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Friday, 01 August 2014 00:00

Love Begins from Companionship

Written by  BY BY TZU CHI KL & SELANGOR DOCUMENTING TEAM / TRANSLATED BY PEGGY LEE

A great hug bring parent and child much closer. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]

A three-day Tzu Chi Teenagers’ Group Parent-Child Bonding Humanities Camp was jointly organized by Taiwan and KL & Selangor Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth and the Education Team, from August 1-3, 2014, at KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall. It is hoped that through accompanying and caring for each other, mutual trust and understanding could be established.


“Pa Pa Cheng Wee told me that no matter what wrongs they have done, they are still my parents. I will try my best to understand the reason they left me, and when I am grown up, I will look for them and tell them that I am willing to forgive them.” This is the sharing from Jiang Xin Wei, who claimed that a single phrase from volunteer Ng Cheng Wee during the class had prompted her to release her resentment willingly.

Seventeen-year-old Xin Wei enrolled for this camp because she would like to meet Master Cheng Yen in Taiwan; and volunteer Liao Chong Mei was her ‘Ma Ma’ during the camp.

Whenever she sees others holding their parents’ hands and hugging each other, she envied them. When Chong Mei Ma Ma assured her that she will always be her ‘Ma Ma’ and will always be there for her even after the camp, Xin Wei broke down.


Humanities and life education

On the first night of the camp, 360 teenagers, aging between 13 and 17, and their parents, gathered at the Hall of Gratitude. There, they participated in games aimed at dispelling the resistance of this group of rebellious teenagers towards the camp, and giving both parents and children the opportunity to regain the warm and intimate moments shared during the childhood days.

Through this camp held at the Jing Si Hall for the first time, children experienced humanistic education which they seldom acquire in school. For parents, they learned to apply family education with the motto, “Love begins from companionship”. Besides, they also experienced living in a group where disciplines were practised. 


Treat each other with empathy

The following morning, the first programme – “Please listen to me” – was led by volunteer Ng Cheng Wee, who had successfully gathered everyone together to discuss the problems in bonding between the two generations. Good communication is a bridge to foster good relationship, but at most times, children do not speak out what is in their minds to their parents; while parents often hold on to their perspective, thus resulting in conflicts and a deeper generation gap.

In the drama presentation, the teenager volunteers vividly presented the usual ‘disagreements’ they faced with their parents in daily life to serve as a reflection to both parents and children. After the performance, Cheng Wee led them to write down the positive and negative sides of the solution, then to get representatives to present their views and to motivate each other.

Participant Li Shan Ying mentioned she would use the Jing Si Aphorism, “Getting angry is actually to punish yourself with other people’s mistakes”, as a reminder, thus resolving numerous frictions with her mother. Before joining Tzu Chi, they were both very stubborn and generated lots of conflicts. Now, she has learned to be empathic and understand her mother’s good intentions. Their relationship is much closer now.

The game successfully broke the barrier between parents and children; and Cheng Wee also encouraged more physical interactions between them. The hall was filled with warmth. Some participants were seen wiping off tears or sobbing, while some remained silent looking at their parents. Cheng Wee emphasized that good communication and more hugging will bring the parents and children closer.


Fulfilling your dream

Volunteer Chen Lian Xin from Taiwan shared the education of love through stories and videos. She emphasized that parents are the moulds of their children, thus should set a good example, never give up and should patiently listen to their children. They should also praise their children more instead of just complaining; and most of all, give them blessings instead of worrying about them.

Another volunteer from Taiwan, Huang Feng Mei, had neglected giving love to her children because she was working hard to repay the debts of her husband, who had run away. Since joining Tzu Chi, she has learned to be a good mother, take care of herself and managed to communicate well with her children and to listen attentively to them.

The Tzu Chi teenagers (Tzu Shao) were then divided into three groups to attend the self-evaluation sessions, namely “Knowing my self-ability and interest”, “Ability for self-reflection” and “Fulfilling your dreams”. In the video presentation, Nick, who has no limbs, is able to face his life very positively and do what normal people could do, including swimming. He has inspired physically fit people like us to exert our intuitive ability.

Teacher Wai Yok Man informed that all our five fingers have their functions, just like every teenager is equally important. He led participants to explore their own inner heart to realize their strong points and shortcomings. He also told them that they should not be complacent with their strengths while learning to accept “shortcomings” modestly and to further improve themselves.

Volunteer Chong Chuan Yit mentioned that he used to focus and work very hard in achieving his career goals. But his main goal in life now is to execute Tzu Chi’s missions and to attain self-growth.

Zhang Jun Jie, who used to play truant, eventually understood the importance of study and has learned to be responsible for his own life after joining Tzu Chi Teenagers’ Group. He was arguing with his mother about a study-related issue just before reporting for this camp. From the camp he realized that he should treat his mother well and to communicate with her amicably.


An air of gratitude

On the third day, Taiwan’s Tzu Chi Collegiate Youths presented the story of the “Apple Tree”, as well as, a sketch and sign language interpretations of the songs, “Kneeling Lamb” and “The Most Beautiful Smile”. The hall was filled with an atmosphere of gratefulness.

At that moment, all participants walked in line towards their parents, each with a bucket of water. They then knelt down in front of their parents, as Feng Mei narrated, “Children, please close your eyes and think of all the efforts from your parents in loving and caring for you.” Word by word, Feng Mei led the children in bathing their parents’ feet, followed by a great hug and three ‘kowtows’ (the first for the gratefulness of giving birth to them; the second for parents’ efforts in their upbringing, and the third for the education granted by their parents).

Liu Jing Xin bravely expressed her love to her mother and gave her a hug after tearfully apologizing to her for being rebellious and naïve. 


U-turn in life

“I love money, and money loves me. But, when I earned more money, my smiles became less.” This was volunteer Lim Haw Sek’s sharing about his previous life. He reminded all the teenagers to always feel grateful even when adversity strikes and that they should not be obsessed with material enjoyment.

From young, Haw Sek liked to be free of control and disliked studying. He mixed with bad companions and collected protection fees in school. Then, he opened numerous entertainment centres because he wanted to earn more money. When he succeeded in making lots of money and leading a luxurious life, his happiness was nowhere to be found. Eventually, he realized he was on the wrong direction towards life, as wealth could not replace his spiritual emptiness.

After joining Tzu Chi, he experienced a simple lifestyle, which is very different from his previous colourful life, and finally realized the real meaning of life. His humourous and interesting sharing of his life story not only drew laughter from the floor but also touched the hearts of all at times.
Thirteen-year-old Zhang Xuan Yu really admired Haw Sek’s courage in making a fresh start of his life. She agreed that money is not of utmost importance. To her, family and health are more valuable.

The participants were also shown a video presentation of Yee Kok Yan, who had hereditary cerebellar atrophy at the age of 29 and became wheelchair-bound half a year later. The caring companionship of the volunteers enabled him to rediscover the meaning of life. He then started to observe a vegetarian diet, quit smoking, take part in environmental protection and eventually join as a volunteer, thus rewriting the script of his life.

Kok Yan’s appearance in the hall touched the hearts of all present, who gave him a great round of applause. When he stepped off the wheelchair and walked step by step towards the stage, some parents were moved to tears while some continued to applaud. Kok Yan overcame his speech obstacles to urge everyone to “just do it (whatever that is right)!”

The camp concluded with everyone joyfully singing the camp song, “Right Now”.

 

Games were set up to break the ice on the first night of the camp. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]   Discussions and reflections on the programme “Please Listen to me”. [Photograph by Choo Kok Choi]

Games were set up to break the ice on the first night of the camp. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]
 
Discussions and reflections on the programme “Please Listen to me”. [Photograph by Choo Kok Choi]
 
Volunteers preparing meals for a few hundred in the very early morning. [Photograph by Yong Jin Ren]   Teacher Wai Yok Man indicated that all five fingers have their functions, just like every teenager is equally important. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]

Volunteers preparing meals for a few hundred in the very early morning. [Photograph by Yong Jin Ren]
 
 
Teacher Wai Yok Man indicated that all five fingers have their functions, just like every teenager is equally important. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]
 
Volunteer Lim Haw Sek sharing his life story. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]   Yee Kok Yan showed his determination in walking step by step towards the stage. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]

Volunteer Lim Haw Sek sharing his life story. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]
 
 
Yee Kok Yan showed his determination in walking step by step towards the stage. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]
 
Jiang Xin Wei, whose parents left her since young, was touched by volunteer Liao Chong Mei’s assurance to be her permanent ‘Ma Ma’. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]   Zhang Xuan Yu (middle) admired volunteer Lim Haw Sek’s courage. She agreed that money is not the most important but that health is more valuable. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]

Jiang Xin Wei, whose parents left her since young, was touched by volunteer Liao Chong Mei’s assurance to be her permanent ‘Ma Ma’. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]
 
 
Zhang Xuan Yu (middle) admired volunteer Lim Haw Sek’s courage. She agreed that money is not the most important but that health is more valuable. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]
 
Zhang Jun Jie, who once played truant, eventually realized the importance of studying and found a new direction in life. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]  

Zhang Jun Jie, who once played truant, eventually realized the importance of studying and found a new direction in life. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]
 

 

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