BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: Finally, this summertime, some kids hang out, some get jobs, some go to camp, and some, if they are Buddhists from Thailand, become novice monks. Matthew Tangtrongwanit of Silver Spring, Maryland, age 12, signed up for three weeks as a novice, called a "nen": two meals a day, no video games or TV, but a serious introduction to his tradition and a total haircut. His mother was our guide for Matthew's two-day ordination ceremony.
SUDARAT TANGTRONG-WANIT: Matthew's going to be 12 in August. He told us about two months ago that he would love to become a nen.
A nen is like a little monk ... to learn about Buddhism. He had two reasons to become a nen. One is for religious purposes, and the second is because he wants to make Mommy and Daddy happy -- especially Mommy.
The abbot, because he's the oldest, was the first to cut all the children's hair. They shave the hair and the eyebrows so they don't have to worry about the way they look. They only worry about how to become good people.