By Han Bin, Germany
“Your child is diagnosed with juvenile depression. Now she should stop going to school and recuperate for a time.” The doctor’s words stupefied me like a slap in the face. Looking at Xiaoyu nestling in my arms, I suddenly felt guilty and sad, tears of remorse rolling down my face …
When I was young, to reduce the burden of my family, I stepped into society to work after graduating from middle school. During many years of struggle, I had been looked down upon and eaten a bellyful of pain because of my poor education. So after I got married and gave birth to my daughter Xiaoyu, I secretly resolved in my heart: I must let my child study more so that she can go to a top university. Only with knowledge and a degree can she have a future and be looked up to by others. I must not let her live her life like me.
Xiaoyu was very obedient and sensible when she was little and my relatives and friends all praised her for being clever, for which I had higher expectations of her. When Xiaoyu was just four years old, I began to send her to the nursery school. At that time, I ran a shop and every day I didn’t close it until very late. But no matter how busy and tired I was, I didn’t relax Xiaoyu’s study. Apart from supervising her finishing the homework, I would give her some extra exercises. Xiaoyu often said, “Mom, I’ve finished my homework. Could I play for a while?” Seeing her longing eyes, I agreed to her request. But just after a short while, I would ask her to prepare her lessons for the next day. Xiaoyu was also very competitive and she did very well in study from nursery to primary school. Every time when I saw those awards on the wall, I thought, “If Xiaoyu continues like this, she will certainly test into a good university and have good prospects.”
In a blink of an eye, Xiaoyu graduated from primary school. In order to send her to the best middle school in our city, my husband and I racked our brains to pull strings and give gifts. Finally, my heartfelt wish came true when my daughter entered the experimental middle school, which was the best in teaching quality and superior in all aspects.
Because of the school’s strict teaching and teachers’ high demands of students, my child had to study very late every day, which was what I was hoping. I thought to myself, “Having received such good education, Xiaoyu will certainly test into a good university.” I often encouraged my daughter, saying, “Xiaoyu, you must study hard and be somebody in the future.”
But contrary to my expectations, children of the wealthy families in Xiaoyu’s class, who didn’t pay attention to study but compared with others in dining and clothing, greatly influenced Xiaoyu both in her life and study. In the face of such a situation, I was so worried about her study that I often went to her school to keep track of her study and educate her. Once, my daughter said one of her roommates only ate snacks without having any meal for a week. From her words, I knew she wanted more pocket money and then I angrily scolded her, “You haven’t improved your grades but have learned to ask for money in a roundabout way. …” After a severe scolding, I continued to say, “Xiaoyu, you must study hard, and can’t let yourself be distracted. You must make a study plan for yourself and lay a firm foundation in middle school. Our hope rests on you.” Scolded and pressured by me, my daughter said in tears, “Mom, I can’t stand you.” Gradually, she spoke heart-to-heart with me less and less and became distant toward me.
Later, I found Xiaoyu became idle in study and did less homework, and always looked very tired. I thought, “Maybe it results from the high pressure of her study. After all, Xiaoyu studies very late every day. Does she lack energy? I need to give her more nutrition.” So every time she returned home from school, I would cook her favorite food and buy various kinds of brain food for her. But when it was time to go back to school, she always dilly-dallied and was unwilling to leave. Seeing this, I felt anxious and nagged her, “Xiaoyu, be obedient. Remember that you are the hope of our family. You must study hard. Only by testing into university can you have a bright future …” Before I finished my words, Xiaoyu stormed off without a backward glance.
Xiaoyu’s exam result of the first midterm was quite contrary to my expectations. Among the seventy-two students in the whole class, she was actually ranked twenty-first. The more I looked at her report card, the more I felt annoyed. Then I shouted at her, “Xiaoyu, you exasperate me! Look at your academic performance. With such grades, you can’t enter the key high school, much less the university. What future will you have? Are you worthy of us? To send you to this school, your dad and I have spent much money. Everything we do is for you and we don’t hope you live your life like us. Where is your conscience?” Faced with my scolding, Xiaoyu stood there, sniffling quietly without saying any word. And then she locked herself in her room and even didn’t have dinner. Seeing her like this, I felt very sad. But then I thought, “What I do is for your own good. How can you have a future without working hard for it now? Just as the saying goes, ‘The worth of other pursuits is small, the study of books excels them all,’ ‘No pain, no gain.’ You should understand me.”
When Xiaoyu was in eighth grade, one time, I went to attend the parent-teacher conference. After the conference, the head teacher talked with me alone about Xiaoyu’s recent behavior, saying, “Xiaoyu has been in a poor mental state. She often dozes off in class and can’t finish the homework on time. What’s more, she seldom communicates with her classmates. So you’d better take her to see a doctor.” Hearing this, I felt very anxious, thinking, “Why did my daughter become like this?” Then I hurried to take her to the hospital for an examination. Unexpectedly, my daughter was diagnosed with juvenile depression and the doctor said she needed to stop going to school to recuperate. Such a result was difficult for me to accept. I felt stupefied, as if I was hit by someone with a club. I asked the doctor, puzzled, “Doctor, why did my daughter become like this? She is now in middle school, and how could she stop going to school?” The doctor replied, “Calm down, please. Actually, the child’s illness results from great pressure. So at present, Xiaoyu needs to stop going to school to recuperate. Considering Xiaoyu’s illness, she still needs to be under observation.” Looking at Xiaoyu nestling in my arms, I suddenly felt guilty and sad, tears of remorse rolling down my face. I stroked Xiaoyu’s head, saying, “It’s all my fault. I haven’t taken good care of you, nor considered your feelings. All I know is to urge you to study hard. But you have to understand me. All I do is for your sake, so that you’ll have a good future.”
To let my daughter get better as soon as possible and not put off her study, every day I took good care of her on the doctor’s advice. When Xiaoyu got slightly better, I began to think, “These days, Xiaoyu has missed many classes. If she goes to school after completely recovering her health, she will hardly keep up with her studies, and then she won’t be able to test into a key university. For her prospects, I can’t give up her study.” Then I engaged a tutor without consulting my daughter. That day, when the tutor came, Xiaoyu had a strong reaction and shouted at me, “Mom, why don’t you confer with me in advance? Since the doctor has asked me to have a good rest, why do you still compel me? I don’t want to study anything now.” I angrily said, “Xiaoyu, I do this for your own good. Even if you don’t show consideration for us, you should think of yourself. You have missed many classes, yet how come you don’t feel anxious at all? Do you want to live a hard and tiring life and be looked down upon by others like us? You can’t be unmotivated.” Xiaoyu impatiently said, “I’m very tired now. I just want some time for myself. Since I was little, I have been hearing your endless nagging, ‘Work hard. Study hard.’ Mom, I’m really very tired.” Hearing her words, I felt very wronged, tears flowing down. I thought, “I do this all for your good, hoping that you can lead a better life, yet you don’t understand me at all.” At that time, faced with my sick daughter, I really didn’t know what to do.
In September of the same year, my husband and I accepted God’s kingdom gospel. I often attended gatherings and prayed in front of God about my predicament. Later, I saw in God’s words: “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. … 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.”
God’s words accurately revealed my condition: Having not realized my dream of living a decent and honorable life and towering above others, I pinned my hope onto my daughter, hoping that she could rise above others and bring glory to our ancestors. So I continually put pressure on her. For my child’s future, I racked my brains and took great pains. All along, I personally thought I loved my daughter and cared for her future; but actually, I just wanted to satisfy my own selfish desires, hoping that my daughter would finish the dream I couldn’t fulfill myself and make up for my regrets. Without God’s revelation, I wouldn’t have known that my love for my daughter was mixed with my own selfish desires.
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