By Kojo Kakihara
I have a three-year-old daughter. Since this September, she has started to go to kindergarten. Before I knew it, she began to use Japanese and English smoothly, ask many questions, responds like an adult to my jokes and to communicate properly.
These days, she chooses what clothes to wear after waking up. She seems to do everything by herself. Sometimes she surprises or impresses me, like when she gave me a half of the snack that she was eating. Although I’ve thought of her like a small baby to me, the growth of children is faster than I think. Since my son was born, she began to act like an older sister. This growing up makes me very happy.
However, there are some things I have trouble dealing with as a father. If I tell my daughter to do something a certain way, I have to do the same thing myself.
For example, when I am in hurry and I do not place my shoes properly at an entrance, my daughter puts them in order and tells me, “I placed your shoes properly.” She always arranges them so that they mirror each other, but I do not know why.
She says “Itadakimasu” with folded hands not only when she has a meal but also for snacks. It makes me feel ashamed because I do not say “Itadakimasu” when I have only a snack. My daughter does everything I told her to, but I do not always do the same things myself.
Our eyes are open to the outside but we do not look at ourselves. Therefore, we are very aware of other people but careless ourselves. Although she is still a young child, she is my precious “teacher” and tells me many things and shows me my faults.
There is a phrase below:
All people you will meet in your life are my “teachers” at heart.
Including myself, precious family and friends who passed away are “teachers” who taught us that we are living a valuable life that will be gone one day. Babies who need our care and children who tend to rebel are “teachers” who remind me of the trouble I caused my parents. However, at the same time, they remind me of the joy of life.
Nature’s vast scenery, such as the sun setting into the sea are “teachers” telling us about the beauty of this world. Homeless peoples’ disgruntled faces saying “That’s all?” when I give only a dollar, are “teachers” showing me the limit of my mercy.
An unfriendly clerk in a restaurant is a “teacher” in patience (it is hard to think in that way though). A coin machine in casino which does not let me win is a “teacher” of greed (I cannot absolutely think like that though).
All our lives, we are surrounded by “teachers”.