My daughter loves merit and is afraid of sin but she has no sense of responsibility. Will she gain merit from behaving this way? How should we guide her so that she realizes what she is doing?

My daughter loves merit and is afraid of sin. She wakes up in the morning to do the morning chanting. Then she sleeps almost until noon. In the evening, she does the evening chanting and then watches TV until late at night. She has no sense of responsibility and relies on her parents to take care of her although she is a full grown adult. Will she gain merit from behaving this way? How should we guide her so that she realizes what she is doing? https://dmc.tv/a3542

Dhamma Articles > Question and Answer for Life
[ Feb 12th, 2005 ] - [ read : 13678 ]


Question:
My daughter loves merit and is afraid of sin. She wakes up in the morning to do the morning chanting. Then she sleeps almost until noon. In the evening, she does the evening chanting and then watches TV until late at night. She has no sense of responsibility and relies on her parents to take care of her although she is a full grown adult. Will she gain merit from behaving this way? How should we guide her so that she realizes what she is doing?

 

Answer
by Venerable Dhattajeevo Bhikku
 
At first, this may sound like it is your daughter’s fault. But it is not. It is really your own fault since you did not raise her properly. You have spoiled your daughter from the time she was young. You did not teach her to be as responsible as she should have been. You did not teach her to be responsible and to help herself. You did not teach her to have discipline in timing, money, and work. All the mistakes you wrote about are your fault. Your daughter has these habits as a result of the mistakes you made.

 
By saying this, I don’t mean to aggravate you. But you have to realize first that it is your fault for not knowing that a person needs to have two things. Having knowledge and the ability to support oneself is the first thing. It is also called intellect.

 
The second thing is having goodness in oneself. At the very least, one must not be troublesome, not miss any precepts, and not take advantage of someone else. This is called goodness.

 
You cannot distinguish a person’s intellect from their goodness. Therefore, you raised your daughter negligently. Today, you must suffer the consequences.  Your daughter may copy some goodness from you. For example, you are like what you mentioned. Your daughter copied the chanting you do. That is good. But the chanting that your daughter does is chanting without knowledge of the translation or of any understanding of its meaning. She thinks she receives merit from chanting, but she does not even know the meaning, the purpose, or its translation. Therefore, the chanting she did wasn’t really anything, or maybe it’s just a speech. If you ask whether there is merit or not, there probably is no merit.

 
Even you misunderstood that doing this was the correct way to chant. Therefore, it isn’t definite that her chanting gains her merit. You said that she loves merit but is afraid of sin. I am not certain. But okay, she probably has some kindness in her mind, such as not killing ants or termites. However, within that kindness, is there something else hidden? The kindness could just be an act, but at a deeper level, she is just too lazy to work. She claims that doing this is bad or doing that is bad. So, she ends up not do anything.

 
Therefore, I must tell you that today you are facing the retribution of being negligent in raising your daughter. You are facing the retribution of ignoring the correct way to raise a child. You may go to temple. But you do not practice dhamma or meditation. You merely follow the traditions. You did not go to the temple to study dhamma. Therefore, you could not raise your daughter properly.

 
What is raising a child properly? I must tell you that at the basic level, it is knowing that being a good person is having a sense of responsibility. What must one be responsible for, in order to be a good person?

 
1. One must be responsible to oneself, as a human being, by observing the 5 precepts.

 
2. One must be responsible economically or for one’s well-being by working. Besides working or having a career, one must not be addicted to the path to ruins. What is the severe path to ruin that people cannot see? It is laziness. Being lazy in work is the severe path to ruin in humans. Why? It is because humans still have to eat. When one is too lazy to work but still has to eat, what will one do? One will take advantage of others. One is human, but he acts like a parasitic plant, a pimp, or a leech drinking someone’s blood. Being responsible for self-economy is the second goodness.

 
The third characteristic of being good is being responsible towards society. What is that? One must not allow partiality to occur. In the house you live in, do not allow unfairness to happen in that house. Do not allow partiality to happen in the town, district, province, or country you live in. When you see bias happen, you must seek a way to correct it.

 
From the time your daughter was young, you could not see that a good person must have at least these three responsibilities. I am not sure if you did not know. How do you treat your parents or the grandparents of your child? If you were a good example in the way you treated your parents, such as treating them with respect, taking good care of them, or serving them well, your child would get the right example from you. From what you said, she did not have those characteristics.  Is it possible that you were not responsible towards your parents or your work as you should have been?

 
Nevertheless, today you get to start thinking. Let’s resolve the problem. There are two basics in correcting a person in any situation.

Being in control of time

Being in control of money

 
If you can control these two things, you can correct your daughter’s habits. How do you correct or control time management? You control the time for eating, sleeping, waking up, and working. You must control that. If your daughter does not follow what you say, there must be some punishment.

 
The second thing is to have discipline in money. No work equals no money. If she protests, you can handle it appropriately. But setting up discipline in time and money is equivalent to setting up the basic responsibility in oneself, responsibility economically, and responsibility towards society. You should quickly set the discipline regarding time. You should set up your own time management, too. Let your child join in this time management. Then you can correct her habits. Otherwise, even angels cannot help you.



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