the Great Love Mothers in Melaka have journeyed through ten fulfilling years, coupled with lots of challenges and touching moments, which all started from a pure aspiration of the heart.

Overcome difficulties to do the right things

Between December 17 and 19, 2004, a team of volunteers from Taiwan’s Tzu Chi Teachers’ Association and Great Love Mothers’ Team held a Jing Si Aphorism Teaching Method training camp at Tzu Chi Melaka. During the camp, the Great Love Mothers shared their school visit experiences. Volunteer Lin Ci Tian, who served in the education field then, was so deeply moved and inspired that she took on the responsibility to call on a group of volunteers, who shared the same aspiration, to form a Great Love Mothers’ Team in Melaka. On March 23, 2005, the Great Love Mothers’ Nurturing Class commenced in Tzu Chi Melaka for the first batch of Great Love Mothers. This Class has continued till this day and even Great Love Fathers have been trained to spread kindness and love to more people.

Despite facing many challenges along the way, like being turned down by schools due to religious sensitivities and a lack of understanding of Tzu Chi’s missions, the Great Love Mothers were undeterred and worked even closer together, helping and encouraging one another. Eventually they touched the hearts of many teachers and parents, and won the close cooperation of many school principals.

To-date, Tzu Chi Melaka’s Great Love Mothers have visited 13 out of 65 Chinese Primary Schools in Melaka, and one kindergarten. Each morning before class, the Great Love Mothers would share with these children some stories based on Jing Si Aphorisms. At the same time, they also grasped the opportunity to encourage these schools to start practising recycling. As a result, three primary schools, namely, SRJK (C) Wen Hua, SRJK (C) Pay Fong 2, SRJK (C) Bukit Beruang, have completely banned the use of polystyrene in their school compounds since 2009.

Through their visits, the Great Love Mothers started to impart Tzu Chi’s humanistic values into some school activities, like showing gratitude and respect to teachers during graduation ceremonies or at Teachers’ Day celebrations. Eventually, the schools affirmed the Jing Si Aphorism Teaching Method. The Great Love Mothers have also been dedicated in introducing Jing Si Aphorisms through storytelling. In 2013, led by their teachers, SRJK (C) Pay Fong 3 started “A Jing Si Aphorism a Week”, while SRJK (C) Wen Hua established their “Great Love Society”, adding afternoon activity session on top of the half-an-hour storytelling each morning, further enhancing the Great Love Mothers’ propagation of goodness and kindness in the school.

“Everything is achieved with time… Today’s society and our children need Great Love Mothers. If something is right, then just do it,” said Lin Ci Tian. Despite the obstacles along the way, the cadres of previous years and the present have worked together tirelessly to “overcome difficulties, but not be overcome by them”.

Find a spiritual refuge to spread love

“I have wanted to promote Great Love Mothers since 2006, but did not know how to use a computer then. However, with a pure and joyful heart, I looked for people to shoulder the responsibilities together with me. Thanks to a great affinity, Tzu Chi Melaka conducted classes; and with the help of Melaka volunteers, a Great Love Mothers’ Team was established in Muar,” shared Muar volunteer, Wu Yi Xuan. She found Tzu Chi when she was seeking ways to nurture her children. She has also found her spiritual refuge in Tzu Chi, and hence became committed and dedicated in the promotion of Great Love Mothers in Muar. After nine years of untiring efforts, the Great Love Mothers have reached out to 12 schools in the Muar district.

Peng Wan Ying, team leader in the promotion of Great Love Mothers in Melaka, likened Great Love Mothers to dandelions. They come from different places, with some visiting schools and spreading love at different places. With resource-sharing from Tzu Chi Melaka, the Great Love Mothers have also reached out to two schools in Seremban and five in Kluang.

At the end of the class that day, the Great Love Mothers presented a sign language interpretation of the song, “Thousand Hands World”. They formed the image of the ‘Thousand Hands Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva’ with the song’s lyrics: “One hand, one hand, hundred hands, thousand hands… Because of kindness, life becomes beautiful; because of love, life continues; because of compassion, life becomes broader; because of gratitude, life is filled with joy…” In recalling the past ten years, the Great Love Mothers have been resolute on the initial kindness, love, compassion and gratitude, with which love will continue to grow and keep going.

 

Great Love Mothers’ Nurturing Class includes introduction to various Tzu Chi’s missions, so that the Great Love Mothers can step out from their homes and learn more about how they can play a positive role in helping others. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]   Muar volunteer, Wu Yi Xuan shared that Great Love Mothers in Muar have reached out to 12 schools in the district.[Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]

Great Love Mothers’ Nurturing Class includes introduction to various Tzu Chi’s missions, so that the Great Love Mothers can step out from their homes and learn more about how they can play a positive role in helping others. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
Muar volunteer, Wu Yi Xuan shared that Great Love Mothers in Muar have reached out to 12 schools in the district.[Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
Over a thousand students of SRJK (C) Wen Hua gathered at the school hall and listened attentively to stories told by the Great Love Mothers. [Photograph by Khor Siew Ai]   In 2009, and in conjunction with SRJK (C) Wen Hua’s school campaign in banning the use of polystyrene, the Great Love Mothers showed some related videos and encouraged the students and parents to use environmentally-friendly tableware on Parents’ Day. [Photograph by Hoe Sin Huang]

Over a thousand students of SRJK (C) Wen Hua gathered at the school hall and listened attentively to stories told by the Great Love Mothers. [Photograph by Khor Siew Ai]
 
 
In 2009, and in conjunction with SRJK (C) Wen Hua’s school campaign in banning the use of polystyrene, the Great Love Mothers showed some related videos and encouraged the students and parents to use environmentally-friendly tableware on Parents’ Day. [Photograph by Hoe Sin Huang]
 
Guo Wei Ting (left) visited four schools as a Great Love Mother, in the hope of becoming a benefactor of the children. [Photograph by Low Siew Lian]  

Guo Wei Ting (left) visited four schools as a Great Love Mother, in the hope of becoming a benefactor of the children. [Photograph by Low Siew Lian]