Constancy・常   XAN

There is a famous conversation between Confucius (孔子) and his student Zigong (子貢).

Zigong asked, “Is there a single word that I can live my whole life by?”

Confucius said, “ It’s 恕 compassion!”

However, what if you were asked the same question? What would you answer? For me, the conversation would be like this:

Someone asked, “Is there a single word that I can live my whole life by?”

XAN replied, “It’s constancy.”

Yes, 常. Constancy.

This is a difficult word in English, but I think it is one we should try to realize every day.

I have a foreign friend who lives here in Japan. He has been studying at a Japanese language school for just five months now, and he hates it. He has many complaints: He doesn’t like the teachers; he doesn’t like the teaching style and the homework, he doesn’t like some of his classmates, …. on and on. He wants to quit. He thinks he can learn Japanese just as well on his own and save money.

Recently, he asked for my opinion. I wanted to laugh.

I think of you Shin-ai girls. You come to school every day, and work very hard, even when it’s not fun, even when you are tired, even when you want to play. Every day. You are learning and training every day, and slowly over time you are getting stronger and stronger, smarter and smarter, better and better. Every day. Some of you for six years; some of you for three years, but you are always studying, improving, training, fighting….

That is constancy.

I want to show you girls to him. I want to show the recently graduated third year students who struggled so hard for so many years to get to a good university. I want to show him the power and endurance of Shin Ai girls, and tell him, “常 Constancy!

How can we learn new things well? How can we change and improve ourselves? How? How? Constancy.