Kids these days…..and their Tiger parents…Are we ready for them???

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I was recently asked and honored to lead a workshop at the annual Coast District JR YBA conference. The theme of the conference was “Alice and Wonderland…Who am I?” This was a very intriguing theme as I haven’t seen Alice in Wonderland in many years. Luckily I was able to find it on line and watched it for free (I’m so Sekoi sometimes :) There were many subplots and connections to Buddhism that made it hard to choose a specific topic. Good thing the Jr yba workshop leader told me to talk about good and bad Influences or else, I would have had a tough time choosing.
I decided to talk about decisions, influences both nonverbal and verbal and overall actions they may face and the need to be aware of what they are doing and how it affects those around you. We had some lively discussions about peer pressure, meeting new people, first impressions, family and friends. It was very refreshing to hear these kids comments and the maturity they possessed. I’m not sure if it’s because they are exposed to so much media like TV, the web and a 24 hr news cycle or is school preparing these kids better. I’m thinking it’s the exposure these kids get with their smartphones and the internet. I stole or should I say borrowed one of Rinban’s dharma lessons about the Golden Chain and how it’s hard to always do, say and think the right things. They all agreed and actually showed a bit of relief when I said ‘it’s ok not to be perfect.’ Several kids commented that their parents think they should always do the right thing but it was hard and…there are many levels to ‘doing the right thing’. They knew they should be inclusive but is sometimes hard with all the peer pressure to be cool. They knew they shouldn’t cuss or be disrespectful but it’s hard when you’re trying to find your way in this new ‘adult’ world. The good thing is they all knew to respect their parents, teachers and friends and a few even said they used the ideas of suffering when it came to breaking up with a boy/girlfriend. So I guess the Dharma lessons are working, we parents are doing ok and the next generation is primed and ready for college. I don’t know about you but I’m hopeful and can’t wait to see what happens next.
Thanks for reading.
In Gassho,
Todd Tsudama