One underlying reason I enjoy living in Japan is the spirit of Zen. Now that I have a family, I no longer read about Zen Buddhism as much or sit quietly to meditate each morning. But the spirit of Zen is still with me, day after day, inside and out.
Today I’ve written 37 “Zen sayings” for parents raising bilingual children. Try reading each one slowly, reflecting on the words. Even close your eyes and repeat it softly in your mind. I hope these thoughts speak to you, and offer some support and inspiration.
1. Ten million tiny steps is all it takes.
2. More than a priority, a way of life.
3. Keep conscious of your quest.
4. One eye on today, one eye on tomorrow.
5. Seize each day, day after day.
6. Milk the moment.
7. Early efforts prevent later frustrations.
8. Persistent efforts add up over time.
9. It’s not one thing you do, it’s everything you do.
10. The scope of your action must match the scale of your aim.
11. Solid habits are the ground for steady progress.
12. Your actions matter, now and for many generations.
13. Stay patient with the process.
14. Do your best. Let life do the rest.
15. Be very serious, be very playful.
16. Might as well smile—this takes a while.
17. Laugh often and loudly.
18. More passion, more progress.
19. Enthusiasm ignites engagement.
20. You can never have too many books.
21. Reading aloud: the bedrock of daily routines.
22. Talk, talk, talk to your child.
23. Engage with every interruption.
24. Resources: better a flood than a trickle.
25. Make productive choices.
26. You’re never “too busy” and you know it.
27. This will test your spirit. You will pass.
28. Shape your circumstances in your favor.
29. It’s not about how hard it is, it’s about how hard you try.
30. Stop sighing, keep trying.
31. Keep going and you’ll go farther.
32. As long as there is effort, there is no failure.
33. There is always a payoff to perseverance.
34. You are not alone.
35. It’s okay to be obsessed.
36. The days are long, the years are short.
37. Enjoy the journey, bumps and all.