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Kaneko's story - Chapter 3 Building a Happy Home (continue)

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Stories about our Kobayashi-cho period appear in my husband's book A Youthful Diary.
He frequently wrote, "My wife came to the train station to meet me." On his return to town, he would call home and I would arrange to meet him when he arrived at Kamata Station. In the mornings, he would ride his bicycle to the station, so on the way home, he and I would take turns pushing the bicycle as we walked. It was about fifteen-minute walk.

I was always concerned that my husband was so exhausted. In fact, that was an indication of how poor his health was at the time. In the winter, he would break out in night sweats and in the morning his face would be bright red.

Mr Toda urged me to send off and greet my husband with a smile each day, and I believe that his advice also applies to the children. Boys are especially difficult because they tend to have a prickly sense of pride. Mr Toda advised, "However badly you may feel, wear a smile."

If, for some reason, it was not possible for one of the children to chant in the morning, I would say: "Dont' worry. I will chant for you."

Once, Takahiro planned to go to Ogasawara with his astronomy club to observe the stars. The date overlapped with a meetin gof Soka Gakkai's future division, and I told him he should attend the meeting. Takahiro insisted he couldn't back out of the trip. I consulted my husband, who advised: "Faith is for a lifetime and taking the long view, wouldn't it be better to let him go this time? What is most important, after all, is that he continues practicing."

It would be best if not only mothers but father also would take advantage of these opportunities to urge Children in the direction of aspire to te service of others. The "human revolution" spoken of in Soka Gakkai is one manifestation of this way of thinking. I have come to believe that the mother herself must also grow and develop. If she does not, then the children will not develop.

Did the Ikeda Family have house rules?

We did not have house rules as such, but we always stressed the following points:
1) Live for the welfare of others and of society
2) Relae honestly with all people.
3) Maintain your faith and conviction throughout life.
4) More important than winnng is not to be defeated.

That way, you will ultimately win in everything.

It is often said that children grow up watching their parents and imitating their behavior. It all comes down to what example the parents choose to set for their children.

The most important aspect of a father's role is to not disillusion the child but always to give him or her dreams and hope. My husband was always busy, but his foundness for the children was always apparent. When I talked about the children the stern expression on his face would soften, and he would break into a happy smile. When he would renturn ome so exhasuted that he could barely respond to me, suddenly he would ask about the children.

I would wonder if he had really been listening to what I just told him. However, I would let it pass.

He enjoyed playing with the children, whenever he had time, he would play games with them like sumo or scooping goldfish out of the water with a net.

The education of the children, however, was left mostly to me, although I consulted my husband about important decisions. I tried as much as possible not to trouble him with unnecessary details. He would say: "It is better to leave the edcuation of the children to their mother. No matter how much a mother scolds the children, they will not ebcome bitter or resentful. But if the father harasses and scolds them, their development will surely be warped." This is something he learned from Mr Toda.

My husband never became angry with the children. He would let them be as free as possible. He said he wanted them to grow up healthy, as straight and uprigt as bamboo, so they could make their own unique and valuable contributions to society. He wanted the children to become people who would be of service to society.

In the course of my husband travels, we would receive phone call from him. The boys would take turns chatting with their father about the kinds of souvenirs they wanted and other small talk. They used to their father away but they were lonely for him.

My husband send each of them letters and postcards from abroad, usually covered with lots of stamps. Still, I was extremely concerned about how the boys perceived their father. One day, when one of school teacher asked the children what they wanted to be when they grew up. All boys said without missing a beat, "I want to be like my father." Tears welled up in my eyes.

Since my children became adults, I have asked them to live with integrity and sincerity. All I have wanted is for them to live fully and to remain unshaken by the shallow, superficial things of this world; to lead lives based on profound principles. I wanted them to set their hearts on taking an honest path and to live full and meaningful lives. I am thankful that these hopes have been fulfilled.

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