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Daily Life

Helping Your Child Share Their Feelings With Others

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Ikeda Sensei offers guidance on helping our children grow into compassionate individuals by leading by example and learning to understand their hearts. It can be found in Happy Parents, Happy Kids, pp. 71–72.

Children’s hearts are naturally pure until polluted by the muddy, egoistic society of adults. It takes genuine kindness to understand the pain of others, and we need to be strong, regardless of what we may face, if we are to help others. Those who can understand people’s hearts and take action on their behalf have true strength. Instilling such strength of heart is the greatest and most crucial education we can give our children at home, and it is through the parents’ way of life that children’s hearts and minds are tempered. In human society, the heart is what matters—not money, status, or fame. It is a world of the heart.

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We must pay attention to our children’s hearts and not become preoccupied with the surface of the problem. The world today is increasingly lacking in compassion. The components of the Japanese word for “compassion” mean “to impart joy” and “to relieve suffering.” Actually, the Sanskrit word for the former means “to lament.” In short, compassion is to feel the suffering of others and to lament and grieve along with them. The foundation of compassion is to feel others’ pain as though it were our own.

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Without the spirit of compassion, our society will come apart. This is why in the home, at school, and in our communities, we must work to foster in children both compassion and an open heart. No matter how much knowledge we have imparted to them, if children grow up to be coldhearted and mechanical, unable to feel anything even while seeing others in pain or suffering, then all will be wasted. Coldhearted people cannot savor the joys of life. Ultimately, they will become unhappy and exert a negative influence on those around them and on society.

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