You see my lovely daughter, the fact is that this ant is very tiny and powerless compare to you.

My Dad was pointing to an ant crawling on the ground. I was leaning down to touch the ant. Quickly, he stopped me from touch it by holding my arm.

He said softly: Do you want to get hurt?
I said without hesitation: No, Papa.

Dad: Do you want to die?
Me: No, Papa.

This ant doesn’t want to get hurt either. It wants to live just like you!

If you touch it, you will hurt it. Even worse,  you might squash it instantly because it’s so small and fragile. You are a GIANT and much stronger than the ant.

All lives want to live free from pain and suffering just like you, my lovely daughter.

You are powerful. Have mercy for the tiny ant. Anyway, it’ll die sooner before you.

Those were my father’s words.

Back then, I was a little girl, but I never forget that lesson. All I knew was that I didn’t want to get hurt. That much I knew because it hurt when I felt down.

I didn’t understand about death and dying. But I always wanted to be with my father and mother all the time. I didn’t want to separate from them, not even for one second.

Do you remember wanting to be with your parents too when you were a child?

Being a father, you’ve many responsibilities when it comes to raising your son so that he’ll grow up to be a fine man.

What do you when you see a few ants crawling on your kitchen’s counter while your son is with you?

Many people would do this.

What are these ants doing here?

SQUASH!  SQUASH! SQUASH!…

You could hear the ants being crushed!

Now, it’s your turn son.

This might be no big deal to you, right? They’re just tiny ants!

But what are you teaching in his unconscious mind really?

If you’re a father, you don’t have to teach your son or daughter the techniques how to hunt, shooting guns, bows and arrows or praying on other lives in order for your child (or children) to be a brave and manly man or a super woman.

A manly man or strong woman is measured by himself/herself according to the joy and the peace of mind he experiences in the moment.

External measurements by other people are invalid.

At this moment, we’re blessed to live in a time where we’ve many choices to not harm other lives and create a happy life in harmony.

If you were to teach him or her to start killing from small lives, like the ants, his aggressiveness thoughts of harmful acts could potentially grow stronger as he gets older.

At first, he kills one ant with some doubts. As the time goes on, he kills many ants without squinting.

Why should he care when everyone around him is doing it? It’s that kind of attitude.

We’ve read, heard or seen violence in the news from around the world.

Photo by Neary Heng

It starts at the root from childhood.

Children learn by watching our actions more than listening to us. It starts from small things, like killing the ant and gradually to bigger things. He gets used to it. It’s the numbness feelings.

Of course, we’re only human beings. It’s impossible to not harm living beings or anything either intentionally or unintentionally.

Every parent wants only the best for their children.

Every child wants to grow up to be a good person.

Every person has a good heart with lots of compassion deep within.

Sometime, we just need a little reminder to have some compassion for others.

The point I’m trying to say is this.

Each time he performs a harmful act, his well of compassion decreases. Instead, it fills up with hatred, resentments, self doubts, jealousy, and greed among others emotions that cloud his wisdom. This leads to the lack of awareness in appreciating the gift of living a joyful life.

The lack of compassion builds up over-time from childhood into adulthood if he doesn’t do anything to slow it down. It’s similar to a snowball effect.

However, what I’d learned from my Father is this. When you teach your son to have compassion and respect for all lives, even the tiniest and helpless ones, you’re teaching him the following three important fundamental principles.

They are:

1. You share your wisdom with him so that he learns to know the differences beyond what he can see and hear in the moment.

2. You raise his awareness that not only he loves his life. The ant has a life too.

3. You teach him what compassion feels like. Let him imagine that he is the helpless little ant in danger being rescue by a kind person.

He doesn’t know what he knows…yet.

Someday, he will.

When he begins to recognize the values of tiny lives, like the ant, he’ll have a better understanding and respects his very own life and the lives of others.

The more he understands and values his life and the lives of others, the more likely he’ll have a peace of mind, joy and finds life very fulfilling.

The benefits are monumental for your child.

And someday, he’ll pass what you teach him to his children too or to other people because he cares.

It is from an accumulation of minute acts of compassion what amounts to the joy of living his life in the moment.

It’s what you want for your child, right?

It’s what all of us want to have at the end of our day. Isn’t it?

That’s one of the best gifts you can give to your kid(s).

The cool thing is…

You can still be a hero, respectable and loving father by simply teaching him these fundamental principles that he can use timelessly.

Now, that is powerful!

Thank you Dad for the gift of YOU. I didn’t know what I knew then. Now, I do.

Happy Father’s Day to the Dads and single Mothers! Keep up with the hard work!

 

Neary Heng