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5 Keys to Raising Young People

Photo by MoMo Productions / Getty Images.

In The New Human Revolution, vol. 12, pp. 30–32, responding to a question from a leader, Ikeda Sensei elucidates essential points for fostering youth. He addresses the topic from various angles and ultimately concludes: “What matters is that we look after the youth as if they were our younger siblings. Young people will not develop in an organization that is cold and heartless” (p. 32). Here are five key points drawn from this scene.

We must trust and respect youth. It is wrong to treat them as subordinates simply because they haven’t been practicing for very long, or because they’re younger. We need to be firmly determined to support them in becoming even more capable than ourselves, empowering them to fully develop their potential.

We need to help them gain a thorough understanding of the basic thinking and behavior of a leader of kosen-rufu. The only way to really do this is through experience. Theoretical comprehension and practical application are two very separate things. For example, simply being cognizant of the necessity for swift, effective action in the event of an earthquake or fire does not mean that we will actually do what’s required when the time comes. We need actual, hands-on training.

In fostering youth we need to entrust them with specific assignments and give them opportunities to take the lead. It is by taking responsibility and accumulating experience that people develop their talents. If we don’t provide youth with opportunities to challenge themselves, they will never grow. We may, however, feel compelled to step in or take over, thinking that it would be easier or more expeditious to do things ourselves. … But leaders need to have the magnanimity to take full responsibility even if the youth make mistakes.

If we simply tell the youth to do this or that without guiding them, it’s as if we’re waiting for them to fail. First, we ourselves have to take action and set an example, and then we can give them the responsibility, encouraging them all the while. Of course, it’s important to bring any problems to their attention, as well as to set new targets for them. Above all else, however, we must give them hope and the confidence that they can definitely succeed if they put their minds to it.

Youth is a time of facing various struggles, a time when people start to think about the future and things like getting married. When burdened with worries, people cannot freely display their abilities. We therefore need to carefully listen to the youth, discuss their problems with them and inspire them to use their hardships as a springboard for deepening their faith.

February 16, 2024, World Tribune, p. 10-11

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