How can we teach ethics without any religious context, and how can the benefits of the Buddha’s teachings be shared with a 7 year old boy? Books were tried first, as he would listen to a bedtime story.
Two books were tried:
1. ‘When the Anger Ogre Visits’ by Andree Salom & Ivette Salom
ISBN 13: 9781614291664
‘The Anger Ogre’ went pretty well as the story is light, with anger personalified as an ogre. The story moves along and there are plenty of pictures, making it good bedtime reading. After the kid has woken up, the message of the story is vague enough that you need a follow-up conversation to discuss the significance of the anger ogre. Long term, the book did not enjoy ‘favourite’ status.
2. ‘Shantideva: How to Wake Up a Hero’ by Dominique Townsend & Tenzin Norbu
ISBN 13: 9781614290582
‘Shantideva’ was more difficult because it is more wordy and has fewer pictures. After only one attempt, we made no further progress and the book is firmly at the back of the bedtime reading list. We certainly enjoyed it, but the 7 year old boy did not.
This approach provided some success but it was limited. At least it provided some alternatives to the ‘favourites’ bedtime reading for kids.
At this point only two books had been explored and there are many more options available, such as stories taken from the Jataka tales. This is something that we could explore in the future.