When Odetta's husband retired from the Army, she applied for and got a job in the food services area at the local high school.
As one of the cashiers in the cafeteria, she often noticed rude behavior and wondered, "What kind of parents do these children have?" Students were even rude to her. This made her feel bad.
Within two weeks she hated her job and dreaded going to work.
After a particularly bad day, she chanted daimoku and thought about why she hated her job.
It was the kids. "Why do I hate the kids?"
Because they have no respect for themselves or others.
"What causes them to be this way? "
They embody the same anguish that they cause others to feel.
"This is no way to live!"
With this thought, she stopped thinking about her own suffering and chanted sincerely for the happiness of the students. She visualized their faces and sent daimoku to each of their hearts.
That daimoku was powerful.
The next day, a young man was particularly abusive. She told him "I will not serve you today. I won't serve you ever, unless you change your attitude."
The next day the same young man returned to her line, but this time he was polite. Odetta remarked "To change an attitude is very difficult and you have done it. I am proud of you!"
After this, they became friends, and soon Odetta made friends with many other teenagers at the school.
Now she looks forward to going to school and seeing new friends.
The atmosphere of the cafeteria line has changed.
When I told Kathy (my wife) this experience, she remarked "Those kids will learn more from Odetta than they will from their teachers."
Kathy is right.