This is one of my favorite topics to challenge parents on. Now before you go and leave a bunch of comments about the importance of education and such, I ask that you open your mind for one minute. I agree that good grades are important. I would also challenge you and say that pulling your child out of activities that support positive and life changing improvement is not a punishment, but a failure to see the long game. Martial arts and the lifetime benefits of a role model is much more valuable to the success of your child in life than any bad grade your child will ever get. Here's why and see if you don't agree. Believe or not by the time your child is a teenager you are no longer the primary influence in their lives (it's their friends, media and their social life). I agree that you have to turn in your assignments, behave in class and participate in classroom discussions, those are a given. Grades on the other hand are individual and some students just can't grasp the concept taught at that time. Some students excel, some students get by and others are left behind. When it all shakes out in the wash, some people go to college and some work for others and a few start their own business. Which one is right and which one is wrong has nothing do with you as a parent anymore. Instead we are only their for guidance and support. Hopefully you kept your child surrounded by and involved in activities that prepare your child for life. Positive role models in your child's life will outlast your child's days in high school. The challenges your child will face in life will take a different skill set than they were taught in a classroom. A positive role model is a priceless advantage you can give to someone. Times will get tough and when they need to remember a life lesson to support them on how to get through it. Parents you will be glad that they had someone positive to look up to when this time comes. So the next time your child's report card looks a little dire remember that it may not be the best idea to remove them from a positive environment as a form of punishment.
So your son or daughter is having the best time ever with their friends outside and they hear those dread words. "Time to get ready for Karate!" All of a sudden the castles and dragons they built all day collapse, the adventures hit a brick wall, and the best day ever gets a cold bucket of make believe water thrown on it. All because of stupid Karate. The next statement by the child is time tested to get parents to given in and is "I don't like Karate anymore its boring" followed by the ever pliable parent way of thinking "well I don't want my child to things they don't like, even though I think it's really good for him or her." And so ends another martial arts students brief time in something thats really good for them followed by the post regret. Flash forward and in 15 years when we meet again the child now and adults says "you know I wish I wouldn't have quit I would be a Black Belt by now" statement. Now I wonder if the parents allow their child to apply that same logic to school (The teachers hate me, its boring, I try so hard but I still get bad grades) or to a job or vegetables, house work, relationships and on and on. Remember the other day when you were complaining about this generation of kids and how they don't do this or don't respect that? Well welcome to the mess you have enabled to a certain extent (insert sarcasm and loving smile). In fact we all have to certain degree including me forget to hold our ground from time to time. So you get where I am going with this right? Quitting isn't the answer nor is forcing them to do a healthy, positive, life changing activity like Karate. So what's the solution? About an hour or so before whatever the activity or event is start a countdown. You have 45 minutes until we leave for (insert whatever your going to do -Grocery Shopping-Sisters Ballet) Karate. Now that alone works pretty well but to go Master Level you need a bit more cunning. About 30 minutes before you get ready to leave you pick a chore your child hates and struggles with. You make them do it for that 30 minutes until it is done perfectly and correctly. No skimping or letting them off the hook by doing an okay job (I mean come one your getting a chore done)! If it takes longer than 30 minutes than of course they must keep doing the chore and another dreaded chore in place of going to Karate. Now when Karate is the saving grace from picking up dog you know what in the back yard in 85 degree temps for an hour its easier to get them to want to go. You could change it to reading, doing dishes, taking out garbage, vacuuming or cleaning the bathrooms. The choice is always theirs and they learn the value of budgeting time, doing chores (without pay) to help the family and perspective on things that positively impact their life. You won't get that from any other sport or activity, trust me. It doesn't take long to mold positive behavior but I can take a lifetime to correct the negative ones.
The other day I was struggling with a few things going on that I had no control of. I decide that I wanted to have this pity party all by my self and invite all my drama to free rent in my head. I knew I had to break the cycle and do something about it. Yard work always seems to be my biggest stress reliever so I decided to take on an epic rework of the yard. This included completely gutting and rebuilding the flower beds, painting, sprinklers, organizing the garage, dump runs and so much more. After 8 hours a day for a month the mammoth task was complete. I must say the Zen of being focused on a physical activity definitely did the trick. The yard looks great and the free rent I was giving to my drama is now a vacant lot with an amazing view. Just FYI I can now sit back and enjoy my summer look out hammock!
Its amazing how many people talk a good game but have little to show for it. Everything is about them and what they do or have done. In fact they barely remember your name or who you are and will gladly refresh your memory on their accomplishments at a moments notice. Do you know a person like this? I know plenty and often give the old nod and glassy eyed look as I hear more about nothing. Those people need to step up. If you step up then you are more engaged in what the other person is all about. Finding out about them not their stuff is really a great deal of fun. Its often said that small minds talk about people, events and gossip, while great minds talk about ideas. I think that their is some truth in that statement and no doubt that we all grow when we go forward in life together. So next time you meet a "Me Me" person interject an idea of serving others for the good of all and see if they follow you down this path to growth or get left behind. The company you keep either elevates or deflates the person you wish to become.
Brent Tibbetts (Me)