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Encouragement

Deciding on the Future

Illustration by Jenny Meilihove / Getty Images

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. 75–77).

Respect your children’s creativity.

Children’s vision is directed toward the future, because it is filled with possibilities. Parents and teachers should not try to constrain that vision in the framework of their own ways of thinking, thereby crushing it. Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda often said that for youth to have dreams that are too big is only natural. Give appropriate advice based on life experience, but I truly hope you will respect your children’s initiative and creativity as much as you possibly can.

Become an unconditional ally to your children.

Children possess a “bud” they must nurture on their own. When a child finds a path in life, a parent must wholeheartedly support that decision, based of course on thorough discussion. The parent should not act hesitantly. If parents are too concerned with social expectations and fail to understand their children, then who will understand them? No matter what others say, it is crucial to be an unconditional ally to your children and give them your utmost support.

Discuss things well with your children.

Children ultimately have to create their own future. Having said that, it is essential that you discuss well with your children about the path they will take. I am sure that parents have their own thoughts about the matter, but so do their children. Parents should not dismiss their ideas offhandedly, simply because they are children, and push their own ideas upon them. Strive to keep discussing things with your children to ensure they will head in the best direction. What is crucial is to win in life.

Enabling our children to live with an adventurous heart.

What kind of dreams do we provide for our children? Do we enable them to live with imagination and an adventurous heart? Their future depends on these questions. The poet John Milton asserted that just as the morning shows what kind of day lies ahead, one’s childhood shows what kind of person one will grow to become. Indeed, childhood represents the morning of life. What kind of seeds do we plant, and what kind of light do we shower upon children during this crucial period? Depending on these elements, their lives can vary significantly. It is important that we plant seeds of courage and vision in children’s hearts and cultivate them with the sunlight of encouragement.

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