The Boys and Girls Association leaders’ first meeting of the year was held on January 27 in the Home of the Parent with limited attendance.
The participants were told that the association had adopted the same guideline for association activities as last year, namely, “Let’s implement the Joyous Life each day and convey to children the joy it brings.” The concrete goals set for 2021 are the following three: (1) “Let’s visit our churches with children; (2) Let’s do hinokishin with children; and (3) “Let’s use resources such as Sansai (the association’s monthly magazine on parenting, available only in Japanese) and Ritoru magajin (the association’s monthly magazine for children, also available only in Japanese).
The meeting began with a talk by Director-in-Chief of Religious Affairs Yoichiro Miyamori. He said that it would always be necessary to make changes in order to meet the needs of changing times while at the same time ensuring that the true meaning of the association’s mission remains uppermost in our minds. After outlining the beginnings of the Boys and Girls Association, Rev. Miyamori went on to add: “The role of parents and the family in this regard is to impart their faith to their children, starting in early childhood. We would do well to take stock of our attitudes, asking ourselves whether or not we are leaving it up to others to provide guidance and care for our children, assuming, for example, that attending a school in the Home of the Parent will automatically lead to them learning to follow the path.”
Then referring to the present challenges posed by COVID-19, he encouraged the association’s adult leaders—many of whom are parents—to perform the service and administer the Sazuke in their salvation work in a way that imparts to children a sense of hard work and joy experienced in striving for God’s blessings. Director-in-Chief Miyamori also urged his listeners to increase their efforts to guide and nurture other adult leaders, helping them to set such an example for children.
Chairperson Isaku Nishida then explained the activity guideline and concrete goals, saying that, in light of the current difficulties in organizing events such as church sleepovers, he would like to encourage and promote faith practices carried out in everyday life, practices that are more basic and fundamental than the sort of organized activities whose importance has often been emphasized in previous years. He explained: “We can, for instance, visit our churches to worship with our children or perform some acts of hinokishin with our children. If we can ensure that the spiritedness that comes from our joyous sense of gratitude for God’s blessings and from our wish to make repayment to God rubs off on our children, we can help build the important foundation that will allow them to grow spiritually into Yoboku in the future.”
Chairperson Nishida also encouraged his listeners to use resources such as the association’s publications and YouTube channel (which are available only in Japanese) to help them nurture and guide children.
He added that the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba is under review.