(Minghui.org) The New Jersey Minghui School completed its 16th summer camp on August 18, 2023. Camp started on July 5 and ran for about seven weeks. The children had opportunities to learn public speaking, calligraphy, and sketching. They also had classes in arts and crafts, cooking, gardening, speed math, computer programming, and music, as well as swimming.

The children really enjoyed all that camp had to offer. Tianxin, who is seven years old, said, “I like arts and crafts because I love to create. It is really fun!”

Yang Rui loved swimming and arts and crafts. He also enjoyed their meals and said, The food is delicious!” En Ru liked all the activities at camp, while Zhi Yi said that she liked arts and crafts “because it was very creative and we made a lot of interesting items.”

The children also studied Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Dafa, and practiced Falun Dafa’s five exercises. One of them said, “Doing the exercises is hard but I still do it.” Adam, who is seven, enjoyed doing the fifth exercise, a meditation.

Zhi Yi, eight years old, said that he liked doing the second exercise, a standing meditation, and felt “energy circulating through my body.” He said that the second exercise was challenging because he could not put his arms down even if they were sore. He said, “I like challenges.”

The children ranged in age from five to 12, and everyone was able to benefit. Mr. Zhang, who taught computer programming, was in charge of the activities. He said, “The children were of different ages, so the teachers had to find a balance between the older ones and the younger ones. We tailored it so that the older children found it interesting while we kept the younger ones engaged.”

Young Dafa practitioners doing the Falun Dafa exercises


Communicating and Fostering Growth

Mr. Zhang said, “Some of the children participated last year, and we noticed that they had grown during the year. Last year the children who attended camp did not know when they were doing something wrong. Those that returned this year were able to recognise and correct their mistakes.”

Mr. Zhang believes that it is very important to explain things clearly to the children. When a child vandalised a public sign, Mr. Zhang was trying to find the “culprit” and gave the children chances to admit their wrongdoing. He communicated with them, explaining how important the sign was and how people had to design, buy, and hang it up. He wanted them to understand the seriousness of not doing it again.

Mr. Zhang said, “The child thought it was funny when he vandalised the sign. I spoke to him like a grown-up, not a child, and told him to think about what impact his action could have on others. As a Falun Dafa practitioner, we need to be more considerate of others. I asked him how other people would feel and react to what he had done. He learned right from wrong and decided for himself what to do next.”


Learning to Be Self-Disciplined and a Better Person

Minghui School teaches children how to be good in every aspect of their lives. Ms. Wang, who gave cooking classes and calligraphy, said, “It is of the utmost importance to lay a good foundation at a young age and to teach them how to be better people. Teaching them values like honesty and humility, how to be self-disciplined, and how to discern right from wrong is important. These children are very pure and can absorb these values better at a younger age.

“It is also important for them to have a daily routine. Children are still playful, so there should be a time for play, but there should also be a time for study and a time to eat. This should become a routine, so they can learn to manage themselves better. They will have the concept of time when they grow up. The concept of time is very important and will affect every aspect of their lives when they grow up.”


Traditional Values Are the Foundation of a Good Education

Even though society is changing rapidly, the core of a good education remains the same. Mr. Zhang said, “Traditional values are the basis of a good education. Minghui School has always emphasised these and is constantly teaching children traditional concepts. A sound building needs a good foundation. Only with a strong foundation can children discern what to keep and what to relinquish as they grow up.”

It is inevitable for Chinese families to encounter differences in parenting compared to those in the West. In Mr. Zhang’s opinion, “The Western way of educating children is very different from the Eastern way. Chinese parents are more likely to let children have their own way in comparison with Western parents. This may make children less able to adapt to reality. Western parents encourage their children to be more independent, but they may not have the concept of ‘filial piety.’ Some Western children may also leave their parents when they get older.”

Mr. Zhang believes that there should be a balance between the Eastern and Western ways of parenting and that each should learn the positive aspects of the other. “We can stand from a higher perspective in regard to education. For example, Christianity is the cornerstone of Western culture, whereas, Confucianism is the cornerstone of Eastern culture. There are no conflicts between the two, and a child will benefit from both.”


Thoughts for Parents

Family is where children learn their first lessons, and parents are their first teachers. This is extremely important in nurturing a child. Mr. Zhang said that parents should let children solve their own problems. He said, “Children need to have a good environment as they grow. Parents should not satisfy their demands at all times. They need to work issues out for themselves and achieve a goal. For example, some children might cry because things did not go their way and parents oftentimes will give in. This does not solve the problem. The key is to use this as a learning opportunity so children can grow. Children need to be able to solve their own problems so they can grow to be healthy adults.

“Children are exposed to a lot of things nowadays. There is a huge amount of information on the internet and children might find it fun and interesting. They will begin to mimic what they see online. It is important for parents and teachers to guide them and tell them what they can or cannot do.”

Ms. You, who is in charge of general affairs, also offered some advice. She said, “Children may behave differently when their parents aren’t there. Especially in families with fewer siblings, parents may not know how a child is communicating with his peers, so it is important to socialize with other parents and children.”

Ms. Luo, the organizer of the Minghui School, said, “All the children are corrected from the beginning by studying the Fa, doing the exercises, and sending righteous thoughts. We firmly adhere to the school’s principles and teach children to be polite, to be respectful of others, to be respectful of their elders, to be considerate of others, to be kind, and to take responsibility for everything they do.”

Sydney: Students, Teachers and Parents from Minghui School Wish Master a Happy Chinese New Year