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2011 North American Educators' Conference
The 2011 regional educators' conference was held at the Chicago center on April 16-17. Fifteen members attended, from New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Pasadena, and Los Angeles.

The conference began with a study class about the 2011 New Year's message and the 2011 Teaching for Youth. Then we received a study class on true prayer. After lunch, we broke into
groups for an activity focused on developing lesson plans. The first day concluded with a study class on "being the change we want to see in our students." We studied the meaning of being a spirit-first educator and teachings and methods to practice spirit-first education.

On the second day of the conference, we received reports from the centers:

Many centers are holding Sunlight Activities based on the direction of the North American
region. Sunlight Activities are activities for pre-youth-group-age children. The 5-group system [parents, educators, staff, youth group, and support staff] is helping with planning and uniting in offering support. At many centers, the youth group is working with the children, some forming buddy relationships with the children, who help their youth group buddy throughout the Sunlight Activity day. Some centers plan for the children to help with planting in their yoko gardens and care of the seedlings.

Parent group meetings have been successful. Some of the activities reported were:

  • Designing half of the parents' meeting to be a study class based on the class for the children that day, and the second half devoted to discussion of challenges parents face, utilizing the experience of older parents who are devoted to spirit-first training for their children
  • Offering a united prayer for educators, parents, and children before the Sunlight Activity and a special prayer for each educator at the center's educators' meeting.

In the afternoon of the second day, we viewed an inspirational video, followed by discussion on the topic of "How can we be so that we are inspirational with our children?"

Participants came up with individual resolutions for practice:
   1.  Say one nice thing to students privately and speak words of encouragement.
   2.  Be a role model and an inspiration to the children
   3.  Encourage school staff members to be more positive in their lives
   4.  Don't put too high expectations on the children and remain positive
   5.  Place yourself in the place/shoes of children and listen to their needs 1st and then offer solution. Don't be arrogant
   6.  Smile daily
   7.  Get proper sleep
   8.  Having a consistent daily practice of the teachings
   9.  Hold tight (maintain) to your motivation throughout the day
   10.  Communicate well
   11.  Practice gratitude - don't be discouraged
The assistant regional director concluded the conference by thanking everyone for all our great efforts in service. He reminded us that spirit-first practice is step by step and that there is always room for reflection and our own learning. It is really about our heart to deepen our practice step by step and attain divine nature

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