Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Message to Japanese Parents: Education Must Start at Home

Fathers should try to understand mothers, and mothers should also try to understand fathers. I deeply believe it is the harmony, peace and mutual love between husbands and wives that brings happiness and peace to the family and the society.

We want happiness in our families and communities, but we do not lead exemplary lives. If children have taken the wrong path these days (smoking, drinking, killing…) we adults are mostly responsible, we are not exemplary in our behavior either.For example, how can a father prevent his son from smoking if he smokes in front of him? Then the son, too, will start smoking by stealing cigarettes from his father’s pocket. If the father scolds him for smoking, the modern day child retorts, “Father, when you yourself are smoking, why do you object to my smoking?” Therefore, parents should never behave in a manner that will set a bad example for the children.Only when the father is good can he expect his son to be good. Is it possible for a father to keep his son at home when he himself roams about as he likes?

Nowadays, Japanese fathers do not try to discipline their children, and children do not listen to their mothers. The majority of Japanese parents are lenient; they accept anything their children do. This is the reason why Japan has become such a filthy nation. And ever since there are almost no spiritual activities in Japanese people daily lives; children have no chance to take the path of charitable services, faith in God and devotion.

Hence, the Japanese should tackle the questions of morality and ethics in their contemporary culture. I believe there is a need for education of the heart and the soul inJapan; an education that emphasizes ethical behavior, morality and character. The failure to integrate this aspect of education into the lives of young people is what makes it seem acceptable to snap, to shoplift, to kill, and to behave as if there are no standards or rules in the society.

These days, Japanese adults and children alike do not show any interest in reading spiritual and philosophical books (The Holy Bible, The Teaching of Buddha, Hojoki by Kamo-no-Chomei, Emile by Jean-Jacques Rousseau...). They read all sorts of trash (pornographic magazines, violent and sexual comics, “empty“ love stories…) and start on the wrong path in their childhood. If the tender saplings grow straight, the tree will also grow straight.

If the sapling grows crooked, then the tree will grow crooked. But, Japanese parents of today ignore this crucial notion.They fear to establish strict rules for the children, as they may run away from home and end their lives.

If Japanese parents really want their children to grow up to be responsible adults in the society, and if such children are to be fostered, then, they must first correct themselves. When a “bad son” defies the commands of his father, the mother must persuade him in a firm manner and say, “My dear son, it is not for you to disregard the commands of your father. Obey by any means.” Therefore, in all situations, it is the mother who advises the child. So, Japanese mothers of today should have pure thoughts and ideals, instead of watching Korean dramas and yearning for a “lover” that looks like “Yong-sama.”

It takes a character to lead a family. I have three children. When I have to punish them, to teach them the difference between good and bad, it is not pleasant. It always demands character, and I need the collaboration of their mother. Yet, he who loves well, punishes well.

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