Nichiren said …
‘Mugwort that grows in the midst of hemp, or a snake that is put inside a tube, will as a matter of course become straight. Likewise, those who associate with people of good character will consequently become upright in heart, deed and word’.
If we apply this passage to various influences upon children, we may say that the environment surrounding children, particularly the behaviour of adults, has a great bearing on the way they develop.
Parents must set a good example for their children before nagging them to do, or not to do, this or that. They must strive to become a good, upright influence for their children, like the hemp or the tube are for the Mugwort or the snake.
It is also important for parents to encourage their children to be influenced by people of good character outside their own family circle, so that the children are guided in a more positive direction.
In this age of increasingly disenfranchised youth, the stronger the influence to become a person of good character, the better it will be for them, and for society as a whole.