Journeys with Our Children

27 July 2021

Today one of my nephews turned 23 years old.

Isaac was 9 and his brother, Ilario was 8, when we visited the Asian Civilisations Museum 14 years ago.

We had gone “On the Nalanda Trail,” exhibition because the spaciousness of museum settings with their gentle lightings have a calming effect on children.

Young as they were, I thought it was good for kids to experience the presence of ancient carvings and texts that have survived the ravages of time and human follies.

When the museum visit came to an end, I asked the boys to strike a pose in front of the mural featuring Budhha with the Dharmachakra hand gesture.

Without missing a beat, the two primary school kids acted out the iconic gesture of their action hero, Ultraman.

Ilario, 8 and Isaac, 9 striking the ultraman pose in front of Buddha. (2007, ACM)

It was as if they were trying to align themselves with the Enlightened One by imitating the posture of the most evolved being they knew at that point in their young lives.

Over the years my nephews gain independence. These childhood physical outings have been replaced by adult discussions as they navigate the crossroads in their lives.

In their 20s, Ultraman no more because the Hero is now in their heart. (2019 CNY Temple Trip)

Whether they are 9 or 23, our children will always appreciate sensible input from us. And even if we’re not digital savvy, our duty is to remain calm and offer them our presence when they need someone to reflect with on their journeys.

  • Dharmachakra mudra
    Dharmachakra in Sanskrit means the ‘Wheel of Dharma’. This mudra symbolizes one of the most important moments in the life of Buddha, the occasion when he preached to his companions the first sermon after his Enlightenment in the Deer Park at Sarnath.

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