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Daily Life

4 Keys to Family and Parenting

For decades, Ikeda Sensei has spoken with and offered advice to parents and children around the world about creating harmonious families. In Happy Parents Happy Kids, we take a look at his encouragement on family and parenting (pp. 7–11).

1) Children’s lives will be determined by how parents live.

“The love parents shower on young children will become sustenance for their whole lives. It’s fine just to be simple and honest. You may at times make mistakes, become overwhelmed, or lose your temper. What is most important, however, is to always make wholehearted effort. Children grow up watching their parents. It is not the parents’ words that children hear. No matter what wonderful things parents may say, if their words are not accompanied by action, children will never listen. Children’s lives will be determined by how parents live. The parents’ love and way of life will, like magma beneath the earth’s crust, form the innermost core of children’s heart and become a source of energy to support the rest of their lives.”

2) Resolve to multiply our love for our children.

“The more children we have, the more challenges we face interacting with each of them. In this regard, it is important to change our usual thinking. For example, if we have four children, instead of thinking we need to divide our affection into four parts, we might instead resolve to multiply it four times.”

3) When parents give their all, children respond in kind.

“Parents will do anything for their children’s sake. A parent’s love is vaster than the sky and deeper than the ocean. Parents’ feelings will definitely be communicated to children, though it may take time. Nichiren Daishonin states: “For example, when a chick pecks its egg from inside, not only does its mother peck likewise, but both peck at the same place. This is because their thoughts and feelings are responsive” (Gosho zenshu, p. 810). When parents do their very best, their children respond accordingly. The parents’ love and compassion will no doubt elicit a response in their children, bringing out from their lives the vibrant energy for growth.”

4) Pour love on our children.

“Their parents’ mere presence can give children great strength. I ask parents to pour love upon their children like the sun nurturing sunflowers. This is because people can live powerfully for the rest of their lives with the energy of the love they receive in their childhood.”

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