Educate The Educators

Educate The EducatorsIn light of all this political palaver over the schools in Birmingham, it seems that there is a dire need for some education on both sides.

Sensei had this to say on the matter of education in general …

Education should not be based on or limited by a nationalist agenda.

Education must cultivate the wisdom to reject and resist violence in all its forms.

It must foster people who intuitively understand and know—in their mind, in their heart, with their entire being—the irreplaceable value of human beings and the natural world.

I believe such education embodies the timeless struggle of human civilization to create an unerring path to peace.

A Strong Influence

A Strong InfluenceNichiren 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.

Boys, Boys, Boys

Boys, Boys, BoysSpending time with my grandsons is blooming hard work, and absolutely brilliant at the same time. Talk about a barrel load of monkeys, even Oliver, the two year old, run on some form of perpetual motion engine. They just don’t stop, which is awful and wonderful at the same time.

I really don’t see enough of the boys. Partly because of the geographical separation and partly because as families, they are always doing something, going somewhere, busy, busy, busy. The trouble is, they don’t stop growing, maturing, learning, simply because I’m not around. So when I do get to see them, they are almost different, although lovely, little people.

So this morning was a real pleasure. Watching the boys interact with each other, while we watched Ice Age for the Nth time and blew up balloons for Rob’s 40th birthday party this evening, was great fun. Letting the balloons go flying around the room, scattering boys in all directions, caused much amusement, even though some of them got a bit soaked in spittle after a while.

The morning flew by and all the exertion was a bit too much for Ollie, who went off to bed for a nap. The east of us continued the fun until Charlotte and Rob returned and set about making lunch for the assembled throng. I’m making silent promises to myself to be back up here very soon. Jake will be 8 in a few days time, then it will be Christmas, so there are lots of reasons to return, it just takes a bit of arranging.

Young At Heart

YouthWe all strive to remain as young as possible, as long as possible, though aging disgracefully is something I am concentrating on too at times.

Youth has so many positives. The opportunity, the enthusiasm, the endless potential. Here are a few thoughts about youth in general, from people who can express themselves far better than I.

I hope you enjoy them …

Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind.
it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees
it is a matter of will, a quality of imagination, a vigour of the emotions
it is the freshness of the deep springs of life. Samuel Ullman (poet)

— + —

That we take pains to protect weapons while we expose children –
the future of the race – to peril is impermissible.
To ignore this absurdity will spell defeat for humanity.
We must not live to destroy.
We have the spiritual power to create peace and happiness. Daisaku Ikeda

— + —

Let me be more mother than the mother herself
in my love and defence of the child who is not flesh of my flesh.
Help me to make one of my children my most perfect poem
and leave within him or her my most melodious melody
from that day when my lips no longer sing. Gabriela Mistral (teacher)

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

It’s A Boy … Now What?

A Right Royal AnnouncementWith all the news frenzy surrounding the birth of a baby boy to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate and Wills to you and me, and wishing them all the very best for the future, I was reminded of this explanation, by Daisaku Ikeda, of a relevant parable from the Lotus Sutra.

Every child is precious.

The Lotus Sutra tells the parable of the three kinds of medicinal herbs and two kinds of trees. There are many different kinds of plants; their shape, size and nature come in myriad varieties. Some plants grow fast while others take time to mature. In this parable, however, the heavens rain upon all the plants equally, nurturing their growth. And the plants blossom and bear fruits according to their own unique character.

This parable symbolizes the Buddha’s vast compassion to nurture all living beings despite their differences. All children are different; each possesses his or her wonderful unique quality. We must pour upon all children our great love and compassion so that each child can blossom, true to his or her unique quality.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

Given that this heir to the throne will have every opportunity in life, it cannot be overstated how important it is that they are given the room to grow naturally, and allowed to remain a child as long as possible.

Suffer Not Little Children

Every Child Is PreciousListening to an article on Radio 4 this morning, attacking the tutoring of pre-school children, I was reminded of this explanation, by Daisaku Ikeda, of a relevant parable from the Lotus Sutra.

Every child is precious. The Lotus Sutra tells the parable of the three kinds of medicinal herbs and two kinds of trees. There are many different kinds of plants; their shape, size and nature come in myriad varieties. Some plants grow fast while others take time to mature. In this parable, however, the heavens rain upon all the plants equally, nurturing their growth. And the plants blossom and bear fruits according to their own unique character.

This parable symbolizes the Buddha’s vast compassion to nurture all living beings despite their differences. All children are different; each possesses his or her wonderful unique quality. We must pour upon all children our great love and compassion so that each child can blossom, true to his or her unique quality.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

Whilst we should nurture children’s’ growth, we should also give them all the opportunity to remain children as long as possible.

Long Overdue

Bristol Zoo - Always A Favourite With The BoysMy trip up to Bristol today was long overdue. Since early September there has been one less reason to go, and a whole bunch of reasons why I didn’t, but today was set in stone and even the much promised ice and snow wasn’t going to stop me from making the trip.

Leaving just before 7:00am, I was pleased to find that the heavy frost, forecast yesterday evening, had failed to materialise, so I was able to sneak off quietly without disturbing the slumbering neighbours. The roads were very quiet and I made good progress.

Having made the journey so many times over the past twelve months, it was rather strange to find myself back outside The Cottage knowing that the rules of engagement were now so different. It was great to see that although the old sash windows had gone, the new ones looked exactly the same, keeping the nature of the place perfectly.

After a quick coffee and a chat with B it was time to scoot off to see the family. As a last minute change to the schedule, I made my way to Hannah’s, where another coffee was waiting. When Hannah and Stanley were ready, we set off to Charlotte’s stopping to pick up croissants and pastries for breakfast.

There were no solid plans for the day, but as we ate breakfast Rob got word that Jake’s football match had been postponed due to a frozen pitch. With the whole family free to partake in whatever activities we decided upon, we plumped for a visit to Bristol Zoo, always a favourite with the boys.

It was really rather colder than expected walking round the grounds of the zoo, with many of the animals having the sense to stay inside. Feeling the chill, we did the complete tour of all the warmer houses, reptiles, insects, fish etc. only venturing out again to see the seals and penguins at feeding time and the gorillas, who were busy going back indoors after being fed.

It was a lovely day. Getting back to the cars, I think we were all feeling that glow, brought on by warmth, after being out in the cold just a little too long. Back at Hannah’s, and following yet another coffee, it was time to make tracks for home. A pretty perfect day, made all the better for being way too long overdue.

Who’s Next?

Children Are PreciousYesterday it was Stuart Hall, today it’s Max Clifford, taken into his local police station for questioning over allegations of sexual abuse. Who’s going to be next? Those of us who are normal, listen to these stories and wonder what on earth is wrong with these people.

Whether it’s a power trip, a deviancy or some form of mental illness, the real point is that children, some as young as eight, have potentially had their lives ruined by people who are, but arguably should no longer be, in positions of power and trust.

Daisaku Ikeda summed up the way children should be regarded and treated in order to blossom to their full potential, not to be stunted or damaged.

Every child is precious. The Lotus Sutra tells the parable of the three kinds of medicinal herbs and two kinds of trees. There are many different kinds of plants; their shape, size and nature come in myriad varieties.

Some plants grow fast while others take time to mature. In this parable, however, the heavens rain upon all the plants equally, nurturing their growth. And the plants blossom and bear fruits according to their own unique character.

This parable symbolizes the Buddha’s vast compassion to nurture all living beings despite their differences. All children are different; each possesses his or her wonderful unique quality. We must pour upon all children our great love and compassion so that each child can blossom, true to his or her unique quality.

Every Child

Every Child Is PreciousWith my thoughts being dominated by Charlotte, and her slow and painful recovery from the latest surgery, whilst remembering that she is but one of my three children, I was reminded of this explanation, by Daisaku Ikeda, of a relevant parable from the Lotus Sutra.

Every child is precious. The Lotus Sutra tells the parable of the three kinds of medicinal herbs and two kinds of trees. There are many different kinds of plants; their shape, size and nature come in myriad varieties. Some plants grow fast while others take time to mature. In this parable, however, the heavens rain upon all the plants equally, nurturing their growth. And the plants blossom and bear fruits according to their own unique character.

This parable symbolizes the Buddha’s vast compassion to nurture all living beings despite their differences. All children are different; each possesses his or her wonderful unique quality. We must pour upon all children our great love and compassion so that each child can blossom, true to his or her unique quality.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

Teacakes And Tenderness

Charlotte's CakesAnother early start and a drive up to Bristol to see Charlotte, Hannah and the rest of the gang this morning. I have to say that I really don’t like these dark mornings, but at least I did get to see a beautiful sunrise as I neared Bath, so a real silver lining to the clouds.

On a day of real highlights, the one that stood out for me, was just how well Charlotte looked and sounded. She’s getting her hair back now too, so by Christmas she hopes she won’t need her headscarf any more. All the boys, Jake, Stanley, Zach and particularly Oliver are growing so fast, and it was wonderful to get a cuddle from each of them.

While Rob, Jake and Zach went to Jake’s football training, Charlotte, Hannah, Oliver and I went to Coffee#1 in Keynsham, where it was reported that the teacakes were as big as your head. The reports were exaggerated, but not by much, they are huge. With a thick layer of real butter and strawberry jam, washed down by a caramel latte of industrial proportions, it was bye-bye to the diet for today.

Charlotte had booked a cake decoration course for the afternoon, so Hannah and I entertained the boys while Rob was working on the latest phase of the extension he’s building. By the time I was ready to set off for home I was pooped. How Charlotte and Rob cope with their three lads, along with all the oncology treatment is beyond me. All in all, a perfect day, so even though I am dog-tired, it was worth every ounce of energy expended.

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