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.
Its easy to be our own worst critic but difficult to be our greatest ally. When you have the opportunity to build yourself up or tear yourself down most people take the easiest route and go negative. If we loved ourselves unconditionally for the unique and awesome person we are the ability to love others freely would be simple. There will never be another you. There will never be another right now. There will never be a perfect moment or a "if only" that will make everything better. It is is all on your shoulders and whatever awesome sauce you bring today, I hope you brought enough for the whole class. Start small so you can go big and acknowledge your progress on your new adventure in learning to love and accept yourself. If you don't think you can do it your probably right, but if you believe the opposite than your right as well. The choice will always be yours and yours alone.
I think I may have heard that statement a million times in my teenage years, but they were right. In my recent Facebook post I talked about the power of meditation. Now before you roll your eyes or tune me out make sure you google famous people that use meditation. I'll wait.........................and there you go. If you have a lame excuse why you can't spend 10 minutes a day on meditation I think you should hang on to that excuse with all that you got. There are probably bigger problems to tackle then, stress reduction, physical and mental health, more energy, being kinder, letting little things go, loving your family more and so on. In fact I would guess that what ever you are facing keeps you successfully stuck in a painful yet comfortable situation and meditation would only move you beyond that comfortableness. Just food for thought. I will now remove my tongue from my cheek and get off my soap box so I can meditate.
I used to get jealous of others success when I was younger. In fact I used to think that successful people were super smart, or even worse they were given their "success". As I have grown as a person I have learned that their is enough success for everyone. In fact if some else can do it that means so can I. To even take it to another level, I have become excited to see other people grow and reach their dreams. Another persons success means that the only thing to ever stop me will be me. If you really are passionate about what you do and it provides a benefit to others than you have a great start to following your ambitions and dreams. Their are plenty of good ideas and services left in the world and the energy you bring to them will set you apart. Being jealous is never a good option, but the lessons we learn from our short comings are. As the old adage goes life doesn't happen to us, life happens for us.
I hope I am not the only one that feels this way! This last week in class we worked on a special Mat Chat called "Organization". Kind of a weird topic when it comes to martial arts, but a super important topic on succeeding in life. I used the analogy of wanting to open a donut shop on Mars. We tried to figure out everything we would need to start our business. A rocket ship, air, customers, donut mix, employees and on and on until we came up with every idea possible for our new venture. We then started to prioritize the most important things we would need first and it was pretty epic to see how my students think. In the end we related the topic to life and our future. We talked about how they can do amazing things in their life. We covered how to learn from others success and about starting small to learn how to grow big. The path became clear when we were specific in what we wanted to do and the people and business that could help us. Organization is not about shoes or pots and pans, but can also be about laying out our dreams in an order we can achieve them. In the end I saw everyone in class pick up on the idea that anything is possible!
Everybody has a bad day or so I have been told. I happened upon a really great article the other day that gave me new perspective on those bad days. Maybe it's not the whole day thats bad. Maybe it's just a few minutes of bad followed by a whole day of thinking about it? Often times it can be easier to latch on to one event and measure the rest of the day by it's impact. I think about all those brain freezes I used to get in the summer as a kid as I tried to eat a Slurpee at high speed. Now that definitely did not deter me from ever liking cold things again. Instead I think it took many more attempts for me to learn my lesson on how I react to high fructose fun and brain pain! The outcome of your emotions is always up to you. We have all had those moments of embarrassment or going splat in public only to have a friend seconds later making us laugh uncontrollably about our latest comedy routine (all while we are still in pain mind you). It's a choice how we react and how we behave in any moment. With that said we can turn on a dime to make our mood better for everyone at anytime. What magical powers we have at our fingertips during a bad day!
Today at our beautiful school I was cleaning the floors and bathrooms making sure it was the best it could be before class when my mind started to wander. I often find this type of work relaxing and meditative. I know weird right, but for me I can't relax until all the work is done and I give myself permission to stop. It's just my thing. I don't expect my family or friends to do the same or even understand. Its just my thing. As I was mopping I started to think about how this relates to our students and their future success. My students will meet many people over their lifetime that they will believe have their best interest in mind and some how be let down by those people. The drive to succeed has to be nurtured and a path laid out that they can go alone at some point. The old saying that leaders are born is not true in anyway shape or form. Leaders are made. Everyone has the potential to be a leader in different ways and in different industries. Hard work is not enough. Everyone works hard, but hustle is kind of a secret ingredient. For 25 years I have worked two jobs just so I could do what I love. Thats hustle my friends. Hard work is the act of doing your job to the best of your ability everyday. Hustle is the willingness to do everything and anything it takes to follow your dreams. I have hustle and so do my students. At some point in everyones training they decide to reevaluate if martial arts is right for them. The reason some one may have started martial arts at my school is learn karate, but the reason they stay is because they have that desire within themselves to be better than the norm. This can't be taught but instead encouraged. The world has changed and now everyone has a college degree working at the local ice cream shop. Thats the norm. When I was young that made you a superstar right off the bat. So what are you willing do to help yourself and your child succeed? I know what I will try and teach the students that stay with me. These students will have that secret ingredient they found for themselves, hustle.
Brent Tibbetts (Me)