Meet Takafumi Mashiko, former president of CARP NJIT. Without much training, Takafumi stepped up into the leadership position. Humble and caring, Takafumi championed living for the sake of others in his time as president.
Hello, my name is Takafumi Mashiko, and I was the president of CARP at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) from 2017 to 2018. CARP has helped me meet people who saved my life, and I want to endlessly appreciate the founders, Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, former CARP America president, Naokimi Ushiroda, CARP President, Teresa Rischl, former CARP coaches, Neil Rischl and Justin Okamoto, and CARP mentors, Naoko Hiraki, Akira Watanabe, and Atsushi Takino. Without them, there would be no CARP community, and without them, I wouldn’t be standing here or smiling.
Thank you to the National Team, my peers who have taken leadership roles, and friends. Thank you to the entire community in New Jersey, who have continuously supported CARP in various ways. In the short time I was president, I saw so many CARP leaders who literally built amazing communities with only themselves, and I’ve learned so many lessons from not only the leaders but also from the members. I can say for sure at the very least, I wouldn’t have interacted with this many people if I wasn’t part of CARP.
As for my experience as a chapter leader of CARP, one motto that I kept to myself at heart is that the best leader shows by example rather than words. It’s so true, isn’t it? If you haven’t experienced the same path yourself, how could you understand the struggles and challenges that your members are facing as they go through the same path? How could you ask someone to do something challenging if you yourself are not doing it?
Honestly speaking though, I wasn’t the best at it. It’s so challenging to keep pushing yourself to do better, to remain open to new responsibility and on top of that to have some sort of vision or plan. It was even more challenging to ask people to do what I have done. Not only because I know that I would be asking them to go through something challenging, but also because every human being has free will. It’s especially so difficult when there’s no one who is around your age who are like-minded, but I always remembered that I am standing on the shoulders of giants, who are enduring more than I have.
Perhaps it’s because I have challenged myself and have gone through a trying path, that for some reason it’s so easy for me to fall in love with people. When I see a person going out of their comfort zone, even for one second, because I know the challenge behind it, I find deep appreciation towards that person. It can be something so small like bringing water to the table or being part of the clean-up crew or reaching out to people; it can be a situation that a person is in. Anyone can tell me a small snippet of their life story, and I would not be able to stop myself from thinking about that person.
Because of this personality, sometimes, I would joke that God must have made me short so that I can always look up to people, that I can always find a good point about any person. I’m grateful to all the people that I have previously mentioned because they were the ones who really showed me what love is and taught me how to practice it. Sometimes the lessons were difficult to accept, and sometimes I didn’t want to follow them at all; but, given the option of me being comfortable and me being able to live for the sake of others, the answer was always to live for the sake of others.
One thing I learned about myself during my time as president is that my memory is good. I remember a lot of the words, actions, attitude, and the settings of many conversations I have held with different people. Whether it was one day ago or five years ago, I would remember it as if it were yesterday.
This has been a double-edge sword for me. I would remember all of the heart, love, lessons, words that people say, achievements ranging from small to large, and the good points about the person, but I would also remember all of the pain that I have caused to others, or the mistakes I have made, or regrets that I would have.
I’m grateful to be part of CARP, and my time in CARP has most definitely shaped who I am today. I was able to learn on a deeper level the heart of God and the heart of my brothers and sisters. My life is for the better, and I’m proud to have been part of CARP.