Susan, the United States
I was born into an ordinary family in a rural village. Throughout my childhood,, my family was rather poor. As my parents failed in business, and were up to their necks in debts. And the villagers all avoided our family. Being young, I really expected that I could live the life which was the same as that of the people of my age—buying the clothes, snacks and a bicycle I liked. However, our family financial situation didn’t get better from beginning to end and we endured our being rejected by the villagers all the time, feeling that we had no way to raise our heads to conduct ourselves. When I was at junior high school, I often heard my teachers say, “If you don’t study hard, in the future you can only find hard work …” Seeing that they had high education and could have high incomes with ease, I admired them very much inside. I also saw that some people in my village were assigned to foreign trading companies to go to work after graduating from college, thus having a steady living and not having to worry about food and clothing. From that point on, I deeply believed that “Knowledge can change your fate.” But later because my family financial condition was bad, I didn’t continue my studies. However, I didn’t give up my pursuits: I placed my hopes on the next generation, thinking inside, “When I grow up and have my own child after getting married, I must ask him to study hard to test into a good college so that he can have a good job, not living a poor life just like me.”
In 2001 I came to America. After having lived in this strange place for five years, I had my own family and child. Because both my husband and I were busy with our works and had no time to take care of our child, we could only send him who was only several months old back to China and let his aunt take care of him. During that time, I was of one mind to do my best to make money and thereby later I could bring him back and let him go to the best school. When he was 5 years old, we brought him here. I hoped that he could receive the best education here. I learnt that private schools were better than public schools. Hence, I found a private school for him. But because his English was not very good, he couldn’t understand what the teachers taught and hardly learnt anything after a term; thus I had no choice but to choose a public school for him. In order to let him not lose at the starting line, I painstakingly used the translation software to help me teach him to learn English; after classes, I also arranged cram schools for him, hoping to improve him in English. When he was in the first grade, for the sake of letting him catch up with the teachers’ paces of teaching, I helped him with his homework every day and moreover I also often contacted my friends’ children and asked them to help him solve the difficulties with his studying English. Besides, every day after he got home from school and finished eating and having a bath, I would require him to take out a book distributed by his teacher to read the whole of it repeatedly and insist on doing this for half an hour every day because I thought that only in this way could he remember the contents of it. When he couldn’t read it well all the time, I was not in the least bit lenient and still required him to read; if he still couldn’t read it well, I would lose my temper. Having seen that he was resisting me in his heart and was careless on purpose, always thinking of playing, I became even more anxious and couldn’t control my mood, saying to him, “Why aren’t you considerate of me? Though I’m so strict with you, am I not doing this for your own good!?” He had no choice but to continue to read perfunctorily. Every time after I finished losing my temper with him and saw he continued reading with grievances, I was very sad. I also didn’t want to make such harsh demands of him, but I had no choice because he didn’t make progress as much as expected.
This kind of life lasted for a term and I almost didn’t give him any chance to play. During this time, I had also thought that I should let him relax, thinking that children should have a relaxed and happy childhood. But then I thought: If he can’t test into a good university and thus he can’t have a good job, then in the future won’t he be like me being able to raise the family only by working hard for a lifetime? After turning the thought over and over in my mind, I thought I still had to require him to use the time for playing to read and firmly believed that as long as he studied hard, he would surely keep up with the teachers’ paces of teaching. I always thought that, he was not slow-witted so his grades would surely be better than others’ through studying hard. I believed that “There is no motivation without pressure,” so I required him that he must at least get over 90 points for Chinese (exam), and 100 points on the math exam, and that he should have very neat handwriting when doing his homework every day to avoid being docked points because of bad handwriting when taking the tests. I would often compare him with my friends’ children. Every time when I learnt that their test results were better than his, I would feel very unbalanced inside and blame him for his not studying hard; sometimes, I would beat and scold him. When I beat him, he, feeling helpless and wronged, said to me, “Mom, I have read hard and also listened to my teachers’ lectures carefully, but I still can’t reach your requirements.” Even though he said like this, I still thought as long as he put more effort, he would certainly get good grades and that only having good grades could he have a wonderful future. Therefore, I still supervised him studying as I did in the past every day …
As time passed, my son’s relationship with me became more and more distant: No matter what had happened, he would not tell me; he also never dare to speak out his own preferences and true thoughts before me. I also felt that I didn’t understand his heart more and more and we became speechless. He was unhappy every day. Because his mood was not good, he fought with his classmates in school, became antisocial, and even told lies … Seeing all of these, I felt so much pain inside. I hoped that he could live a good life in the future and be happy. However, why did he become like this under my efforts? I also felt exhausted physically and mentally and even became more and more bad-tempered. Why was this? With regard to educating children, I really felt very helpless. I didn’t know how to educate my son and improve my relationship with him. I felt so bitter in my heart!
In December 2016, my son and I accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days. At first, I didn’t know how to rely on God to solve my own difficulties. Later, I read an article about the testimony of one of my brothers and sisters; a passage of God’s words in it touched my heart. God said, “But when it comes time for people to raise the next generation, they will project all their unrealized desires in the first half of their lives onto their descendants, hoping that their offspring will make up for all the disappointments they experienced in the first half of their lives. … At this point hopes for life spring afresh, and new passions are kindled in people’s hearts. People know that they are powerless and hopeless in this life, that they will not have another chance, another hope, to stand out from others, and that they have no choice but to accept their fates. And so they project all their hopes, their unrealized desires and ideals, onto the next generation, hoping that their offspring can help them achieve their dreams and realize their desires; that their daughters and sons will bring glory to the family name, become important, rich, or famous; in short, they want to see their children’s fortunes soar. People’s plans and fantasies are perfect; do they not know that the number of children they have, their children’s appearance, abilities, and so forth, are not for them to decide, that their children’s fates do not at all rest in their palms? Humans are not the masters of their own fate, yet they hope to change the fates of the younger generation; they are powerless to escape their own fates, yet they try to control those of their sons and daughters. Are they not overestimating themselves? Is this not human foolishness and ignorance? People go to any length for the sake of their offspring, but in the end, how many children one has, and what one’s children are like, do not answer to their plans and desires.” God’s words were saying exactly me! This was exactly how I was. Since I was little, influenced by my environment, I had unconsciously approved of this view “Knowledge can change your fate,” thinking that those without education had no wonderful future. I had also wanted to change my own fate by means of knowledge, but finally I had no choice but to quit school because of my poor household. Afterward, I placed my hope of my relying on knowledge to change the fate on my son, hoping that, he could study hard to get into a good university and in the future have a good job and thus his life would be without care or worry from that point onward. In order to achieve this aim, I dedicated my efforts to helping my son with his studies and even forced him to attain a high level of study. However, in the end the payment was that, I not only didn’t let him get better grades, but caused him to become a child who was antisocial under much pressure and fought with others in school and caused his lies to become ever more. My son and I couldn’t open our hearts to each other, and we both lived in pain. According to God’s words, what my son’s future would be was not up to me and how high his knowledge and education were was also uncontrolled by me. I even couldn’t control my own fate, and then how could I control his fate?
I saw another passage of, “From the moment you come crying into this world, you begin to perform your duty. You assume your role in the plan of God and in the ordination of God. You begin the journey of life. Whatever your background and whatever the journey ahead of you, none can escape the orchestration and arrangement that Heaven has in store, and none are in control of their destiny, for only He who rules over all things is capable of such work. … In any case, all I wish is for man to understand that without the care, keeping, and provision of God, man cannot receive all that he was meant to receive, no matter how great the effort or struggle.” From God’s word I understood: We come to this world with a mission, and each of us plays our role ordained by God. None of us can control our own fate, for man’s fate is ordered in God’s hands. Comparing God’s words, I realized that, my son’s future prospect could only be dictated by God; his work, life, etc. in the future were all predetermined by God; besides Him, no one had the final word. God’s words had turned around my wrong views and I understood that, I was just a small creature and couldn’t change my son’s fate; relying on knowledge still couldn’t change his fate; we humans were created by God and He knows our needs best, so everything arranged by Him for us was certainly the best. I also thought of the personal experiences of my friends and relatives around me: My niece was a college student in America and her English was very good. But she didn’t find a job that corresponded to her academic qualification, and in the end, she worked in a restaurant as a waitress and only had the ordinary incomes. A boss of a restaurant where I worked before, graduated from primary school and his English was also very bad. But he could possess his own career, earned a lot of money and had a house and a car … These facts made me even more believe that, it was not that as long as one had high education and knowledge, he could change his fate; every person’s fate was dictated by God; without His predestination, no matter how hard we tried, we would not gain the things we wanted. After understanding these, my heart was relieved: Whether my son would have a good future lied not in my efforts but depended on God’s predestination. I was willing to put down my previous, flawed method of educating my son, give him into God’s hands and submit to His orchestration and arrangements in all things.
Afterward, my attitude toward my son’s study had some transformation: I was no longer rigorous in my requirements of him to have neat handwriting when he did his homework like before, no longer compared him with others and no longer forced him to get high grades in exams; instead, I gave him time to play and sometimes, we would read God’s words and sing hymns to praise Him together. After a while, I saw that my son became happy and that he also started to chat with me. Once, a sister asked him whether he was happy or not after believing in Almighty God. He answered, “After believing in Almighty God, I’m very happy. Because when I was in the first grade, my mom asked me to read a book carefully. Sometimes, I didn’t want to do that. But I was afraid that she would scold me, so I could only pretend to be serious. However, I was very unhappy inside. When I didn’t do that well, she would beat and scold me. Now, I see that she has changed. When I do something wrong, she will say to me nicely. Most of the time, she teaches me nicely and no longer beats me like before. In the past, she hadn’t concerned herself with what happened to me in school. Now, no matter what happens to me in school, I dare to tell them to her. In the past, she was not nice to me, so I didn’t like her. When she lost her temper, I would think, ‘I won’t listen to what she is saying,’ and just wanted to go against her. Now, she has changed so I also want to change my bad tendencies. Previously, she said as long as I read more, I would have a good job and could make much money; when my grades weren’t high, I didn’t dare to tell her because she would scold me. Now, she tells me that, as long as I treat exams carefully, it’s ok; she doesn’t require that I have to get 100 points. So now no matter how many points I get, I dare to bring my test results back home and let her see.” Hearing what my son said, I felt warm within. I thanked God from my heart. It was God who changed my wrong method of educating my son and allowed him to understand things. All of these changes were brought by God.
Recently, my son would take the entrance exam for middle school in New York. Before because I always hoped that he could test into a good junior high school, when he attended the exams, I would require that he had to get high grades. But this time, I thought that, I had believed in God, so I should put aside my previous, false views, practice the truth of being obedient to God and give everything to God to arrange. Therefore, the day before his exams, I said to him, “Tomorrow you will attend the exams. You shouldyourself. When you take the exams, try your best to do it and that’s ok. As for whether the results are good or not, it contains God’s good will. When you pray to God, you must be reasonable. You can’t require God to allow you to test into a good junior high school. Even if you don’t get good grades, you can’t complain about God, because what God arranges for you is all the best and most suitable for you.” Hearing my words, he said to me, “Mom, I’ll pray to God and I’ll also take the exams carefully.” I thanked God from my heart for allowing my son and me to have such a big change. In the past, I made many efforts but they were all in vain. I saw that only God’s words could change us. Now, I educate my son according to God’s words and submit to His sovereignty and arrangements in all things. I feel very secure and liberated in my heart. I give thanks to God, for He guided me to gradually get rid of Satan’s wrong views and throw off my corrupt disposition. I also have seen that only educating children according to God’s words is the most correct because I have personally tasted that different methods of educating brought different results. From the bottom of my heart, I thank and praise God: Thank Almighty God! All the glory be to God!