Victory Starts With Unity, Action and the Spirit of Youth!
The World Tribune spoke with the Springfield District women’s leader, Taeko Parker (pictured bottom right), to learn the keys to the district’s brilliant achievement at their 2018 November district discussion meeting.
World Tribune: Congratulations on a victorious November district discussion meeting! We understand that Springfield District welcomed 57 people, more than doubling its average attendance of 25! What were the keys to victory?
Taeko Parker: The 50,000 Lions of Justice Festival (held on Sept. 23, 2018) provided a great opportunity for our district to strengthen our teamwork like never before. We applied the same passion and practical tools from the 50K movement to our November district discussion meeting.
WT: What practical steps did you take?
Parker: 1. First, as district leaders, we united our hearts and set a goal to joyfully commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu and the 88th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai’s founding with a historic victory! The heart of our unity was to respond with appreciation to SGI President Ikeda, the
SGI and the district members.
Every Monday, we chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and maintained constant and speedy communication with one another. At the same time, each of us had the stand-alone spirit, taking full responsibility for the success of the meeting.
2. Second, using the 50K attendance lists, we did many home visits and reached out to SGI members and guests. We especially wanted to invite the youth who attended the 50K Festival from our district to the discussion meeting.
3. The third key was allowing the youth to take the lead in planning the meeting! Since Springfield District has a good representation of every generation from future division to Many Treasures members, the youth decided to have three experiences—from future division, youth and women’s division members—so that every member and guest could find encouragement relatable to their current circumstances.
Each of us had the stand-alone spirit, taking full responsibility for the success of the meeting.
The district members were so excited for the discussion meeting as well. As a result, we welcomed 57 participants, including 23 guests! The excitement and collective efforts of all the members were a product of the trust and friendships we fostered throughout the years.
President Ikeda writes in The New Human Revolution: “There’s no special secret for making a discussion meeting lively. Having said that, however, I think a meeting’s success lies in how many people share experiences of gaining benefit through faith. People who share their experiences brim with joy and energy. That feeling communicates to everyone else, and the joy spreads until the entire meeting becomes positive and vibrant. As a leader, it’s important to be firmly determined and to take action to ensure that each member receives benefits. This may seem like a long and roundabout way, but it is really the direct path to bringing real energy and life to discussion meetings.” (NHR-18, 256).
WT: That’s wonderful! What did you learn most from the November discussion meeting?
Parker: I learned the spirit to never give up. I introduced a friend to the practice who has enjoyed chanting for quite some time, but has hesitated to receive the Gohonzon and join the SGI. But I never gave up! I continued to chant for her happiness and develop our bond as friends. Right before our meeting on Nov. 18, she decided to receive the Gohonzon and did so at the discussion meeting! WT