We live for a mere moment on this tiny blue dot. We struggle, first to merely breath, then to walk, communicate, and expand our awareness. Maybe we eventually create art, or join with other humans to build something that will last beyond our lifetimes. We socialize, and form bonds, and create families. Some of us are lucky enough to experience the most amazing miracle, having children. And during the whole process, we learn, we grow, we gather information about what has worked and what has not. In our brief stay here, we each find ways to understand and deal with our suffering, and try to increase our joy and happiness and that of those we touch. We experiment and learn from experience. If we are lucky, we learn from other people's mistakes instead of our own! Among the most important lessons we learn are those that help us to understand and deal with our suffering, to increase our capacity for joy, and to connect deeply with others in satisfying ways.
Like most people, my children are an invaluable part of this continual process; an endless cycle of discovery and sharing. Just as we learned from our parents, friends, and whatever else the universe threw at us, so we share with our children, and learn from them as well.
Our kids may learn some useful facts and skills in school, but the framework that they build their world view on, and the foundation they have for understanding everything in their life, begins at home from the moment they come in to our lives. Whether we intentionally teach them lessons, or unintentionally model behavior for them, early memories of us become the foundation for all future experience. We owe it to them, and to ourselves, to do the best we can.
In my case, I'm a Buddhist. As a philosophy of life, and as a daily practice, my intent is to understand and integrate the teachings of the Buddha into every aspect of my life. If washing the dishes can be seen as a sacred event, worthy of mindfulness, an opportunity to cultivate the paramitas and grow spiritually, then how could I possibly ignore that interacting with my children is also a sacred task? My natural desire for my children's happiness means that I want to share with them the knowledge and tools that I have gained from Buddhism, as it is a system of thought and an approach to life that I have great faith in for exactly that end; finding deep and lasting happiness i… … … …