Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Teach the Children?

I'm a Buddhist. Right, we've established that before. I'm finding that I'm leaning heavily toward the Mahayana branch, after reading up on all of them and weighing the "pull" each has for me. That's the one tugging the hardest. Cool.

My daughter, being 8, is at that very curious stage regarding beliefs. I bought a children's book for her called "Zen Shorts," containing three Zen stories within a framework of a larger tale (that of a panda who finds himself in the yard of three children, who each have a turn spending some alone time with him and learning a little about Zen Buddhism to boot). Apparently one of those tales really struck a chord with her.

Without going into huge detail, I'll say this: We had a rather unpleasant experience with a couple of strangers this weekend. I was recounting said experience to our housemate, and DD walked into the room. She looked at me, smiled a little, and said:

"I put her down hours ago. Why are you still carrying her?"

I was floored into silence. That's the final sentence in the story about the two monks (one old, one young) and the haughty young woman, who is carried across a stream by the older monk and refuses to acknowledge his help. Hours later the younger one, who's been fuming and steaming about the young woman the whole time, goes off to his elder, asking how he (the elder) could stand being treated that way. The elder answers with that sentence ::points up there::

I've always said to myself (not that anyone else would listen LOL) that I would teach her by example. But I guess a storybook can help, can't it?

(And ja, I explained that I wasn't *really* "carrying her," because I wasn't still upset about the way we had been treated. I was merely recounting the experience to our housemate, who hadn't realized that when I said "we pushed the car out of a ditch," I really MEANT we pushed the car out of a ditch. He thought we just got stuck in a driveway.)

Does anyone else have an example of how their children have learned about their beliefs from them, or from a book, or from--whatever? This one was just so obvious to me, I felt I needed to ask if it happens to anyone else. It must -- right?

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