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Teens Need Adult Trust and Empowerment, Says Advocate
A recent FBI plan to anticipate potential violence in schools by providing school officials with a check-list of student anti-behavioral traits has drawn strong criticism, with many parents, school administrators and youth counselors calling it "criminalizing" our young.
Daisaku Ikeda, an internationally-renowned author and expert in the causes of violence at all age levels and a noted counselor to youth, argues that youth must be empowered above all else. "I have made it one of my aims in life to help young people to have hope and confidence in their future; I myself have infinite trust in young people," says Ikeda, the 1983 winner of the United Nations Peace Award and president of the 12 million-member Soka Gakkai International.
Ikeda, in his newest book The Way of Youth, Buddhist Common Sense for Handling Life's Questions, stresses that adults must build a bridge of communication with our young - encourage them and uplift them so they can build self-confidence as individuals with mature, non-violent thinking.
The Way of Youth, published by Middleway Press, a division of SGI-USA, takes an avuncular approach to answering a comprehensive list of the 85 most common questions asked by teenagers - questions and answers that will prove surprisingly beneficial even to the most jaded of adult parents, teachers and counselors.
The book, in nine easy-to-read chapters, shows teenagers how to deal with such concerns as nagging parents, peer pressure, friendship and sex, fear of failure, dropping out, job and career ambitions or the lack of them and dealing with bullies and violence. Chapters include family, friendship, love, learning, work, dreams and goals, confidence, compassion and the bigger picture.
Ikeda's straightforward, common sense approach - based on his 50 years of experience as a Buddhist spiritual guide - successfully talks with the troubled teens rather than talk at them or down to them. Rather than criticize, ridicule or trivialize a particular problem and the teen it might concern, he prefers to focus on that person's need to be helped.
Ikeda is author of more than 200 books, many translated into several foreign languages. In 1960 he became president of SGI, which promotes education, international cultural exchange and world peace. He is founder of the Soka Schools system in Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as Soka University which opened its newest campus in May 2001 in Aliso Viejo, California.
Founded in Japan in 1930, Soka Gakkai International with membership in 186 countries, and its American affiliate SGI-USA, seeks peace by working against violence using the philosophy and ideals of the Buddhism of Nichiren. Nichiren was a thirteenth-century Japanese Buddhist teacher and reformer who, based on the Lotus Sutra, taught the sanctity of human life above all.
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