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Parenting for the Samurai

- Wednesday, April 28, 2010

   I enjoy reading Hagakure, The Book of the Samurai… “the hidden leaves.” I was pleased to come across this passage in a reading:

Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai, Yamamoto Tsunetomo    There is a way of bringing up the child of a samurai. From the time of infancy one should encourage bravery and avoid trivially frightening or teasing the child. If a person is affected by cowardice as a child, it remains a lifetime scar. It is a mistake for parents to thoughtlessly make their children dread lightning, or to have them not go into dark places, or to tell them frightening things in order to stop them from crying.

   Furthermore, a child will become timid if he is scolded severely.

   One should not allow bad habits to form. After a bad habit is ingrained, although you admonish the child, he will not improve. As for such things as proper speaking and good manners, gradually make the child aware of them. Let him not know avarice. Other than that, if he is of a normal nature, he should develop well by the way he is brought up.

   Moreover, the child of parents who have a bad relationship will be unfilial. This is natural. Even the birds and beasts are affected by what they are used to seeing and hearing from the time they are born.

I was surprised and pleased to see this passage in Hagakure. The samurai seem to have effectively grasped good form in parenting along with every other aspect of life covered in the book. (The link in the image of the book’s cover will take you to its Amazon page. I recommend this book, but moreover, if you can, get it from your local book store instead.)

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