Honest Kids

Have you ever been called out by your kid when you lied?

“Sorry, we couldn’t make your daughter’s dance recital, but my son had a soccer game.”

“No I didn’t, Daddy. You said that you didn’t want to watch bad dancing and hang around with crazy dance moms.”

“Thanks, son.”

Fox on bikeI just witnessed one of these reveals this morning. As some of you faithful readers know, we participate in Walk to School Wednesdays on the first Wednesday of every month. Since both of my sons now ride bikes, we trek the whole 20 minutes to school, passing a ton of cars about a block away from the school.

I used to get mad that parents would try to cheat the system by parking a block away just to get a free pencil and be qualified for the rumored end of the year prize, but now I bless these parents with lovingkindness.

When we got up to the woman who was handing out the confirmation slips, one of the boys who she was handing a slip to said, “What’s this for?”

“It’s for Walk to School Wednesdays. Because you walked to school, you can give it to your teacher and get a prize.”

“But I didn’t walk…” Unfortunately, the poor kid was shut up by his mother who quickly grabbed the ticket and pulled him away.

Walking home I realized that these parents are missing the whole point. The purpose of Walk to School Wednesday is not to get a free pencil that the teachers usually forget to hand out. It isn’t even to get a big prize at the end of the year.

The purpose of this program is to get exercise and spend some quality time with your children on a beautiful Spring morning. At the end of the year, even if my son got a free bike (which he won’t, since we attend public school in a bankrupt state), it would pale in comparison to seeing his face light up every week as he asks, “It’s Wednesday, Daddy. Can I ride my bike to school today?”

Debajyoti_Das / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

This confusion about what is the real prize reminds me of what someone said to me when I told them about my daily gratitude practice. “Yeah, I tried that Rhonda Byrne sh#t a few years ago, but my standard of living didn’t increase one bit.”

Although in The Magic, Rhonda Byrne does call gratitude “the money magnet,” the real purpose of gratitude is to make your life richer, not just your bank account. We always seem to be obsessed with that “rumored prize” at the end of the journey that may or may not exist instead of appreciating the gifts of the present.

After making one of these realizations, I usually look in the mirror and see the biggest hypocrite. Today was no exception. Although we have over 150 Bloggers for Peace publishing wonderful posts every month, I’ve been coveting the “rumored prize” at the end of the journey. “Why hasn’t peace gone viral? Why haven’t any of these amazing posts gotten Freshly Pressed? Why hasn’t Yoko Ono jumped on board?”


Today, I realized that World Peace might just be that “rumored prize” that may or may not exist. Maybe we need struggle and strife in our world to help us cultivate compassion, empathy, and lovingkindness. God knows that John Lennon, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and Mother Teresa did thousands of times more for peace than I have done, yet they never saw World Peace in their life times.

Today, my focus changes from the big prize to the daily practice. I may never see World Peace, but I will definitely experience peace of mind, peace in marriage, peaceful children, and, maybe, peace in my community. In fact, if my community is the blogosphere, I’ve already been blessed with a peaceful community. Thank you for being a part of that peace. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

This is a video that Gina at Professions for Peace shared with me that reminds me of the thousands of peacemakers who have been working tirelessly for peace before I was even born.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.

Do you find yourself coveting the “rumored prize” while missing the gift of the present? Why or why not? Please share.


75 comments on “Honest Kids

  1. Subhan Zein says:

    I may never see World Peace, but I will definitely experience peace of mind, peace in marriage, peaceful children, and, maybe, peace in my community.—Good statement, Kozo, a very important one

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks, Subhan. I am committed to maintaining as much peace in my daily life as possible. We’ll see how that works out in the end. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

      • Subhan Zein says:

        What is your real name? Is Kozo Hattori your real name? ‘Hattori’, seriously? When I was a kid, my brothers and I used to sit every Sunday to watch a famous Japanese TV Series called ‘Ninja Hattori’, it was one of our favorite TV programs, so that name of yours really has some deep meaning in my heart! LOL 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4I7_yRWBE4

      • Kozo Hattori says:

        Haha, yes, Subhan, my name is Kozo Hattori. Just like Hattori Hanzo, the famous ninja. We come from the same prefecture in Japan where Hattori Hanzo’s family went into hiding, so you never know…
        I will look for Ninja Hattori for my sons. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  2. Alison says:

    I used to covet the prize, and be confused about it like the person who read The Magic and thought it was all about getting materially richer.
    Now my focus is presence. Has been for a while, especially since having the deep recognition that nothing else exists. There’s space for a deep appreciation in presence, and a falling away of a belief in past or future. Just this. What is as it is. Sweet.
    Beautiful post Kozo. I am sad, a little, for those parents that miss the point of walking to school with their kids.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I love your paragraph on focusing on the present, Alison. “Just this. What is as it is. Sweet.” That is all that really exists. Thanks for the reminder. I figure if we all keep reminding each other, we will all find peace. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  3. Thank you dear Kozo for this post. We all get busted sometimes because we are not perfect. We are all learning. Even when I make mistakes, which is regularly btw, I try to point them out to my kids. My gosh, how those little chickens humble me on a daily basis. Isn’t that a part of learning?I wonder sometimes if my kids are teaching me more than I am teaching them.LOL! What is that saying?… it is not the destination that counts, but the magic that lies in the journey. The answer to your question,….hmm, I guess I try to enjoy the journey . hugs. Kim

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      There is so much magic in your journey, Kim, especially since you have a “fun car.” Yes, one day I will bow down to my sons and say, “Thank you for all you have taught me.” {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  4. Barbara says:

    The prize is right here right now. The better I get at remembering that, the better my life gets 🙂

  5. I am happy to be part of your Peace Community Kozo! Namaste _/l\_

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I’m grateful to have you as a peacemaker friend, Julianne. Maybe someday they will use our community as a model on how to be peaceful with others. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  6. Yes, I agree this blogspere realm is floating with peace in each of us here and sometimes it takes a while for great waves of peace to surface on land but it will!!! The school walk was great to read about, I was totally thinking of the prize till you explained the GIFT…the gift of our precious most valuable time being spent with each other… Awesomeness!!!!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Awesomeness! Love it, 1G4AW. Yes, I do believe that we are making waves of peace that will resonate around the world. I just get a bit impatient at times. Your presence here is a gift, and I am thankful. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  7. The coveted prize I would be looking for is peace of mind and I am slowly learning that it is not a prize handed to me, rather something I have to work on by myself. I love the Wednesday Walks stories and hope that the parents that are missing the pleasure of walking with their children will soon come to realize what a treasure those moments are.

    I know that even if right now you do not feel you’ve gone viral, you have Kozo…think Butterfly effect, I can feel it in my bones …patience is the key 🙂

    Hugs to you and to your beautiful family

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks, Anyes. I always think about your walks with your kids whenever I take my kids to school. Now I also get to enjoy watching my son play soccer. Each moment is a treasure.

      I agree that patience is the key. I’m working on patience everyday. Today, however, I don’t need patience because I realized how blessed I already am with a wonderful community of friends like you. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  8. There may never be peace on Earth but at least there’s an abundance of peace on/in the virtual Earth. All of you have shown me tremendous kindness. That has helped bring peace to my life.

  9. diannegray says:

    I haven’t read ‘The Magic’ Kozo, but I can imagine what it is about if it’s anything like ‘The Secret’. I think too many people read these books in the hope that they’ll become overnight millionaires, they’re impatient and when nothing happens they give up and call it a crock. It’s a really sad reflection on our society when people miss the point of what the gift actually is (like the parents looking for a prize on Walk to School Wednesday) and I absolutely love your analogy.

    The prize for me starts every morning when I wake up and can see – and it continues on when I can use my legs to walk through the house, when I can use my hands to call someone on the phone, go on the internet, eat nice food, drive a car, meet with friends, write a story, and on and on and on it goes. I know this sounds kinda silly, but I used to say this to my kids all the time.

    I’m just thankful every day for what I’ve got, because I might wake up one morning to find something (or everything) is gone and I’d never forgive myself for not appreciating everything to the fullest while I had the chance…

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      You just “get me.” You always seem to know exactly what I am thinking. Maybe being a good reader makes you such a good writer (note to self: read better). I love the way you start the morning. I thought you were going to mention that show gratitude for your ability to feel the huge albino praying mantis on your shoulder. 🙂
      I am so thankful for my ability to read and feel your words and love, Dianne. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  10. runningonsober says:

    A life well-lived with honesty, love, respect and awareness is perhaps the greatest prize of all, Kozo. To change the world, we must change ourselves. The ripples of skillful karma, those memories your children will cherish in years to come, the unknown lives touched by reading your posts… All encourage a satisfied mind and a peaceful soul. All are priceless prizes.

    I used to live for money and promotion and status and accolades. I even lived to escape life (and death). Now I am striving to live in the now, to be a kind person and to leave this world a little nicer than I found it. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it. Maybe the prize is the journey itself?

    Very grateful for your blog, Kozo. You are a joy.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks so much, RoS. Yes the prize is the journey itself. I think just the fact that we have decided to strive to be kind, authentic,and peaceful people is a gift. We are all works in progress, but I finally feel like my work makes a difference now. Thank you for being a companion on this wonderful journey to peace. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  11. 1EarthUnited says:

    Aren’t kids wonderful, they just call it like they see it. They’ll certainly keep us honest, lol. I’m glad you get to exercise with your kids. Those are the memories they keep forever. 😀
    As far as peace goes, just keep your positive mental attitude, I guarantee you we’ll see world peace in our lifetime. Why? Because I’m in love with life and my heart tells me so! ♥

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Love your last line, Maddy. I, too, am in love with life. My heart tells me that I am lucky to have amazing friends like you.
      Yes, making memories with children and people in general is what it is all about. Regardless of what Toy Story leads us to believe, lasting memories are made with people not toys. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  12. monadsamadhi says:

    Yup, life is the journey, not the destination.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I keep having to remind myself this all the time. Think how many times we have heard this saying, but then I catch myself focusing on the destination, the “rumored prize,” the pot of gold. I must have a very forgetful soul. haha. Thanks for reading and commenting. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  13. grandmalin says:

    When my daughter was little we didn’t call it telling lies, we called it telling ‘hard to believe stories’. She could tell some whoppers – and then I realized she had learned from the best. (Gawd, I don’t know why my kids are normal. lol)
    It’s a sad thing when we are so fascinated by the prize or the reward or the destination that we miss the joys involved in getting there. We also tend to push our kids to excel in every way possible, without considering how miserable the process might make them in the meantime. Being a good parent takes years of learning and posts like yours shed so much light on the process. ♥

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Haha, would love to hear some of your daughter’s “hard to believe stories.” Storytelling must run in the genes.
      I love the point about making our children miserable in the process. My wife reminds me of this everyday when she says, “Jett is only 5 years old.” I want him to be able to score goals, write novels, do the splits, and make perfect paper airplanes, but then I realize he is only 5. Yes, I have issues. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  14. Ian Gudger says:

    Love your post and I hope you don’t give up. You are doing so much good. Perhaps peace is something that lies underneath the fray of the world. Perhaps all the “anti-peace” junk that we see and hear never really has an impact on real peace — the kind of peace that can never be erased from our hearts. I am remembering all of the the stories i have heard about people going through some nasty situations, and they come out on the other side unscathed. Perhaps that’s because they never allowed their true peace to be touched. True peace gave them power over all of it.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Love the idea that peace lies underneath the fray, Ian. I believe that if we find true peace for ourselves, we will change the world. Better get to work on that true peace. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  15. Lovely post! It saddens me that the vast majority fail to “see” the intangible. It’s like volunteering only so you can add it at the bottom of your resume to make you “look” like “the better candidate”. Peace hasn’t gone viral because people find it boring, they want action, they want drama, they want something to talk about that stirs them up emotionally. What matters is that our community is strong and they will reach more and more people as we reveal the many facets of PEACE…eventually, it is bound to touch everyone…at least just a little bit, and that little bit is all that matters 🙂 Keep up the passion & keep smiling 🙂

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks PWP. Yes our community is strong, and I am grateful for that. I have to learn patience. I have not stopped smiling and my passion is as strong as ever, so I have faith that we will make a difference. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  16. electronicbaglady says:

    I got disillusioned some time back when I realised that all those great people didn’t manage to bring about peace, and so my own chances were limited. But then I thought finding my own peace would be pretty good, and hopefully one day I’ll manage 24 hours. Or even one whole hour while at work 🙂
    Baby steps…together I hope

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Baby steps is the way, EBL. Yes, together we will find peace one second at a time. I have some good days, but then I just lose it. Luckily the good days outnumber the bad ones. Thanks for being a baby peacemaker with me. {{{Hugs]}} kozo

  17. Amy says:

    Great post, and thank you for sharing the video – beautiful! And kudos, Kozo. It is the daily practice that sustains us, and sometimes I believe it may be all there is. Peace is already here – even as we do what we can to bring it forth. Many blessings and big hugs ~

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yes, Amy, the daily practice is all there is and peace is already here. I just need to continue the practice and stop forgetting. Thank you for the reminder, blessings, and hugs. Love, Kozo

  18. Geo Sans says:

    your post today

    reminded me

    of a couple of writers


    in the education realm

    Alfie Kohn

    has some interesting






    I was also reminded

    of dan pink’s talk

    about motivation


    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Wow, Geo Sans. I love that video. Have never seen Dan Pink before. Great animation/great insight. Love the idea of a transcendent purpose. If only we could be financially independent to just focus on making a contribution. haha. Thank you so much for your comments and contributions. I love learning new things in the comment section. And the Alphie Kohn is eye-opening. I will have to put this into practice. I always say, “Good job.” oops. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

      • Geo Sans says:

        the alphie kohn

        article really changed the way

        I respond

        to conversations


        thanks for always

        opening new channels

        of thought

        and conversation

  19. rarasaur says:

    Oh man, the stories I could tell. Where I work, honest children is something I see every day and it’s more often than not mortifying to the parents. It frustrates me, though. There are so many lies– the parents lie to me, they lie to their kids, they ask me to lie to their kids…. it’s crazy. You can’t sustain a positive relationship on so many lies. Besides, like you said, what are you teaching your kids?

    I always enjoy the honesty of your posts, Kozo. 🙂 Thanks for being such a beacon of peace in the blogosphere!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I’m so intrigued by your work life, Rara. I piece together what you say on your blog and in comments, and I get a big question mark. haha
      Yes, it is amazing how quickly parents are teaching their kids to lie. I remember telling lies as a kid and my parents didn’t call me on it, but I suspected that they knew I was lying. I was a teller of tall tales for many years after. I’m going to try to keep an honesty policy with my sons. We’ll see how long it lasts.
      Thanks for being an incredible inspiration for me, Rara. {{{hugs}}} kozo

  20. utesmile says:

    How wonderful it is that children are so honest, embarrasing paretns sometimes, that teaches them, I hear this – working in a school and I love the innocent children’s mind.
    I also don’t htink we will live to see world peace but we can work on ourselves and our community on that. That is a big step and we will make a difference!
    Love and peace Ute

  21. Rohan 7 Things says:

    Great post Kozo, and a great lesson! That’s just it, when we’re always focused on the “prize” whether there really is going to be one or not, we totally miss out on the minute to minute, day to day opportunities for love, peace, joy and laughter 🙂

    That’s the real prize, to be able to live in and enjoy the moment, peace and contentment in the present. No prize is worth more than that!

    Thanks for sharing, and lolled at the kids blowing your cover. Yup they’ll do that, innocent little things!

    Keep well, hugs 😉


    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yes, Rohan, the real prize is the present moment of peace, joy, and contentment. I have to constantly remind myself of that. Thank God for blogging, because it seems all I do is remind myself of some basic truths.
      Took me a while to figure out what “lolled” means, but I lolled when I figured it out. haha.
      {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  22. Athena Brady says:

    Hi Kozo, what a wonderful post yes that has happened to me too, my kids calling me out. Let me tell you something even scarier they continue to do it when they are grown too. Sometimes we need the inconsistencies in our life called out to us to enable us to change. But we are only human and sometimes tell white lies to stop people feeling hurt. As too your comment about Yoko Ono, I too was hoping she would join us and then as I thought this I had a thought. Sometimes we need to ask for what we want so I am going to find her on twitter and ask her to show her support. Sometimes miracles happen because you take the action to make them happen. if I make a fool of myself to wont be the first time but I will never know unless I try.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Great point, Athena. We need to be active if we want to make change. That is why I love the Sweet Honey in the Rock song, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest.” Thank you so much for taking up the torch and asking Yoko Ono on twitter. I have a big rock in my office that says, “Believe in Miracles.” Could be a sign. Thank you so much for being such an active promoter of peace, Athena. {{{hugs]}} kozo

  23. ” I am committed to maintaining as much peace in my daily life as possible.” That works! I’m working on a post (in my mind) on The Present Moment and You – addressing this very thing. Yes, we are so programmed to look at some final result. My “ZEN: Purpose” post got a bit long, but speaks to this programming. Aren’t kids a great corrective for our daily inconsistencies? Cheers! ☼ tomas 😀

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yes, Tomas, I got a lot of the ideas from your Zen posts, Alan Watts videos, and Krishnamurthi posts. I have a tendency to covet the future. I need to just be in the peaceful present. Can’t wait to read the Present Moment and You post. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  24. […] have been happy with what they were getting instead of looking for more wealth.  Just a thought. http://everydaygurus.com/2013/05/01/damn-kids/ http://everydaygurus.com/2013/04/29/monthly-peace-challenge-art-thou-peaceful/ 37.205054 […]

  25. Sunshine says:

    i remember a pastor speaking about this same issue…one day he got a phone call that his wife answered but he did not want to speak to the person so he told his wife to tell the person he was out. later, as he prepared his sermon for Sunday, it was about training children not to lie. oops. he realized his action with the phone call was done so automatically and without so much as a thought that it was like second nature. he didn’t realize what a hypocrite he was. great post, Kozo. sometimes we need reminders like this to make us start to reflect on our daily behaviors that are so automatic and habitual. love the message of Rhonda Byrne. ☼sunHUGS!!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I love that the pastor told this story. We are all works in progress. It reminds me of how Gandhi stopped eating sugar before telling children to stop eating sugar. Be the change you want to see in the world–in everything, to the smallest detail.
      Love your Grateful 4 practice, Sunshine. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      • Sunshine says:

        gosh, whatever became of Gandi’s children…did not realize he had any. oh, i am so thankful for your inspirational daily grateful listing, although, i must admit, there are/were a few times i got/am real lazy and totally forgot/forget about my list. posting our gratitude is a good way to stay focused on the real purpose in life. as they say in Hawaii, yes? mahalo & Spanish, gracias. haha. foreign language moment. 🙂

      • Kozo Hattori says:

        haha, I love the foreign language moment. Obrigado, Arigato, Terima Kasi! {{{hugs}}} Kozo

      • Sunshine says:

        peace out! ♥

  26. […] Honest Kids (everydaygurus.com) […]

  27. To Be Aware says:

    […] Honest Kids (everydaygurus.com) […]

  28. payment in spiritual currency 🙂

  29. […] Kozo at Everyday Gurus wrote something about ‘getting the point’. As I sat down typing a comment, I realised it was getting too long. I decided to write a short […]

  30. kasturika says:

    There are so many instances I could relate to you about how people just don’t get the point! Unfortunately, I’ve seen this happen in educational institutions. They’re supposed to teach us to take part in competitions, and in the process enrich our own life. It is the experience of it, the journey, so to speak, and perhaps most important of them all, to learn something. Doing something for the outcome is just being close minded… Oh I could go on and on… Glad you got the point though 🙂

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I got the point, Kasturika. I love your story about he school competition. Children are much too smart to be contained by school. {{{hugs}}} kozo

  31. […] Honest Kids (everydaygurus.com) […]

  32. corny but true, “be the change you want to see.” thank you for sharing your message of peace with us.

    i am wishing you peace of heart:)

  33. KM Huber says:

    This is one of the best posts on gratitude that I have read in a long time, my dear friend. Through your honesty, we are revealed every time, and in being revealed, we rejoice–together. For every heart that opened even wider in reading this post, the world became a bit more compassionate, a bit more peaceful. Moment by moment, my dear Kozo, we come closer to critical mass consciousness, wherein peace reigns. Thank you so much for all you do for all of us.


    • Kozo Hattori says:

      That is all I can ask for, Karne, becoming a “bit more compassionate, a bit more peaceful.” That is the practice. I’m so grateful to have you as a “practice partner.” {{{Hugs}}} kozo

  34. theINFP says:

    You’ve got to love the honesty of children 🙂

  35. Eileen says:

    Pride and image – enemies of peace
    Gratefull, as always, for the gifts you share with all of us.

  36. Professions for PEACE says:

    Another wonderful post Kozo! So honest, and so wise. Love it! And bless your heart for the mention and for passing along this amazing video. I’ve been away for a while but it’s so good to be back and visiting here and getting all uplifted and inspired. My favorite things!
    Hugs, Gina

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yay, Gina is back. I was thinking about emailing you, but I didn’t want to hound you since I already sent you an email earlier. Hope things are peaceful, joyful, and grateful in your part of the world. {{{Hugs]}} Kozo

      • Professions for PEACE says:

        Awww.. you can reach out to me ANYtime! But yes, I was away and not even signing on my computer (gasp!). Now I feel happy and healthy (and pain free at last) and am inspired by writers like you to share my own humble inspirations again. Love to you!

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