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“Nothing Is Wasted in Faith”

SGI Women’s Leader Yumiko Kasanuki at the SGI-USA Women’s Leaders Conference at the Florida Nature and Culture Center, Weston, Fla., Jan. 26. Photo by NORIKO KAKUSHO.

How I transformed my son’s struggles into a source of infinite growth.

SGI Women’s Leader Yumiko Kasanuki shared the following experience at the SGI-USA Women’s Leaders Conference, held Jan. 24–27 at the Florida Nature and Culture Center in Weston, Florida.

When my son was in the sixth grade, he broke his arm. He missed a lot of school as he recovered from his injury and struggled to catch up with schoolwork. Then, just like a string that snaps, one day he suddenly stopped trying.

He wouldn’t go to school, even after he was admitted into seventh grade. In the process, his days and nights flipped. He would stay up all night and couldn’t get up in the morning.

Mrs. Kasanuki and her son, Masanobu,
share a treasured moment during their
trip to Sado, Japan, August 2007. Mrs.
Kasanuki says her son has helped her
“become a person who can genuinely
empathize with parents who have
struggles with their children.” PHOTO COURTESY OF YUMIKO KASANUKI.

At the time, I was the chief secretary of the national women’s division and fighting hard in my Soka Gakkai activities. I would make meals for my son every morning and leave them on the kitchen table. And I’d write a note to him.

I would also chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo each morning with the resolve: “I’m going off to fight for the sake of kosen-rufu again today. Gohonzon, I entrust my son to you!” And with that, I would leave for the day.

SGI President Ikeda heard about my struggles and sent a message:

Your struggle with your son is nothing to worry about. Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda also had many worries. Nichiren Daishonin also had many worries. We are happy because we have worries. Earthly desires are enlightenment.

Please be completely bright and cheerful. You don’t have to be impatient. Live with composure.

By gaining tangible experiences, you can become a great leader.

Pray earnestly and strongly. Prayer impacts the entire universe. The greatest expression of love is prayer.

When I received this message, I was in tears. I had been trying so hard to keep this struggle with my son locked up in my heart and had forced myself to keep moving. With his condition hanging over me, I secretly worried whether I could truly encourage other women when I was not breaking through myself.

So, when Sensei said that this worry of mine, which weighed so heavily on me, was “nothing to worry about,” I understood that he was urging me to become strong and to open up my life condition.

Prayer impacts the entire universe. The greatest expression of love is prayer.

After that, I realized that it was my son who had been struggling the most. And I determined to simply chant for him and not feel so impatient about seeing a change in him. I would trust my prayer and my son. Interestingly, as soon as I took on this newfound attitude, my son began to change.

Because of Sensei’s great compassion and my own change of heart, my son felt at ease somehow. And he began to improve one step at a time.
Sometime later, he wrote me a letter for my birthday, which read:

To my mother, whose smile represents her exactly. Happy birthday! You are always laughing. I have been saved by your smile so many times. I can’t express how much I was helped, how strong I felt because of your support. I can’t fully express my appreciation. With your wonderful smile, please continue illuminating our family, the Soka Gakkai and the world.

After that, my son pursued his passion and became an animator. Now, he teaches at a school that specializes in animation. He was also featured on TV last June! And, a few years ago, he represented Japan as part of a government-sponsored exchange with China!

Because my son faced that struggle, I, too, was able to face myself and use that challenge as an opportunity to deepen my prayer. I feel I have grown into a person who can genuinely empathize with parents who have struggles with their children.

I am full of appreciation. Nothing is wasted in faith. We can use every single thing as fuel for our growth and happiness. This is my conviction! WT

My Journey to Repay My Debt of Gratitude

Never Defeated, Together With Sensei