The four important things
In March my son, Ken, who was still only five-years-old at the time, said to me one morning (in Japanese, of course):
“Papa, there are four important things in every person.”
“Oh, what are they?”
1) “shinzo,”meaning the heart;
2) “tamashi,”meaning the soul;
3) “inochi,”meaning the ability to escape death, to survive risk or danger by keeping one’s life and soul together; and,
4) “nomiso,”meaning the brain.
The vanity of parenthood makes me want to think that Ken is some kind of prodigy, but I suppose that other people’s children likewise utter remarkable things. But still, this was not the first time that he has said some really remarkable things. I told this story to many people in Japanand Canada. Some people in Canada asked, speculatively, if it was maybe something indoctrinated by Japanese culture, taught to children by their nursery school teachers. That seems a bit far-fetched to me, so I tend to discount it and believe instead that Ken was demonstrating genuine inspiration.
Later, I thought about it some more and came up with my own list of for important things. Then, I polled my wife, Junko, and my 11-year-old daughter, Emma and got their lists as well.
Interestingly, Emma’s choices seem the most mundane and practical. Junko’s and Ken’s seem the most ideal, the most romantic, the most spiritual. I seem to be in-between, although at the time I gave myself high marks for poetic alliteration. If I were ranking us by our answers’spiritual content I would have to say
3) Grant; and,
Ken ranks number two, which is pretty high for a 5-year-old. But if I rank us by pragmatism I might say)
3) Ken; and,
My first interpretation of these results was to suppose that they are largely age-related.