Michio Kushi Memorial Service Speeches – Hisao Kushi
This post is part of a series presenting full transcripts of speeches given at the Michio Kushi Memorial Service in Boston on January 31, 2015.
I am Hisao Kushi. I am the youngest of the boys and it’s quite a sight – all of you here. I am, I guess here to talk about what it was like to be Michio Kushi’s son which as you can imagine was quite and adventure. As you can tell from all of these speaker and I am sure all of you have each had your challenges sort of trying to describe what Michio Kushi was like ‘cause he sort broke a lot of boundaries in terms of categorization.
So one of the challenges that I had and I know that my brother’s had is, as a kid, when you’re in school every year, every couple of years you have to take these standardized tests and, you know, you fill in last name, “Kushi”, first name, “Hisao” and one of the questions right there is: Father’s Occupation. And that is a stumper right there, before you get to the test, that’s a problem.
So depending on the year I would pick a different occupation. So, one year I picked “teacher” because that’s what he did. Lots of people came to our house, they learned stuff, went out into the world. He would travel around the world, he would give lectures he would…so, I’m like, “teacher”! And of course, that becomes a thing, you know, “So! What does your Dad do?”- “He’s a teacher!” – “Oh, where does he teach?” – “Um, you know, Europe.” – “Is he a professor?” – “Mmm, not really!”
So, another year, because it became difficult to talk about him as a teacher, I wrote, and I remember this specifically, I wrote “author” and remember because I wasn’t quite sure how to spell it. But I wrote, “author” but I figured well that would be pretty simple because he writes books. So again, it’s one of those things where people would say, “Oh what does your father do?” – “Hey, he’s an author! He write books.” – “Oh, great! What kind of books?” – “Well, non-fiction? You know.” – “What are some of the books he’s written” – “Your Face Never Lies”.
As I got older, the answer to the question, “What does your father do” – I started to say, “He’s a philosopher”. And the thing is if you say, “philosopher” people are like – they don’t know what to do with that. “What does your father do?” – “He’s a philosopher.” – “Okay.” You know.
…he would say, “Make sure that your life’s goal, your life’s dream, is something that you can’t achieve during your lifetime.”
But I think that of the answers was sort of the most accurate because he was a big thinker. He was thinking about the big questions of the day. You know he would think about, “Why do we have five fingers? What is the nature of human violence? How do we raise people’s consciousness so that we end human sickness and tragedy?”
One of the things that I remember him telling me as a kid, and he’s probably mentioned this to all of you too, he would say, “Make sure that your life’s goal, your life’s dream, is something that you can’t achieve during your lifetime.” Right? You know, dream big! Try and get to sort of the fundamental questions and solve those.
And so, and his dream, as we’ve heard today and as we all knew, was a dream of One Peaceful World and that was a dream he shared with all of you and with us and allowed us to discover that it was a dream that we shared with him. And not only did he touch your lives, but his life was touched by all of you and so was all of us in the family. That made all of our lives including his much richer. It allowed him to do things the things that he wanted to do and that the world he felt called on him to do.
So, if I were answering that question today on the standardized test, and thank God I don’t have to, the real answer, and I think you’ve heard this throughout the speeches today is that he was a dreamer in a really simple and profound way. That was what he was at heart and for us, as his kids, the gift that he gave to us was the permission to dream big and to think about our place in the world and in the universe. That is I think something that is unique in our upbringing and that was at the foundation of who we are and how we think about our place in the world.
And so, as a big dreamer and, he was also a man of action, so he could dream big but was constantly full of energy, it is, I can’t lie – it’s sad as – to lose that. And so, I think it’s up to all of us to tap into those big dreams and to carry those forward in our lives. I love you Papa.