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Daily Life

Building a Harmonious Family

Ikeda Sensei talks about the role parents play in building a harmonious family. This guidance can be found in Happy Parents, Happy Kids, pp. 97–99. 

These days we see so many cases of children who run away from home or become delinquent. Often, quarrels between parents seem to be a contributing factor. One thing I strongly wish to stress is that you should never quarrel about faith; this is absolutely unproductive. 

In our present world, one’s academic achievement counts for a great deal. Of course, faith has nothing to do with one’s academic background; but nevertheless, I hope that, based upon your children’s abilities, you will seriously consider the possibility of college or other types of higher education for them, so that they can fulfill their individual potential and aspirations. 

In addition, I hope you will raise your children to be people of justice and bequeath to them the treasure of faith. However, you should also warmly acknowledge their desire to pursue the sort of work they prefer after graduating from high school. Your understanding in and of itself will be an encouragement to them far into the future, and an important factor in enabling them to face life confidently. It is important that they accumulate good fortune. Good fortune is the foundation of happiness. I believe it is vital to teach children that faith is itself the most precious treasure one can have. 

Children may as yet appear to be unable to understand much, but they observe their parents closely and perceive a great deal. A warm, beautiful relationship between the parents will naturally foster humanity in the children, while on the other hand, family discord will leave scars on their young hearts.  

Moreover, you must show full respect for them as individual human beings. Otherwise, the shadows cast over their hearts may grow as the years pass, and can in time motivate them toward delinquent behavior. I think it is fine to be firm with children, but being too severe can drive them to rebel or withdraw into themselves. Parents may be friends to their children, but they should also ensure that children respect them. Both parents should never berate their child at once, for example, over grades or anything like that. When the mother scolds the children, the father should embrace them or when the father does the scolding, the mother should comfort them. I think this is important.  

When they reach junior high and senior high school age, children enter an extremely difficult period. It is especially important to extend to them your respect and understanding at this time. If you question them too persistently because they no longer talk to you very much, they will in all likelihood rebel. This is a time when they are striving to establish their spiritual independence and excessive fault finding can undermine their personal development. 

A parent’s wisdom—or lack of it—can exert a lifelong, indelible influence on the child. Parents should strive to tell their children what they need to hear in order to grow up properly. You should thoroughly understand that blind or doting affection alone will in no way insure a child’s future happiness.  

In any event, ordinary though it may be, I hope you will build an honest, harmonious, and happy family, illuminated by the greatness of the Gohonzon. 

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