“Having children is a way to ensure you will have someone to take care of you when you grow old,” say the folks from the older generation. Many parents hence gave their all to raise their children with the only hope that when they are old, they will be surrounded and taken care of by their children and grandchildren. However, in our current society, we are hearing totally different stories. A couple could have raised many children who grew up to become successful individuals. But where are these same children when their parents need them?
Although many have lamented that filial piety is becoming a rare trait these days, there is a young man at Tzu Chi Hospital who continues to care for his father so gently, attentively, and always with a smile on his face. He had been the sole caretaker during the entire period of his father’s hospital admission, for his mother had passed on when he was five years old.
The volunteers asked the young man how he is going to work with the daily trips to the hospital. The young man replied that his father had worked so hard for his whole life just to raise him, and now that his father had fallen ill, it is only right for him as a son to reciprocate and care for his father wholeheartedly. “I can always find a new job if I were to lose this current one. But I only have this one Father!” he added.
It is heart-warming to have witnessed such filial piety from the young man at the hospital. And in the same breath, many university students who have enrolled in Tzu Chi’s Humanistic enrichment courses are also displaying acts of kindness which are equally moving.
Many universities have now started to offer Tzu Chi’s Humanistic General Education courses. Students who have signed up for these courses are often very willing to participate in various volunteer work outside the regular curriculum. The volunteering work includes activities related to recycling, caring for elderly, and even assisting elderly in bathing. Through these volunteering opportunities, the students are exposed to the different circumstances of life. At the same time, they are also able to experience the compassion when helping others and discover the gentleness in them when they give and serve with humility. All these are done in the spirit of “Be willing to serve, be willing to bear.”
I say this often, “Believe that one can be selfless, and believe that others are capable of loving.” Love exists in each of our hearts. When one experiences or witnesses sufferings in life, the love within one’s heart will be re-ignited, allowing acts of giving to follow naturally. If we can collectively call upon the pure kindness within our hearts, serve the society with our best ability and channel the same kindness and ability to show gratitude to our parents for their love and sacrifices, then many acts of extreme self-harm can be avoided. One will not choose the path of suicide when facing obstacles in his/her relationship. Neither will one choose to harm himself/herself nor others when faced with academic hurdles or problems with inter-personal relationships.
My hope for the students is that they will be able to choose and embark on the right path in life and be the beacon of hope for their parents and the society at large. May we all try a little harder.
Here is a tip to re-ignite love in our heart: Be mindful of the sufferings around you and be prepared to extend your help. The sufferings you witness ought to remind you to count your blessings and naturally, your heart will be filled with more and more love day by day.
Translated by Goh Hui Jie