I No Longer Worry About My Son’s Doing Homework

I No Longer Worry About My Son’s Doing Homework

By Zhang Heng I Made Plans for My Son My son is 12 this year and he is in Grade 5. In the past, regardless of whether on holiday or at the two-day weekend, both the specific time when he did his homework and the amount of his homework each time were organized by me. He was very obedient and every time he could finish on time as planned. So, over time, I thought my plans were quite reasonable and that only by listening to me could he finish his homework on time. During this winter vacation, with my previous experience, I first saw how much homework he had as usual, and then evenly divided it according to the number of days of the vacation, and meanwhile I reckoned how much he should do every day and how long he would finish it. Except the time that he went out to play and the days when he visited relatives and friends, I had his vacation occupied. But something unimaginable happened to me. This time he not only didn’t do his homework, but always played online gaming on the mobile phone like “Arena of Valor” and so on, and even more, in his leisure time, he began to watch TV. Every time I urged him to do his homework, he agreed with me completely, but didn’t do it or found all sorts of excuses to shirk. The school would start soon. Seeing that his homework hadn’t been finished, I felt so anxious in my heart, while he was so unconcerned: He watched TV and played games as he did before. When I saw he didn’t give his mind properly to his homework and was still so calm, my patience was subject to a huge challenge. One day, I was no longer able to rein back my inside repressed anger. Therefore, I shouted to him loudly, “Do you intend not to attend school? If you do, throw away all your homework! Don’t write! Never again do it, that’s great! And I’ll no longer need to worry about your doing homework.” After I got angry, he had his head down in silence. No matter what I said, he defied me with silence. Looking at his look, I was really angry but didn’t know what to do. I put my mind on his homework all the time, thinking: I don’t ask how well you study or how excellent you are, but at least you should finish your homework assigned by the teacher. During that period, I’d been angry with him so that I even didn’t want to sit with him at the dinner table. And when he spoke to me, I didn’t want to say a word to him. I expressed my dissatisfaction with him in this way, but I also didn’t want to give up disciplining him. I thought inside: He’s my son, if I don’t discipline him, who will? People often say, “spare the rod and spoil the child.” It seems that he should be disciplined, or it’ll be difficult to control him when he grows up. Hence, I made up my mind to carry out all my plans I thought out: Firstly, I don’t allow him to come into contact with mobile phone to play games; secondly, I don’t allow him to watch TV. I thought: In this way, he will naturally be able to finish his homework then. However, things didn’t go completely as I expected. Under my high-handed means, though he didn’t watch TV or play games, he still didn’t change his attitude toward doing his homework. He just put his head on the desk and didn’t do it. As a result, when I checked it in the evening, the amount of homework he had was the same as what he had in the morning. Seeing this, I lost my patience utterly and then said to him angrily, “Tell me what you want. Are you ever going to do your homework? Give me a definite answer!” Under my repeated close questioning, he said, “Never mind: I can finish my homework.” I questioned him, “You can finish it? Think about how much homework you still have! Only several days remain before school starts. You will finish your homework when two Sundays come together.” This was my harshest criticism of him. During that time, I had his doing homework on my mind all day and because of this, I was exhausted physically and mentally. All of This Was Caused by the Position I had tried every possible method but there was nothing I could do about it. I thought inside: If things go on like this, not only will our relationship as father and son fall apart, but my daily life will be affected. This thing occupies my mind so much. In this state of helplessness, I could do nothing but come before God and pour out all my difficulties to Him, “O God! Now I feel very helpless. As for how to treat my son’s study, I don’t know what I should do. If I don’t discipline him, I fear he won’t study hard; if I do that, he’ll take no notice. What shall I do with him? God, I wish for You to guide me to understand which truths I should enter.” After this prayer and a period of time of seeking, one day when practicing spiritual devotion, I saw God’s words say, “If the adults always try to subdue the child in this way, if they’re always telling the child what to do, treating them like a doll in their hands, always carrying them around, clutching and cradling them, the child won’t want to listen.” “In a parent’s eyes, the parent is always a parent, and the child is always a child. Thus, the relationship between parent and child becomes very difficult to deal with, and it’s very hard for both sides to get along with each other. Precisely because a parent always assumes their place as…

Education-Child reading a book with mother

Christian Life: The Correct Way to Teach One’s Child and Be a Caring Mother

Lexin used to be one of these parents who put their children under a lot of pressure to study, and she often worried about her daughter’s education. But she has now changed the way she educates her child and is a genuinely caring mother, and she is now feeling closer and closer to her daughter. How has she done this?

salvation, the church, prayer

How to Overcome Exam Anxiety? Learn to Rely on God

By Xiao Huan, China The high school entrance examination in 2012 was the first turning point in my life. My family had high expectations for me, and I confidently thought that I could get into high school. But I failed, and became very depressed. After that, I was unable to get over the failure for a very long time. Afterward, my mother realized that I was living in mental pain every day, so she read some of God’s words to me, “I am well acquainted with the thoughts of man’s mind and the wishes of man’s heart: Who has never looked for a way out for themselves? Who has never thought of their own prospects? Yet even though man is possessed of a rich and prismatic intellect, who was able to predict that, following the ages, the present would turn out as it has? Is this really the fruit of your own subjective efforts? Is this the payment for your tireless industry? Is this the beautiful tableau envisaged by your mind? If I did not guide all mankind, who would be able to separate themselves from My arrangements and find another way out? Is it the thoughts and wishes of man that have brought him to today? Many people go their whole lives without having their wishes fulfilled. Is this really because of a fault in their thinking? Many people’s lives are filled with unexpected happiness and satisfaction. Is this really because they expect too little? Who of the whole of mankind is not cared for in the eyes of the Almighty? Who does not live in the midst of the Almighty’s predestination? Whose birth and death come from their own choices? Does man control his own fate?” Through God’s words I came to know that God orchestrates and arranges the fate of us humans. We cannot foresee what rough and bumpy paths we will walk and what setbacks we will experience. From the outside, it seems unfortunate that I failed my exams, but from God’s perspective it had His good intentions in it. Under the leadership of God’s words, I was able to obey God gradually and walk away from my pain. When I had no illusions about my future and fate and was willing to submit to God’s arrangements, I gained admittance to nursing school. My whole family was overjoyed. I felt that God was by my side and could help me at any time. I thanked God from the bottom of my heart. In the blink of an eye, five years of nursing school passed. I was going to face the second turning point in my life—the nurse certificate examinations. This certificate was particularly important to me, as it proved I’d studied nursing. Without it, I couldn’t do any jobs related to nursing, meaning my five years of studying would have been wasted. I particularly thought of my father, who worked from dawn to dusk to provide for my tuition, and how it would disappoint him so much if I couldn’t get the certificate. For the sake of my own future and face, and to not let my parents down, I desperately wanted to get the certificate, and therefore I was under great pressure. As the exam day approached, I got more and more nervous. Every day I spent hours imagining life after the exam: If I made it, I would look so great in the nurse’s uniform; but what if I failed? How would my family and friends see me? How would I survive in society without a certificate? … The nervousness before the exam almost suffocated me, so I went to talk to my mother. She said, “Your nervousness is caused by your ignorance of God’s sovereignty. All of our fates are subject to God’s sovereignty. All we can do is to submit to His orchestrations and arrangements.” Then she asked me to read a passage of God’s words, “The life of man is entirely in God’s hands. Where a person can go and where he cannot go, what duty he may perform, where he lives every day, where he will live during what years, what else he will go do and for how many years, and at what points he will change life direction—all these things have been appointed by God in advance” (“A Person Can Live Life With Dignity Only by Submitting to and Revering God”). It is so true. God has already predestined my fate. If being a nurse is not decreed by fate, then no matter how hard I work for it, I will never be able to succeed. I’m just a created being, so I should submit to the Creator’s orchestrations and arrangements. Afterward, my mother fellowshiped with me a lot, and I realized that whether I would have a bright future ahead of me or not would not be determined by the results of that exam, but by God’s arrangements. Therefore, I came before God and prayed, “O God, I’m about to take the nursing exam and I’m not sure if I can make it. I wish for you to guide me. If I don’t make it, please protect me so that I will not blame You and will still submit to Your sovereignty.” However, I still had butterflies in my stomach, so I told God about all my difficulties and whatever was in my heart. Afterward, I read a passage of God’s words, “Regardless of how many truths people understand, … no matter how great or small their stature is or what their personal environment is like, something that they cannot be without is looking to God and relying on God in all things; this is the greatest wisdom. … Sometimes, looking to God doesn’t mean asking God to do something using specific words, or asking Him for specific guidance or protection. Rather, it is that when people encounter some issue, they are able to call on Him sincerely. So, what is God doing there when people…

boys

Bye-bye, My Pals!

Sometime school is no longer a pure land but, like society, full of strife; so is my school. Every class has some bullies. They always bully weaker classmates apart from those who have special relationships with the head-teachers or the president. Also, I was often bullied. My neighbor, tall and strong, always troubled me and asked me to buy him something. If I didn’t do so, he would hit me with his partners. Because of these, I took care to deal with him for fear of being hit. Even though I am a Christian, when encountering things, I did not know how to seek God’s will or how to tell right from wrong, much less rely on God. Unconsciously, I fell into Satan’s temptations.   One day, when I was doing schoolwork, some bullies came to me, one of which was their head. He sat cross-legged beside me and said with a toothpick in his mouth, “Xiaoqiang, let’s be sworn brothers. Every now and then those boys pick a quarrel with you, as long as you hang out with us, I guarantee none dare make trouble for you anymore.” I thought to myself, “You guys are not good people and notorious for pugnacity. If hanging out with you, I will be dragged down to your level. I won’t do that.” So I declined, “We are classmates even if not sworn brothers. Now I have to review my lessons. Why don’t you just find someone else?” He said, “It’s for your own good. Think it over.” After his word, they left. Thereafter, they came to me many times. One of them said to me, “I see you’re honest and always bullied. That’s why I want you to join us. Don’t you see that if we don’t want to be bullied at school, parents have to visit (give gifts to) the president or the head-teachers frequently? Under the care of our head-teacher, none dare pick on you.” And their head said, “If you don’t want to be bullied, only when you are somebody at school does no one dare provoke you. If you don’t listen to us, you must help us with our homework. It’s up to you.” After school, I lying in bed in my dormitory, their words surfaced in my mind just like playing a movie. I thought: What they said makes sense. I am often bullied at school and my tall and strong neighbor always wants to find fault with me to hit me. Besides, I live in a poor family and my dad won’t give gifts to teachers. Alas! They’ve come to me several times. If I refuse again, will they also pick a quarrel with me? After a struggle, I decided to agree with them. I, hanging out with them at first, spent all my time eating, drinking and playing, except when I attended classes. I grudged spending my allowance given by my father but saved it to treat them to food and drink. They wouldn’t spend their money until mine was used up. I thought they just used me to treat them to dinner, but never thought that they began to call me to fight. One day, when I was doing my schoolwork, one of them ran to me and panted, “Our boss asks us to fight. Why are you still here? Hurry up! Let’s go!” Upon hearing this, I was stunned, thinking: Fight? I’ve never fought with anyone in my life. Why do we fight? What if we hurt someone? With this in mind, I was somewhat afraid and asked him, “Why do we fight? What if we beat someone to a wreck?” He answered, “I don’t know. Since our boss asks us to do so, let’s go. It’s impossible for us to beat others to be disabled.” With that, he dragged me away. When arriving there, I heard them saying, “Where are the two boys? Where are they? Where did they hide?” I thought: It’s better to not find them, that way we don’t have to gang up on them. If anything is to happen, then that will be trouble. At the point, the boss said indignantly, “Let’s go and have lunch first and then deal with this matter.” After the lunch, we went upstairs. All I heard was the boss bellowing, “Beat them! Beat hard!” After hearing this, I said to myself: I have no animosity against them. Why will I do that? But if I don’t do that, I’ll be ashamed and looked down on by my sworn brothers. Then one word, “Do anything for a friend,” popped into my head. Anyway, I am here, and I’ll just pretend to beat those two boys. Then walking toward the two boys, I pretended to kick them but actually missed. When I tried to do that again, the boss yelled, “Stop! Stop it!” And the two boys freaked out and rushed to escape. When they had gone, the boss asked me harshly, “Why didn’t you fight?” “Because you’ve already tangled with them,” I answered, “I couldn’t tell who was who and was afraid to beat the wrong guy.” The second I said this, the bell rang. We came back to the classroom and with that the boss said quickly, “Xiaoqiang, we are asked to go to our head-teacher’s office.” I thought: It’s over. Was the fight discovered? As I went into our head-teacher’s office, I caught sight of the two classmates who were beaten and their parents, as well as our president. At the moment, I was very nervous with my heart pounding, thinking: How will their parents treat me? What should I do? Why do I hang out with these bullies? Why did I help them fight? If I didn’t fight I wouldn’t encounter this matter. Thinking about this, I felt my heart sank. When I was aggrieved, a passage of God’s word that was fellowshiped about at a meeting in the past came to me, “Can someone’s environment have a big…

faith in God, be saved, the truth

A New Type of Parent-Child Relationship

In modern society, the relationships between many parents and their children have reached a deadlock; worse still, because many conflicts haven’t been resolved in time, there could even appear wide gaps between parents and children, which brings great pains to both sides. Once I was one of those miserable parents, and it was God’s words that bridged the gap between me and my son, making me know how to get along with him and build a new type of parent-child relationship. My son was 26 years old now. Grown man though he was, the way he did things worried me a lot. One day, my son returned home and said to me: “Mom, I want to run a store together with my classmate. But I have no money. Could I use the property ownership certificate as collateral to get a bank loan?” On hearing this, I thought: It’s hard to do business now. Probably you will lose money; the risk is too high. Then I flatly refused him: “You’d better forget it right now. I won’t agree. It’s not easy to run a business. You’d better go to work steadily; in that case, there is no risk and you will live easy and free.” Hearing this, he lost his temper, saying: “What can I do on such a low salary? Every time I want to do something, you never support me, but always want me to do according to your wishes. I don’t want to see you again.” Then he left angrily. Looking at his receding figure, I thought: I’m your mother. I’ve crossed more bridges than you’ve done miles of walking. So I’m sure I won’t be wrong. I’m doing this just for your own good, and you’ll understand sooner or later. Later he discussed with me about running a store several times, but I rejected him flatly. Finding it hard to communicate with me, he was so irritated that he didn’t go to work nor come home. One day he suddenly came back and again talked about the same thing. At that time, anger welled up inside me, and I said with impatience: “Why are you still talking about this? Why don’t you give up?” So saying, I refused him again. Then he stormed out, slamming the door behind him. After a while, he returned. Seeing this, I kept telling myself: Take it easy. I must keep myself from telling him off. Unexpectedly, during the meal, he brought up the topic of loan once again. Trying my best to refrain my anger, I said in a gentle voice: “Sweetheart, listen to me. We can’t take a risk.” Rejected by me again, he was furious, shouting at me: “You are always saying I cannot do this or cannot do that, so what exactly can I do?” After saying this, he slammed down his bowl and went out without turning back. At that moment, I couldn’t help bursting into tears, and felt wronged: I am doing this just for his own sake while he is always pitting himself against me. Why doesn’t he understand me? The more I thought, the more miserable I felt. So I went to my bedroom and prayed to God: “O God, why is it so hard to be a parent? I really don’t know how to deal with this matter. What should I do to communicate with my son normally?” After praying, I opened up the book of God’s words and read the following words: “Many might well believe in God, and in appearance they look very spiritual, but as how to treat their children, and as to how children are to treat their parents, they do not have a clue in their views and attitudes how to put the truth into practice in these cases, and what principles should be applied in treating these matters and dealing with them. In a parent’s eyes, the parent is always a parent, and the child is always a child. Thus, the relationship between parent and child becomes very difficult to deal with, and it’s very hard for both sides to get along with each other. Precisely because a parent always assumes their place as a parent and will not budge from it, keeping that status from which they will not come down, their child becomes at odds with them. A lot of things really result from the parent always assuming their place as such and taking themselves too seriously; they always see themselves as the parent, the elder: ‘Regardless of when, you won’t get escape from your mother’s (or father’s) control; you’ll still have to listen to me. You are my child. The fact of this doesn’t change, regardless of when.’ This viewpoint makes them miserable and wretched, and makes the child miserable and exhausted. Isn’t this the case? Is this not a manifestation that one doesn’t understand the truth? How is the truth to be practiced in this case? … Just be an ordinary person: Treat your children, treat those in your own family the same as you would an ordinary brother or sister. Although you have a responsibility, a fleshly relationship, nevertheless the position and perspective you should have is the same as with friends or ordinary brothers and sisters. That is, you can’t control, you can’t restrain your children, and always try to keep in command and have complete control over them. Let them make mistakes, let them say the wrong things, let them do childish and immature things, do stupid things. No matter what happens, sit down and calmly talk with them, communicate and seek. Don’t you think this attitude is good? Isn’t it right? So, what is being let go here? (Position and pride.) It is the letting go of the position and status of a parent, the airs of a parent, and all of the responsibility one thinks they should assume, everything that one thinks they should be doing as a parent; instead, it’s enough that one does the best…

The Secret of Teaching

I am a kindergarten teacher as well as a Christian. Every month our kindergarten would select excellent teachers according to parents’ evaluation of teachers’ comprehensive quality and children’s behavior at home. Those who were well considered would be trusted and respected by our headmaster, while those who were poorly thought of might be dismissed. In order to be elected an excellent teacher, I racked my brain to teach the children: When they cried, I used candies or toys to comfort them; when they fought, I set them apart and taught them to love each other; during the break, I took them to play on slide; I tried my best to make them happy in kindergarten and gave them little homework. After a whole day’s hard work, I often felt exhausted. However, no matter how hard I worked, I still didn’t earn the title of “Outstanding Teacher.” Every month the headmaster and parents would have a talk with me, which made me feel embarrassed and distressed. I thought: I never beat or scold the children but take care of them with so much patience that I often exhaust myself after a whole day’s work. However, I was never assessed as excellence, for they didn’t behave well at home. If things continue like this, I’ll certainly be fired. What can I do to improve my teaching? Then I asked those “outstanding” teachers for some advice. One of them told me that the key to earning the title of “Outstanding Teacher” was disciplining children. “Because they are too young to understand things, you’d better be strict with them rather than spoil them, otherwise they would think you are easy to deal with and show no respect to you. Only when you make them fear you and obey your words, can you win parents’ satisfaction, as well as headmaster’s respect and trust.” Hearing her words, I doubted in my heart: Doesn’t it mean that I should inflict corporal punishment on the children? Parents send their children to kindergarten to provide them with a better environment, not to make them suffer. Besides, I am a Christian; I can’t do as what she suggested. But then it occurred to me: Believing in God and teaching children are two different things. What she said is the actual situation. These children are so naughty that they always wore me out. So, in order to keep my job and earn the title of “Outstanding Teacher,” I determined to treat the children according to what that teacher said. Once, during the nap time, seeing a child whispering to another, I came to him, hauled him out of bed and punished him by keeping him standing with hands raising for half an hour. Another time I punished a child who didn’t finish his homework by making him stand in the corner, and said to other children, “Don’t play with him! Whoever doesn’t obey my words will be punished in the same way.” Once, as a child accidently broke off another one’s pencil, I ordered him to squat for thirty minutes. Specially trained by me, these children became much more obedient, to the extent that upon hearing my voice they would hurry back to their seats. Seeing the result of my “efforts,” I felt satisfied. Though parents still didn’t approve of my teaching, I comforted myself: Maybe it’s only because I just begin to teach children in this way, and the effect is not significant. Though parents’ evaluation of my work is not so high, it is at least better than before. As long as I persist, I’ll succeed in the end. And thus I planned to tighten the discipline. One day, a parent came to the kindergarten to inquire something about his child, “Ms Zhu, I felt there is something wrong with my son. Before, every time I sent him here, he felt happy. However, recently he often cried, unwilling to come. I don’t know what happened to him. Ms Zhu, what should I do?” After hearing the parent, I felt distressed and couldn’t help but think of scenes when I inflicted corporal punishment on the children, especially that time when I had the child who didn’t finish the homework standing in the corner and asked other children not to play with him. At that time he, lowering his head and clenching the edge of his garment, casted glances at me timidly. At this thought, I recalled my own experience at primary school: Once I was asked to stand out of the classroom by my teacher for failing to recite a text. Laughed at by my classmates like a clown, I was so sad, tears flowing freely down my cheeks. Since then, I was sick of that teacher and also afraid of him. At these thoughts, I began to regret meting out physical punishment to the children, for what I did actually made some of them afraid of going to school. What an awful teacher I was in their hearts! I was really a failure as a teacher. After that parent left, I asked myself: How should I teach these children in the future? Returning home, I thought that as I believed in God, I should rely on Him in all things. Then I prayed to God, speaking my difficulties to Him. Later, I read a passage of God’s word: “Maybe you are a president, or a scientist, a pastor, or an elder, but no matter how high your office, if you rely on your knowledge and ability in your undertakings, then you shall always be a failure, and shall always be bereft of the blessings of God” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind”). From God’s words, I came to know that if we rely on our ability in all things without having God in our hearts or believing His rule over all things, we will attain nothing and be bereft of His blessings. Then I thought: In the matter of teaching children, didn’t I rely on my…

What Should We Do If Our Children’s Academic Performance Doesn’t Meet Our Expectation

What Should We Do If Our Children’s Academic Performance Doesn’t Meet Our Expectation?

Nowadays, most parents care about their children’s academic performance very much. It’s very common for them to send their children to all kinds of tutoring centers or training classes at all costs to get excellent grades. Once the academic result doesn’t live up to parents’ expectation, they will get worked up. I have seen a post from a parent on a forum saying, “This term my daughter’s academic performance rapidly declined and her class ranking slipped all the way. On an impulse, I ranted and raved at her. Looking at her depressed face, I felt for her. I can understand she’s been under a lot of pressure. I wish I hadn’t placed too much importance on her results …” Why Do Parents Place so Much Importance on Children’s Results? What Would the Impact Be? From this post, I can feel his helplessness and great expectations of his daughter. Then why do most parents attach great importance to children’s academic achievements? They know they will give children a lot of pressure, and it will easily cause a rift between parents and children, but why they still have been putting pressure on children to get high scores? One day, I saw a paragraph of words on the Internet. It really hits the nail on the head when it reveals the crux of the problem. It is said, “Is hoping that their children can all become the cream of the crop the right viewpoint to have? People all hope that their children can be successful. Everyone hopes their children can go to a famous university, then take up advanced studies, earn a degree, and afterward stand out among others and gain a firm foothold in society. People all have this viewpoint and all want their children to pursue higher education because of the saying: ‘The worth of other pursuits is small, the study of books excels them all.’ Furthermore, competition in this modern society is especially intense. If they don’t have a university degree or have a firm foothold in society, making a living becomes a problem in the future. This is everybody’s thinking and point of view. That is, what you learn and what kind of educational background you can achieve will decide your livelihood, your future. In other words, people intend to rely on this thing to survive throughout life, and they see it as especially important. That’s why everyone sees receiving a high-level education and getting into a top university as the number one most important thing for their children” (“Knowing Yourself Requires Knowing Your Deep-rooted Thoughts and Views”). From these words we can see that, influenced by the view, “The worth of other pursuits is small, the study of books excels them all,” many parents think that if their kids can get an excellent academic performance in school, kids will go to a famous university, pick a nice major and get a good job. Thus, they will have a bright future and a good fate.  As a result, once kids’ results decline, parents are worried to death that their kids’ future will be affected. Naturally, the scores have become a top priority in parents’ eyes. They will get anxious and throw a fit when their kids disappoint their expectations, which harms kids’ mental and physical health seriously. From the cases that happened around us, or on the Internet as well as TV, we can see that many kids are dejected and feel down because of great pressure in study. Gradually, kids keep their parents at arm’s length and get started to rebel against them. What’s worse, some kids will probably commit suicide. Meanwhile, parents are often smitten by deep remorse because of kids’ frustration after they give kids a lecture. In fact, these chain phenomena are all terrible consequences brought about by the fact that people live according to the view, “The worth of other pursuits is small, the study of books excels them all”. Can Academic Results Really Decide One’s Future and Fate? Then another passage of word caught my eyes, “Some people choose a good major in college and end up finding a satisfactory job after graduation, making a triumphant first stride in the journey of their lives. Some people learn and master many different skills and yet never find a job that suits them or find their position, much less have a career; at the outset of their life journey they find themselves thwarted at every turn, beset by troubles, their prospects dismal and their lives uncertain. Some people apply themselves diligently to their studies, yet narrowly miss all their chances to receive a higher education, and seem fated never to achieve success, their very first aspiration in the journey of their lives dissolving into thin air. Not knowing whether the road ahead is smooth or rocky, they feel for the first time how full of variables human destiny is, and so regard life with hope and dread. Some people, despite not being very well educated, write books and achieve a measure of fame; some, though almost totally illiterate, make money in business and are thereby able to support themselves…. What occupation one chooses, how one makes a living: do people have any control over whether they make a good choice or a bad choice? Do they accord with their desires and decisions? Most people wish they could work less and earn more, not to toil in the sun and rain, dress well, glow and shine everywhere, tower above others, and bring honor to their ancestors. People’s desires are so perfect, but when people take their first steps in the journey of their lives, they gradually come to realize how imperfect human destiny is, and for the first time they truly grasp the fact that, though one can make bold plans for one’s future, though one may harbor audacious fantasies, no one has the ability or the power to realize his or her own dreams, no one is in a position to control his or…

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