VietNamNet Bridge – Life skill training centers have been mushrooming in big cities - Hanoi and HCM City – to meet the increasingly high demand. However, where to go to practice life skills is really a headache for parents.
Attending “military semester” and going to temples
Parents nowadays tend to send their children to military camps or to temples on summer days, because they believe that the children can learn good things in the environment which requires strict disciplines.
Truc Lam Tay Thien Zen monastery is a well-known address among the parents who want to send their children to on summer days to learn Buddhist Law. Children here have to get up very early at 3 am, and then go to a hall where they practice meditation. The meditation finishes at 5 am, when children have breakfast. Children queue up with bowls on their hands, waiting for their time to choose vegetarian meals for themselves.
At 7.30 am, children begin the lessons about Buddhist. They are taught to look at things with love, to differentiate wrong and right things to keep away from evils. Lunches begin at 11.30 am every day. Before eating, children pray together and listen to the lessons about the origin of rice, potatoes, and the meaning of vegetarian meals.
In the afternoon, the children, who get used to the lifestyle in urban areas, are taught to do housework, such as cooking, washing dishes and preparing food. A day finishes by the repentance ceremony, where children recall their activities in the day.
Urban parents also like to bring their children to military camps in summer, hoping that the “iron discipline” can help re-educate the children. There, at the military camps, they have to live and work in accordance with timetables: getting up early, working hard, doing physical and thinking exercises. Many timid and shy boys have become stronger and braver after the training courses.
One thing cannot fit all
Phuong, a parent in Hanoi, related that last summer she decided to bring her son, a 6th grader, to a temple in Vinh Phuc province after she heard that the living environment at the temple can help make people calm and patient. However, after three days, she received a call from the boy, who implored her to take him back home.
“They boy looked pale and frightened which made me feel so sorry for him,” Phuong said. “He looked panic in the next days and always asked parents to sleep with him every night”.
She after realized that at the temple, the boy had to live in an atmosphere full of incense smoke, where he heard prayers all day long, could not watch TV and had no relative to talk with, therefore, he got frightened.
“I know my son does not have strong nerves. But, I thought he would have friends to make acquaintance with, and I believed that my son would live in a good environment, where he would be explained about moral philosophy. I could not imagine that these would frighten him,” Phuong said.
Ha and his wife in Ba Dinh district in Hanoi, decided to bring their son to a “military semester” organized by a private company. They hoped the strict military discipline would help re-educate the boy, who was lazy at learning and regularly fought with friends.
However, the boy remained unchanged after the 10-day training course. Especially, during the time spent at the military camp, he got many new friends, who were, like him, also brought there to be re-educated.
Le, a mother in Cau Dien town in Hanoi, related that she sent her daughter to a life skill practice center in Cau Giay district. The teacher of the girl, a university student, said in front of tens of boys and girls: “You do not need to try to learn hard to get much knowledge. You just need to have “soft skills” to be able to succeed in your lives”.
Le said that she then gave up the idea of sending the girl to the center after hearing the “advices” of the teacher.
It is clear that one thing could not fit all, and that one thing that is good for someone, could be dangerous for others.