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Kaneko Story - The smile award chpater 5 (Last Chapter)

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The title of this chapter comes from a comment made by Mr Ikeda: "If I were to give my wife a certificate of appreication, it would be in the form of a Smile Award." He said this in an interview with the couple in the 1991 New year's edition of Housewife's Companion.

His wife's smile has a special meaning for Mr Ikeda and his family. When they were first married, beside advising Mrs Ikeda on the importance of keeping a household accounts ledger, their mentor, Mr. Toda, gave her this clear instruction "However badly you may feel, wear a smile on your face when your husband leaves for work in the morning and when he returns in the evening."

Ever since their wedding, according to Mr Ikeda, his wife has faitfully kept the promise she made to Mr Toda to maintain a household ledger and to greet and send her off her husband with a smile. Whatever difficult situations he may have to face each day, that smile must surely give Mr Ikeda a sense of serenity and assurance when he leaves and returns home each day.

How many of us could continue smiling, even if instructed to do so by a respected teacher? We may keep it up for a few days. Or there may be some who can always smile on both seeing her husband off. But for a woman to smile on both seeing her husband off and welcoming him home every single day? That would surely be difficult, wouldn't it?

Mrs Ikeda has said that, when her children were young they seemed to have, "when Papa comes home, we mustn't try to make Mama pay attention to us." This may reflect her devotion to her husband.

This chapter includes excerpts from interviews with both Mr and Mrs Ikeda published in the 1990 and 1991 New year's issue of Housewife's Companion. We can see the dept of the family relationships they have built by looking at the conversations of this well-matched couple.

In buddism, the bow and arrow are a metaphor for the relationship between husband and wife, with the man as the arrow and the woman as the be bow. In Nichiren's words, "It is the power of the bow that determines the flight of the arrow, the might of the dragon that controls the movement of the clouds and the strenght of the wife that guides the actions of her husband (WND - I, 656)

Mrs Ikeda says, " My husband often refers to these metaphors." In modern life, sometimes the man is the bow and the woman is the arrow. For Many couples, both may be the arrows that fly out into society. In any case, every couple desires a happy and harmonious married life.

Mrs Ikeda reflects: "What I can do first and foremost is pray. I pray for my husband's safety and for the great success of his work. This I will do all my life.This will never change.

Perhaps Mrs Ikeda's single minded devotion and altruistic intentions set her apart. Their effect is undoubtedly felt most by her husband. She has surely put into practice for four family principles guiding the Ikeda household.

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