Aloha, thank you for your participation in our monthly service today. I'm sure God the Parent and Oyasama have appreciated our efforts today.
October marks the time in which the teaching of Tenrikyo has been revealed through Oyasama, Miki Nakayama. Everyday, I try to reflect on my actions as a follower of Tenrikyo and see if it coincides with the Divine Model that Oyasama has demonstrated. Through her life, Oyasama has demonstrated extreme kindness and understanding even at a young age. But this is not where her Divine Model begins. It is actually the time after being received as shrine that marks her years of being a Divine Model.
Again, my messages are often reflections of my personal life, so please bear with me.
In my life roles as husband, father, teacher, and minister, I often reflect if what I am doing is what I should be doing. When I began teaching, I was 20 and I was very idealistic and wanted to be the students' friend. I wanted them to be comfortable with me so that we could all move forward and create the best band/orchestra/chorus, or whatever else I was teaching. This was all destroyed in one day of teaching as the students were unruly, noisy, and inattentive. This caused me to become an overly-strict teacher. This is not necessarily bad, but it is not a normal trait that I have. I really am uncomfortable with confrontations, so being this strict caused me some health issues. Not to mention that I became the "scary teacher." To be honest, I still am the "scary teacher" but now it's not so much that I yell or discipline, but more because the students do not know what to expect from me.
In any case, the transition from overly-strict teacher to the strict-because-it-makes-sense teacher... well at least to me... happened, and is still happening due to reading the life of Oyasama.
In the many anecdotes of Oyasama and events depicted in the Life Of Oyasama, she often demonstrates patience through her guidance. One example that sticks in my head was to thank one of the lazy workers for his hard work. In Japanese, she is saying, "gokurosama." Eventually, the lazy worker has a change of heart and begins to work hard. Now, I know this is rather difficult for us to follow. We understand the message, but we can't seem to bring ourselves to do this, as we can't be sure that human beings would really change for the better. But I actually have brought myself to do this. My reasoning is that I care for the students to gain better skills and get a "good grade" from my class, but I can't force them, and perhaps it is better that they learn the hard way if they insist on being lazy. So in other words, I thank them for their "hard work" even if they don't work hard. I give them the same opportunities, and compliment on what they are doing well, if anything, but not lie. I also tell the class in general the reasons why things are done a certain way. Then I give them the grade they deserve. Most of the time, the lazy students become concerned and try to better themselves. Others take longer. Very few continue in their own ways, or they drop out of the subject area. Through this way, I have discovered that the students are more self-motivated, and the numbers of students applying for my classes have grown.
Now, just as I was very uncomfortable as the overly-strict teacher, I would not expect everyone to do it this way if they were a work supervisor or a teacher, but perhaps in our daily lives with our family and friends we could use more patience, perhaps. Having more patience does not necessarily mean we become "nicer." We can still discipline, but perhaps discipline while trying to understand, or to discipline and being okay with the idea that they are learning. We are also taught that everything we see is a reflection of ourselves.
In this month of October, and any other month as well, let us see how we can become closer to Oyasama, and reflect upon what we do.