Recently while in a café I was shocked to see a young boy, less than 10 years of age, scream back at his mother when she spoke to him. He did it twice. The mother didn’t say anything back, but just apologized to the people sitting around. But what surprised me next was what I overheard from two young girls at the table next to me. The one girl, who was about the same age as the boy who was screaming, said to the younger girl with her, staring calmly at her and with all sincerity, “Never ever speak to mom or grandma like that.” That was all. I was amazed to hear it. How mature she was for her age, and how great that she had the ability and state of mind to be able to speak up and guide the younger girl. She was really a role model in action. The younger girl accepted quietly the words, still staring at the boy.
Why did the young boy treat his mother so badly? I can only imagine that the mother has failed to instill any discipline (the other boy with them kicked the mother and laughed!). On the other hand the parents of the older girl must have done a great job nurturing her. And how fortunate the younger girl was having such a good role model around her.
All these in Buddhism are called Conditions. Conditions are the things and people that surround us. Good conditions help bring out the best in us. Therefore it makes good sense to get close to those who are a good condition and avoid bad conditions.
“He who comes in contact with red dye is stained red. We are shaped by the people who surround us. He who associates with good people will find himself becoming good.” (Something You Forgot… Along the Way #43)