There are people suffering physically, mentally and emotionally. Many people are worried about the future and many people just donft know what to do. I think Zen can help. I think everyone can use a little Zen in their lives.
I regret doing nothing to help my sister at that time. Since then, I have done my best to always be with her and protect her. One time, we went to a mall and I saw many people whispering and laughing at my sister. It made me angry, so I yelled, "DON'T LAUGH AT OTHER PEOPLE!" When I yelled at those people, my father, mother, and grandmother looked pleased. And I was happy to help my sister against the bullies.
One day I asked my mother why she tolerated my father. She said, "I respect your father. So I do as he says. You'll be able to understand that someday." The other day I found out why she respects my father. My father is a fierman and a farmer who plants strawberries and the other crops. He gets up early and workds in the fields until late in the evening. And then he studies about the harvest of the crops till late at night. Recently agriculture in Japan has many problems. So the Japanese farmers including my father have to make efforts to increase harbests. Everyday my mother recognizes the position he is in. At lastI found the reason why my mother respects my father, but I thought, if I were my mother, I would still tell my father "Do it yourself, or I'm going to get a divorce."
On the other hand I feel very sad and discouraged because of other things I have studied in more recent history about women's role in society. We were and are not treated equally an all. What are women to men? The way we are treated is really unfair and unjust. Even though we have the same intelligence and abilities. We are treated as inferiors. In Japan since long ago women have been opposed. Even today this continues. I'll take for example my own home. As soon as my father comes home, he says to my mother "I want a bath," and she has to prepare it for him. Next he demands "beer!" All my mother says, "You must be tired," and moves around taking care of his demands with a smile on her face. My father acts like the lord of the manor. And my mother is the so called good wife and wise mother.
Since then, my life has changed. My mother has told me how happy she is with my positive attitude. And now, I am here making this speech in front of all of you. Ichigo changed my life.
There is a music program that my mother and I always listen to. One day we heard that one of my mother's favorite singers would be coming to the show. I sent him an email saying how much we love his music. My mother is a big fan of the singer's, but a physical disability had prevented her from going to see him perform. When the singer came on to the radio program, my email was read and we were offered four tickets for his concert. We were excited. At the concert my mother looked like a young cheerful fan.
My family started having problems when I was in the fifth grade. My father became depressed. He couldnft sleep without taking sleeping pills. His depression was related to my grandfather becoming senile. My grandfather couldnft remember or do basic things. My father eventually had to quit his job to help my mother take care of him. Things got so bad for my father that he didnft feel like doing what he loved aking pictures of his family.
I feel Ifm one of the luckiest girls in the world, not only because I now have two wonderful parents but also because they show me what a happy family is. My stepfather is not only a breadwinner but he also cooperates with housework and childrearing. My mother is not only a good homemaker but also a wise and independent woman. Thanks to them, my image of an ideal family is one that is cooperative and mutually respectful. Sharing time, emotions and experiences is more important than anything else. Ifm so proud of my new-style family.
Sometimes, itfs possible for divorced parents to find new partners just as my parents did. However, as the subject is a delicate matter, we donft often hear about happily remarried parents. Rather, we often hear of the opposite cases. Sadly, some stepfathers have physically abused their stepchildren, but mothers have looked the other way, afraid of losing their second husband. In a shocking case earlier this year, a stepdaughter, of about my age, could not bear her stepfatherfs abuse, so set fire to the house where he and her mother were sleeping.
Despite the emotional trauma, I was sure that my mother had made the right decision when she remarried my stepfather. Ifm not saying that divorce should be encouraged, but if parents find they can no longer live together in harmony, it may be better that they separate.
In June we decided who would play which roles for "The Phantom of the Opera". Without hesitation I stood for the part of Christine (one of the lead characters). I had been dreaming about singing and dancing on stage for months, and now here was my chance to realize that dream. I was so exited! When our teacher asked who wanted to play the Phantom, there was silence. Everybody knew that particular part required a high level of acting and singing ability. Then a boy called Kan Kun raised his hand. We were surprised because he was usually so quiet and shy. He was the last person we expected to go for that role. Everyone gave him a big clap. Another big part went to our assistant language teacher Ian from England. Finally we decided who would play the music which is a key element in musicals. Luckily there were two boys who were both excellent musicians. We listened to the CD, watched the DVD, read the book and learnt the meaning of the words. The boy who plays the Phantom keeps on surprising us. He managed to make a mask just like the one the Phantom wears. The next week he came in to the lesson proudly wearing the mask and a black cloak his grandmother had made for him. We were all laughing because our quiet classmate had transformed into a deadly Phantom.
However, last summer, I went to a care home to meet my grandmother. There were many elderly people. I simply wanted to help them and started serving their meals. I enjoyed talking and singing songs with them. I was really tired at the end of the day when an old lady came to me. She smiled happily and thanked me, telling me what a wonderful day she had. When I heard her words, my tiredness changed into happiness. I realized not only she but also I became happy.