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Daily Life

Parents Must Be Strong

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The following excerpt is Ikeda Sensei’s guidance on becoming strong parents who are not swayed by anything they encounter. It can be found in Happy Parents, Happy Kids, pp. 22–23.

I will never forget May 3, 1951. On this day, Josei Toda was inaugurated as the second Soka Gakkai president. At the end of the ceremony, he led a song with such vigor that a pitcher and glass on a nearby table smashed into each other and broke. President Toda instantly responded, observing: “The pitcher may claim, ‘I broke because I was hit by the glass cup,’ and the cup may say ‘I broke because I was hit by the pitcher.’ In fact, they broke because both inherently possess the tendency to break. What would have happened if this were a clash between a piece of cotton and a glass cup? They would never break. Faith is the same. People think they are unhappy because of other people, but that is wrong. If we become the cotton, others will never ‘break’ us. It is pointless to blame others. We must change our own destiny.” Using an incident we had all just witnessed, President Toda taught us in a natural and understandable way about the profundity of Buddhism and its philosophy for living. Child rearing is exactly the same. Our environment is not to blame. Most important is that parents first possess the strength not to be confounded or swayed by anything they encounter, and be like “cotton” and gently enwrap their children. This is what it means to be strong.

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There is no need to worry if your children face setbacks. As long as parents steadfastly believe in them and patiently nurture their strength, they will ultimately win no matter what may happen along the way. You can watch your lives unfold together.

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Everything differs based on our perspective. Do we see everything as more difficult because we have children, or do we appreciate them for the many experiences we gain from them? If we feel that dealing with our children is trying or stressful, that will be conveyed to them. This is not only unfortunate for the child but is the parents’ loss as well. A sense of mission to raise your children to be fine people, a spirit of appreciation at having been able to grow because of them—having these will make your interactions with your children richer and far more rewarding.

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