My thirteen-year-old daughter, Christy, and I took the precept ceremony at a mindfulness retreat last spring with Thich Nhat Hanh. She didn't feel that she should take the fourth precept because, even though she tries not too, she sometimes responds in anger to her brother's teasing. In the months that have followed, we have tried to recite the precept ceremonies at least once a month, expanding the Three Refuges to include Jesus and Buddha as expressions of the Divine Life that nurture us. During one of our precept ceremonies, Christy made the comment that she was pretty sure that she could say "yes" to the first precept. She knew she hadn't killed anyone, but maybe she had inadvertently stepped on an ant? I tried to explain the nature of the precepts, that they are a direction of growth. We are always trying to increase our efforts in these areas, but always recognize that we have more to learn and give.
Beverly Garcia Fresno, California