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Regional Educators Conference 2012
The 2012 regional educators' conference was held in Chicago April 21 to 22. Fifteen members attended, from Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Pasadena, Phoenix and San Francisco. Participants included teachers and those working with children at their centers.
The purpose of the educators' conference is to give participants the opportunity to elevate their innermost attitude, to receive spiritual nutrition, and to gain ideas and experiences of how to put the teachings into practice in education. The program began with a study session by the staff member in charge of the educators' group on the New Year's teaching for this year, titled "Become a Beacon of Light." We know that there are many changes going around us, and we are being asked to awaken to the spiritual side of ourselves, to lead a spiritual way of life, and to deepen the bonds with others with a sincere heart. This breaks the flow of materialism. We need to have a movement of altruistic love and real consideration for others.
Leading a spiritual way of life includes the practices of gratitude, humility, acceptance, not wasting things, being cheerful and smiling. When many of us do this, it forms a beacon of Light to the world.
This was followed by a study class by the Chicago center director on the chapter for youth in the book Gratitude. He said that the teachings are filled with courage and hope for the future. When we harmonize with others, it is easier for God to become present and powerful. By giving Light, we are able to cultivate virtues and gain spiritual experiences. These allow us to become engaged and be energetic in our service to God. It is important to teach young people to welcome every opportunity to train and polish their souls.
The Detroit center director gave a talk on emergency preparedness for teachers. We reviewed teachings over the last several years urging us to be prepared for emergencies, which are happening frequently. These are the things that we need to do: be prepared, pray to God, raise your spiritual level, conduct yourself in a calm manner, exercise proper judgment, and take appropriate action. No matter what challenges we face, we as members of Sukyo Mahikari need to open our positive spirit and advance on the path of God with a smile. Teachers are in the front line of an emergency, and we need to work on ensuring the safety of the children in our care. Communication is critical. Prepare emergency backpacks, plan evacuation routes, and shelter in place supplies. It is important to practice plans often with the children. Links and other information were given for further teacher emergency preparations by FEMA and the County Education Office of Santa Barbara, California.
Participants then divided into three groups and were provided with materials to make collages of what a spirit-first classroom or school would look like. One group said: "This is a God First School. It has a Goshintai on the top floor. It sends out "Good Vibrations" and the classes are : Music class, Class on how to attain divinity, math class, Art Class, Yoko Garden Class. It also has Good (true)science, Language Arts, Spiritual Economics Class,

Health and Well being Class, Science Class and Computer Lab, Dance and an Exercise room. It has a big outside area with a Yoko garden, a tree house, also a place to camp out and be with Nature, and fishing. The second group divided the school into 4 different areas of study: 1. Others, 2. Self, 3. Transcendent, and 4. Environment. These would be the four main areas of study in a God First school. The last group described their God First School as being dome shaped made of glass so that you could see Nature all the time. The schedule would be Opening prayer, Light and singing and then classes. The School would have one theme a week of one of the virtues which would be taught through the different subjects. The different classes would be Music, Physical Education, Math, Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, and the Arts. There would be outdoor activities and Nature study.
We received reports from the centers about their youth programs. Some centers are just beginning youth education. Many centers are involving what is referred to as "the five-group system" by including center staff, teachers, parents, support staff, and the Sukyo Mahikari Youth Group in planning and carrying out youth activities. Some are using multimedia and much creativity with the lessons and their programs are growing with both members' children, grandchildren and guests.
The goals for the Educator's Group for 2012 are:

  1. To connect with God and unite with others with love and sincerity
  2. To deepen our bond with nature
  3. To have more creativity and imagination.

  We are hoping to have educators' conferences on the East and the West Coast next year
   in late June and early August.

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