My Rebellious Son
This is the story from a chapter in Kayo’s life on how she faced a rebellious son who didn’t listen to the advice she gave…
Why is It Such a Struggle?
Why do I struggle so much with my son? Standing in front of the parenting section of the bookstore, I inadvertently sighed. I was having difficulties with raising my first son, Yuzo.
My problem with Yuzo in getting him to listen to me started when he entered first grade. When I pointed out a mistake in a math problem he was doing, he yelled “Shut up! Leave me alone!” and refused to correct it. Afraid that he would fall behind in his studies, I persisted.
“Yuzo, look, you made a mistake here.”
“Why do I have to do this?”
The more I said, the stronger he resisted.
“You have to correct the mistakes you made.”
“I don’t want to do this anymore!” he wailed, then tossed aside his pencil and started to play with his video game.
“I told you no video games until you finish your homework!”
I thought that maybe studying just wasn’t his thing, but in the fourth grade he started attending an after-school tutoring program with his friends. I tried to help him with his assignments between my housework chores in the evening, but when I pointed out his mistakes he got frustrated and angry.
“This is too hard!”
“Yuzo, you’re the one who wanted to go to this tutoring program. If you don’t study now, you’re going to have a lot more problems in the future!”
I felt impatient thinking how much his studies would improve if only he would stop protesting and just listen to me. His room was always a mess and he often lost or forgot his homework too.
“You’re forgetting this!” “Don’t leave things lying around!”
“How many times do I have to tell you!”
As a parent, I felt I had to make sure he acquired good lifestyle habits, but he never listened.
Our second son, a year younger than Yuzo, and our third son, still in daycare, never resisted me like Yuzo did. Only Yuzo was the “problem child.” In search of answers, I read books on parenting but I never found a real solution.
“Hectic” is the word to describe a day raising three young children. Cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, shopping, dropping off and then pick ing them up from daycare, helping them with their homework, reading them books… By the time I finally got them fed, washed and into bed, then my husband would come home.
“Daddy, you’re home!” The children would jump and hug him and he would break into a broad grin.
“Daddy, let’s play games!” “Sure!”
Here we go again! I had only just put them to bed… My husband couldn’t care less about discipline. If the children asked, he would play with them till late into the night, and if Yuzo used bad words he just laughed with him.
I’m the one who has to wake the kids tomorrow morning and send them off to school, I grumbled. I could hear them having a great time in the room next door. Even Yuzo, who never listened to me, was obedient to him. It felt unfair how my husband got to be the ‘fun’ parent; whereas, I had to always nag and scold the kids. I felt very sad and lonely.
Parent and Child are Spiritually Connected
One day, a friend lent me some books by Ryuho Okawa. When I read them, I found answers to questions I had long wondered about. The more I read his work, the more I was moved. His teachings on parenting were particularly eye-opening.
“Your child was a fully developed soul who happened to be born to you as a result of a spiritual connection you share. What I would like you to understand from this is that every child is born with his/ her own life plan.”
“They may look like their parents but their souls are not the same. That is why you must not think of your child as your possession.”
[Extracts from How to Grasp Happiness | Published by IRH Press]
He might still be a child, but his soul is already developed…? Wanting to learn more, I soon joined Happy Science. My husband also joined six months later. Inspired by what I was learning, I made an effort to reflect on my words whenever Yuzo turned rebellious. I considered the possibility that Yuzo might be using harsh language with me because my own words were harsh to him. Still , I could not tolerate his sloppiness, and that he put up a fuss whenever I corrected him on his homework.
When he entered the fifth grade, Yuzo joined a baseball team. If he wasn’t either watching TV or playing video games, then he was playing baseball. He doesn’t clean his room and does what he wants to do… I was really beginning to worry if he would be okay in the future if he remained like this. Around that time, one of my friends suggested that I go to a Happy Science temple.
In the Prayer Hall
There was something exquisite about the atmosphere in the prayer hall at Miraikan. I felt my mind calm as I sat with my eyes closed, enveloped in warmth and light. I reflected about the time when my first son was born and all the years while he was growing up.
Suddenly, a stranger appeared in my meditation. He had a sturdy physique and I felt a pure and solemn aura emitting from his entire body. Then, he quietly said to me, “This person [Yuzo] that I am protecting is a very gracious person.”
This is Yuzo’s...! As soon as I understood this person was Yuzo’s guardian spirit, tears streamed down my face. Then, the Truth came back to me: Yuzo is a mature, adult soul full of wisdom and experience. I share a deep spiritual connection with him cultivated in the process of reincarnation, and we promised that we were going to be parent and child before we were born to this world.
Yuzo is not a “problem child”. He has his own life plan and purpose. What I had been learning through the teachings of Happy Science became abundantly clear to me. My tears did not stop, and when I next looked up Yuzo’s guardian spirit had gone. I felt a part of me that I had long been unable to change was transformed from this experience.
The Love I Thought I Had Been Showing Him…
“People’s shortcomings a re actually the other side of their strengths. If you cannot overlook the shortcomings of a person, try to find its opposite - that is, his or her strength,” advised the lecturer after the meditation. As I contemplated on this point, I clearly saw the mistakes in my way of thinking.
Yuzo was still in the middle of development, but, in my rush to educate him, I was always pointing out what he couldn’t do and, in doing so, I had hurt his feelings. I had to see his strengths and appreciate, encourage and nurture them with my whole heart, but, in my eyes, his shortcomings had loomed so large that they overshadowed the radiance of his soul. Yuzo felt more comfortable with his father because my husband saw his strengths. Not knowing that, I had even felt frustrated with my husband.
Filled with discoveries about the qualities of ‘true love’ that make others happy, I left Miraikan feeling as if I had been reborn again.
I Only Needed to Change Myself
My perspective of Yuzo changed dramatically after that day. Seeing him practice his bat swing almost daily, I used to wish he would put as much effort into his studies as he did with baseball. But after the experience at Miraikan, I saw that he is a hard worker, even if there was no one to notice it. Yes, he was careless – his room was always a mess – but he was also laid back, generous and he had a lot of friends. He also helped me without being asked and was forgiving of my flaws - qualities that I had missed when I was only worried about his shortcomings. Once I started to see his strengths, his dislike for studying felt like a minor issue.
The most amazing thing was that when I changed, Yuzo ceased to be rebellious towards me. It was just as Master Okawa says: “A parent and child are like mirrors reflecting each other.” Yuzo had resisted me because I was treating him as if he was my possession, expecting him to change and to be as I wanted him to be. I had been creating my own agony by failing to accept my son for who he was. Raising a child is a formative experience for myself as well, and I felt blessed to be given this chance to raise Yuzo.
My Son’s Transformation
Yuzo focused on his beloved baseball throughout junior and senior high school, and succeeded at it. During his senior year in high school, he hit a home run at a prefectural tournament. As for his studies, though, he continued to show little interest. Whenever I started to worry about his academics, I remembered his guardian spirit and told myself, Yuzo’s soul is a fine adult. When the time comes, he will start walking his own path. I just have to keep believing in him and watch over him.
Yuzo failed his University entrance exam. However, as soon as he started to study for the next year’s exam, he hit the books with such fervor that it was as if I was seeing a different person. Through experiencing failure, he had found the motivation to study. Simultaneously, he began to read many of the Happy Science books every month. He started picking up good lifestyle habits. Moreover, he began saying things like:
“I’m sorry that I used to be so rebellious.”
“I am really thankful for the things you do, like cooking for us, and always supporting me.”
I was filled with surprise, joy, and gratitude to see him mature like that. The next year, Yuzo passed his university entrance exam. He had a very fulfilling four years there and is now working at a good job. Through the struggles of raising a child, I have learned the importance of believing in a person’s soul. This learning experience is now a precious treasure that I will keep in my heart.
How I Felt, Then and Now
“Back then, I go t irritated at whatever my mom told me. Even though I was still a kid, I didn’t like getting my pride hurt. I hated being restricted and sought to be free, but a lecture by Master Okawa made me think about the “freedom to mold myself.” Studying the teachings has gotten me to face my shortcomings and instill a desire in me to give back to my parents who love and support me.” by Yuzo