So before you poo poo this idea of choosing your emotions let me say this, it's true. We have all heard a joke before and some of our friends laugh and some give the obligatory chuckle and others go into fits of over the top hysterics. In the end it was a joke right. Same goes for watching a movie. A sad part comes on during the movie and some of us roll our eyes at the predictability and other weep with a sense of attachment as if it was happening to them. Still a choice right, to feel a certain way based on an event or circumstance. Think about it terms of the weather. We can't choose how the weather will be today unless you have some power I have yet to cultivate. Regardless it will make some people extremely happy and others mad that we are getting snow, rain or even sunshine again. How that person reacts or doesn't react is a choice. Perspective may not work for us 24 hours a day but it doesn't mean the 5 minutes of bad weather (insert metaphor) should ruin a whole day. Now I am going to happily go change my flat tire.....again!
Last week I did video blog about is your child coachable? I received a lot of feedback from students and parents. Usually students rarely watch those videos so it was refreshing to hear them say that they "saw me" on Facebook. The idea of the video was giving your child the mindset to succeed by learning to be mentored. Many times children take instruction or corrections as criticism. This form of "help" becomes like a callus. A callus is something that builds up from friction and repeated use. It's meant to protect the area that could be damaged by repeated use. This allows for removal from the pain from a child's perspective. At home it leads to acting out or even the opposite action of isolation. The key is to get the child to understand that you are on their side. You want to be the passenger in life while they are on their journey, someone that is just along for the ride. Every now and then we break out the map to ask where we are going. Maybe we ask a question, get excited about the possibilities, ask their opinion or for ideas. After they trust you and they believe that you are part of the journey (not hijacking or steering it) and then and only then does mentoring at this age have a chance. Try to soon its an attack on them and it hurts. If you try mentor to late then they are set in their ways and already know better. in case you are unsure how we do it our school we use the trust method. We plant an idea. We tell them they can reach a little goal first. We adjust and set a new goal. After a while we have momentum and they ask for advice and help because their goal is important and they know that I am only their as a passenger. It works you really well and you may want to give it a try. It's a long slow process but thats part of awesomeness of being a parent and teacher.
If you know me then you know that I am a pretty forward looking person. I am always excited for whats coming and what I can do to make things even better. 2018 without a doubt is going to be an incredible year! I am so grateful for 2017 and the lessons and growth that earned and learned. Sometimes in life we get tested and that is never easy. Finding our way back can be even harder. For me I know that I can do just about anything with my wife and daughter by my side. The laughter and love that we all share gives me strength in moments of doubt and struggle. I wish you all the same inner strength and supportive family going forward in 2018!
I hope you have an amazing holiday season this year! We are doing some pretty awesome things to celebrate family, friends and having fun. We are doing an American Ninja Warrior Camp or Olde Fashioned Game Night or even our testing in late December it's all geared towards being together. Being together is what makes us appreciate each other even more. It's pretty amazing that many of us come from all walks of life but have one goal and that's to be our best. So this holiday season enjoy each others unique gifts and abilities and understand that we are all trying to do our best with what we have. So no matter what you celebrate or don't celebrate this holiday season I wish you the best.
I know super controversial but not the way I am going to talk about it. Regardless of how you feel about the history of Thanksgiving it's important to know that how we perceive it toady in our current culture is a bit askew. The fact that we have to have a day of reflection to remember our blessings seems odd to me. If it's a time to gather family together and celebrate the beginning of the holiday season that seems odd to me too. I firmly believe that we need to live in the present. Tomorrow as they say is never promised. If you are not living daily with gratitude and spending time with your loved ones often then it's time to reflect on what's important. Value isn't a reflection of worth. The priceless memories I have stored in my noggin are probably the simplest most spontaneous moments that just happened because I was engaged and present in the moment. If your trying to create a memory you should rethink your position. Creating is done because the thing you desire is not present. Living is what we do effortlessly because that's what we are here in this moment to do. Think about the moments you share and make those the memories that endure. I hope you have a day that you are grateful for because of the priceless interactions and joyful celebration of just being together not because the calendar said so.
In our area there are some awesome martial arts schools. We are pretty lucky to have so many talented people in such a small area. I know that people often want to compare one school to another and have that sort of pride about where they train. It's a slippery slope though. We all teach the same kicks, blocks and punches for the most part. I would even dare to say that we all try and teach the same values that make martial arts so great. Every now and then I will hear some rumblings of students that are unhappy and glad they found us. That to me is really cool in the fact that they love martial arts so much to continue it just wasn't the right fit. Just remember there is plenty of room for great schools in Spokane and each one has something to offer. Schools will come and go and that's for variety of reasons such as lack of business skills, ego, poor customer service and so on. Don't judge anyone on technique or about teaching instead get back to me in 20 years and see what sort of people were produced from their martial arts training.
I have been very blessed to have some great mentors and coaches in my life. Now some were amazing people and martial artists and others were well, were not so good. They each taught me lessons on what was possible. Both groups the good and the bad had a positive contribution on my personal growth and development. Sometimes when you have something in your life that is so opposing to your goals you can't help but to work harder to move on from it. Sometimes you learn more in a single lesson than in a year of training. It goes like that. We look for the home run each time we get a chance to shine. Instead we should look for lessons in our failures and our foibles. Those are the lessons that sting the most but move us forward to what we really wan. Either way we still learn.
I remember the days of doing a potluck dinner after each belt testing and that was pretty cool. After a while we did bowling and movies but they were really hard to organize. About 5 years ago we decided to try something a bit different and try a nerf themed game night. We ran secret missions and had target practice and it was awesome! We since expanded those ideas to other types of monthly events and every now and then friends can attend. Many karate schools use these type of events to network for new students. We instead use it as an event to build a stronger rapport with our students and parents. I look at it as our students are family and not a source of limitless connections to other potential students. It may not make sense in the world of business but it does make sense when I know that what I am doing is more than an activity and is something special. We have two more camps before the end of the year! You should try one they are so much fun!
Our students are pretty special to us. In fact they are like family and we treat them as such. When a student comes into our class and signs up their first assignment is a task sheet that teaches them responsibility around their home. Parents love this idea and we love it because it teaches gratitude and responsibility right off the bat. Those are values everyone should share and appreciate and it makes sense to start there when teaching martial arts. I hope that making them aware that this activity is very special and involves much more than just kicking and punching from the start has an impact. When we teach class the goal is to bring out the best in the student and making them aware that they can do whatever they want in life through hard work, integrity and dedication. This is requires a lot of fun and a positive attitude throughout this goal setting process. I often smile to myself as I watch our students grow and gain more confidence in who they are and their abilities. To me that is great part about marital arts and the best part of being a teacher.
This is one of the toughest question a parent has to answer. The majority of parents that I have had to talk to or call about bullying my daughter were shocked. The parents listened to what happened to my daughter during the conversation 90% of the time they apologize, have their child apologize and it never happens again. Now please understand that when I call a parent that means we have worked on this issue as a family for a bit. We have let our daughter handle it and we have given her advice and when it gets to this point of calling it means that we need to have this stop immediately. Like I mentioned above that usually take cares of the situation and we each go along with our lives. My daughter is not engage or tease (she wouldn't) the child that was being inappropriate but instead they are given a fresh start. To some folks we may look like we are being naive but it's quite the opposite. We are doing what's right when other people may be wrong. After all we all make mistakes and sometimes they warrant a second chance......sometimes. Very rarely do we have a child come to our school that is a bully. When a bully does enter our school we lay down the rules about martial arts the first class like we do for all students. At that point if they really love being in class it is their responsibility to show me that they deserve to be there and that the past is just that, the past. When a child won't change they work themselves out of the program pretty quickly because personal growth and responsibility can not be hidden from me for long. Our success for changing peoples lives has little to do with me and more to do with the person that wanted to change. Since I believe that love and kindness are the cure for almost everything a child may struggle with I lead with the option of better choices for a better life. So if your child is a bully the most important thing you can do is to be honest with yourself and not make excuses for inappropriate behavior so you can help fix it and not add to the problem. Until next time Master T