My biggest parenting mantra is that it is my job to help my children find out what they are passionate about and to help them nurture those passions. Whether it is a team sport, an individual sport, the arts, the boy scouts or something else, I believe that the hours after school are theirs and will sign them up for activities they want to try.
When my oldest was just three a new karate dojo opened down the road from our home. This particular martial arts school had a second location in the area with a terrific reputation. Though my son could not enroll until three and a half, he would continually ask me to drive by the dojo just so he could see the sign, anxious for the day he could attend his first class.
Today, he is a few weeks shy of getting his junior black belt.
I have spent six years in that dojo, watching the school and it’s instructors grow and develop in much the same way as they have watched my son. Slightly skeptical at first, I quickly saw that this particular karate school focuses on the mind as much as the body. They were not advocating violence, but rather teaching kids how to avoid it by building up both their self-confidence and self-defense skills. So while we both drank the Kool-Aid a long time ago, it is in the last year or so when I have really seen just how much this experience has shaped him into the person he is today.
There are so many lessons that we parents want to teach our children. Most kids, however, rarely hear what their parents are saying, simply because we are their parents. Instead they seek out role models. Sometimes they find these role models in teachers, coaches, cousins, on television or even in a dojo.
5 Life Lessons from the Dojo:
- You can achieve your goals, but know you will have to work for them. It is a great lesson for kids to learn that reaching goals may not come easily or quickly in life, but that does not mean they shouldn’t keep reaching.
- As you work towards your long-term goals, be patient and appreciate the accomplishments you make along the way. Celebrate those accomplishments and use them as motivation to keep striving for more.
- You have everything you need right now to be successful. People, both young and old, create a path to success the moment they start believing in themselves.
- You can find success with persistence and determination, yet there are always more goals you can set for yourself. You can always keep learning and reaching for more.
- You determine how to live your life. Continue to choose positivity, determination, gratefulness and humility.
I am certainly not here to say that karate or martial arts should be in every child’s future. I do not believe that all role models are the same or that each child will find their passions and receive all their life lessons in one place. Yet on this Motivation Monday, when I think of the life lessons my son has learned at the age of nine, I am thankful that he dragged me past that dojo so many years ago. Apparently I have learned a thing or two as well.
That Kool-Aid sure is sweet.