Peace is Every Child

peacefox7-year-old Fox wanted a history book for his daily reading, so I let him loose in my bookshelves. First, he grabbed my Bible.

“Is this a history book?” he asked.

“Yeah, it’s a kind of history book,” I replied.

“Can I have it?” he asked thumbing the vinyl cover.

“Of course,” I said.

Then he grabbed A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr., but it had too many big words for him.

“Here is a history about a Vietnamese monk,” I said handing him Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Reading the editor’s introduction, Fox stopped after reading this poem:

Peace is every step.

The Shining red sun is my heart.

Each flower smiles with me.

How green, how fresh all that grows.

How cool the wind blows.

Peace is every step.

It turns the endless path to joy.

“Daddy, can I write this poem out?” asked Fox with wide open eyes.

“Sure,” I said thrilled because his penmanship needed work.

Fox carefully wrote out each line. He smiled when he wrote “each flower smiles with me.” I was stoked that he was learning to spell smile, peace, and heart. At the end he wrote “Love, Fox.”

“Can you make copies?” he said as he handed me the hand written poem.

I gave him two copies. On one he wrote, “Merry Christmas. Thank you. To Mrs. Kraemer and Mrs. Grant” [his second grade teachers].

I almost cried. What a wonderful gesture. I am so grateful that he resonated with Thich Nhat Hanh, even though he had trouble reading the name. When I told a friend the story, he asked, “Who is the teacher and who is the student?”

What poem would you have a child copy?

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Poor Students or Poor System

IMG_3052Both my sons got their first semester report cards last week. They are only in the 5th and 2nd grade, so I don’t pay too much attention to these evaluations.

Unfortunately, both boys are below grade level. Fox, the younger son, had more minus signs than average or plus signs. Jett, the older one, had more 2s than 3s or 4s. A 2 means “developing,” while a 3 means “proficient.”

I take responsibility for these low marks. I want my sons to have fun while they are kids. We don’t stress too much over homework. We spend more time outdoors than in the library.

In the comments, both my sons’ teachers used the word “struggling.” I’m still not too concerned because I was a teacher, and I know when the time comes, I can easily bring them up to par.

Another word that both teachers used was “kind.” “Jett is very kind to his fellow classmates.” “Fox is a kind, considerate, and curious student, well liked by everyone.”

At first I was upset that my sons were so far behind in school, but upon further reflection, I was grateful that they are both kind boys.

I’ve always said that I would rather my sons be kind and compassionate than smart, academic, athletic, or “successful.” I was a very smart kid. I graduated magna cum laude and did well in graduate school. I landed a cushy job as and was making more money than I could shake a stick at. But I was not kind. And my lack of compassion poisoned all of my accomplishments.

In the span of three years, I was unemployed, on the verge of divorce, and diagnosed with cancer. I had to learn the hard way that “compassion protects you more than guns, bombs, or money.” (Thich Nhat Hahn)

I have no idea how my sons will perform in school at the higher levels, but I do know that armed with kindness and compassion it won’t really matter where they land in the world. They will be OK.

What would you like to score high in on the report card of life?

Aloha Healing 9/23/2015

waxing gibbous

Môhalu
Māhoe Hope 23

On this fall equinox, I had everything purged out of my colon. Woke up multiple times in the night to use the lua (toilet), then had huge BMs all day long. Not sure what catalyzed this purging. Could have been the daikon rice I ate or the fact that I started drinking 10.5 ph kangen water.

Also, on this day of transitions, we pulled Jett and Fox out of the Chinese immersion school they were attending and put them in neighborhood elementary school. It was a tough change for everyone. We got into the immersion school through a lottery, so we were giving up our coveted space to attend a local public school.

Eight year old Jett grieved last night about the loss of his friends: “I will never see them again.” This morning we all walked onto the clean, bright campus and met friendly new teachers and administrators. Fox’s kindergarten teacher looked like a kindergarten teacher–all smiles and hugs.

When I entered Jett’s classroom, I knew we were at the right place. There was a large poster that read, “I don’t know yet!” This is the non-judgmental curiosity that I felt was being squeezed out of my sons at the other school. Both Jett and Fox like their new school, teachers, and friends. Jett had 10 minutes of homework to do–what a change! We also learned that they get twice as much P.E. here, as well as art and music classes.

I feel like we all released a lot of kūkae (crap) today. Feeling much lighter and peaceful now.

Diet

Made raw veggie fettuccine with parsnip noodles and macadamia nut cream sauce. Not bad. I’m also adding a quart of carrot juice per day to my diet/treatment. In addition, I plan to eat 6 frozen grated lemons per day. Serendipitously, my mom forwarded me an email about eating frozen lemons today after I decided that I was going to add this treatment to my daily diet.

Exercise

Woke up late since my sleep was interrupted so much last night, so I missed morning movements. After dropping the boys off, I walked around in the sunshine for half an hour before heading off to work.

Relationships

My relationship with the Cupertino Union School district feels more peaceful. I feel grateful that that Jett and Fox are in a school that prioritizes curiosity, happiness, and kindness.

the transfigurationSpirituality

Spent the whole time at Awakin Circle meditation visualizing a heavenly wailele (waterfall) penetrating my crown chakra and cleansing my entire body down to the bowels. I sensed into another image of a huge Divine waterfall cleansing all of humanity like Jesus in the transfiguration. It felt like grace.

The connections to baptism are obvious. I just need to open myself to grace that will cleanse this kūkae out of my being.

Having said that, I’m reminded of a Muslim saying: “Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel.” I’m going to trust in grace, but also keep up with my veggie diet and treatments.

Kūkae (BM)

Amazed at how much I expelled today. A major portion of the BMs didn’t have blood, although still had blood/sediment both last night and during the day today.

Monthly Peace Challenge: Acts of Kindness

bannerIn a few hours, we officially start the Bloggers for Peace 2013. At this point, we have 40 bloggers committed to publish at least one post a month on/for/about peace. That is 480 peace posts, more than a post a day, that will uplift the internet throughout the year. If you want to join Bloggers for Peace click on the badge to the right. From this tiny seed, how big a tree of peace can we grow? What about a multinational forest of peace?

To help inspire the Bloggers for Peace (B4Peace), we will have a Monthly Peace Challenge. To participate, tag your post with B4Peace or leave a link to it in the comments. Anyone who completes all twelve Monthly Peace Challenges will receive a Free B4Peace T-shirt. Continue reading