I believe that most parents work very diligently to teach their children to know and understand right from wrong. So why... when we work so hard to to help our children understand the difference, do our children still do the wrong thing? It isn't that we've failed to teach them the difference between right and wrong... they know it. The struggle is in getting them to choose to do right instead of wrong.
Sounds obvious right? Tell me something I DON'T know! Well, yes, every parent understands that Self-Discipline is Vital, but not everyone understands exactly what Self-Discipline TRULY is which means they don't really know how to help a young child develop it.
Doing the wrong thing often has immediate payoffs that doing the right thing does not. Putting off homework to play video games comes with the immediate gratitication of doing a fun activity. Choosing the "right" action of taking care of their school reponsibilities has a nebuluous "it will be important someday" reward. Or what about the child who stands by and watches as a friend gets bullied. The "right" thing to do is help their friend, but standing up in the face of peer pressure or even the fear of physical danger can make it difficult to choose to do the right thing. It isn't that they don't know right from wrong, but choosing it in real time is more difficult.
So how do you get your child, who knows right from wrong, to make the choice to what is right? During this block of karate we are studying the Bear Posture. Bear is grounded in principle and mental toughness. Building a solid foundation of character and values is the beginning of helping your child to actively choose right over wrong. Here are some tangible steps you can take to help your child develop that foundation.
Be A Role Model - If you behave consistently your child will learn from you. If you are consistent in your words and actions your children will see you that you "walk the talk". If you have "situational ethics" and what is right or wrong changes based on circumstances, then don't be surprised if your child demonstrates situational eithics as well. You can't "not teach". Children will listen to what you say, but more importantly they will watch what you do.
Discuss Application Of Values - It is important to talk to your kids about things before they happen. Discuss with them how different choices will result in different outcomes. Providing them with scenarios ahead of time allows them to make advanced decisions about how they will behave in a given situation. Talking to them about things that have already happened allows them to learn from their experiences and explore alternative options and their potential outcomes.
Provide Boundaries - Have certain "values" that are non-negotiable. You can't enforce everything all the time. Trying to do so results in an environment where children know they can never live up to your expectations so they stop trying. But there should be some "non-negotiable" values. Define them clearly and explain to your children why those are important to you. For example... it is one thing to say that integrity is important. It is another thing to define it. Is integrity "telling the truth" or does it also involve action. Do you have integrity if you tell the truth but don't follow rules? Again... if you have situational ethics, don't be surprised if your children are confused about what values actually matter.
Consistent Environment - Keep your children involved with people, activities, and friends that demonstrate the values you are trying to promote. Activities like karate and religious education will often support and reinforce the values you are trying to teach. Monitor who they spend their time, who and what has influence over their thinking, and what they are reading and watching on TV, the internet and social media.
Remember... as your 3T Karate Family we are here to help you achieve the goals you have for your children. Continue to work toward helping your children understand the difference between right and wrong and toward choosing right over wrong on their own. Your martial arts family will be there to support you along they way.
Dao, also spelled Tao, is a very important concept in ancient Chinese thought. It is often translated as "the way" or "the path," but these words do not do justice to the true meaning. In English we use the word `way' to describe concepts like course, method, manner, mode, means, practice, fashion, technique or style. These tend to lead us to believe that way is a method of action, but in Chinese thought, non-action is of equal importance in the dao.
The other commonly used term is "path" and can be equally misleading. For example, one might inquire "the way to Denver", and yet the path could be a multitude of responses. Responses could range from head north on I-25 to giving specific latitude and longitude coordinates.
Those that understand the backwoods of Colorado understand that there many types of paths one follows in the wild, as well as many different methods of marking those paths so others can follow. The art and science of tracking animals and other humans that have gone down a path ahead of you is an art and science unto itself. Yet those of us who study this method soon find that the natural paths created by nature’s engineers, like the deer and sheep, are the most economical and easiest to use when traveling. It seems most animals are very in tune with nature and automatically follow the dao.
In problem solving, we usually brainstorm and identify several ways to solve a specific challenge, and then try to select the best way. While there are many solutions that will work, we assume that there is one course of action that is better than all the others. This one method would include every little detail of this particular course. This one best method could be described as the dao.
Many times the word dao or do is added to another word to describe a new concept. For example, jiang dao is the word for "to preach" or "to speak the dao". In Japanese language the concept of dao is translated as do and is used in many of the martial arts to describe the total aspect of the way of their martial art. For example, judo, karate-do, or kendo, implies that their martial art form is a complete and well thought out art form that includes aspects of mental, physical and spiritual training.
Lao Tzu once stated that the dao that can be explained is not the dao. This is in reference to the idea of the dao is a constant and changing thing, and one can experience it, and use that experience to understand it, but if you try to study or analyze it, it is no longer the dao. Take for example the martial arts teacher or student. It is impossible to teach students to defend themselves against an attacker in the street, because combat is alive and constantly changing. Yet we can share principles and concepts that may enable the student to go with the flow and adapt to a specific situation, and increase his ability to find the proper path at that time.
This leads us to the concept of karate-do; the way of karate. Many people believe that the path is different for each of us, but has common roots. This is why we spend time to working on goal setting and values clarification with our students. Your path must be congruent with your personal values and goals, and only then will your karate training begin to experience the do aspect.
The path of karate-do is hard to explain and even harder to experience. Each of us needs to find a good Sensei (one who has walked before), to help guide us down this path and to remind us when we step off the path. I can assure new students that the benefits of self-confidence, higher self-esteem and the overall success they will experience in their life because of this journey will be well worth it, but it is they who must keep putting one foot in front of the other along the path of black belt excellence. As you begin or continue along your path in karate-do, I wish you the very best in your journey and hope your journey is as blessed as mine has been and more.
Because the warrior deals with life and death situations, he understands the concept of one encounter – one chance. He understands that not knowing the difference between real or false, or allowing himself unconsciously to be weakened by negative ideas, thoughts or actions, or even weak training habits, can be the difference between life and death.
A true warrior understands that life or death is totally his responsibility. He can never rely on someone else possibly showing up to help.
Thus, the training we do every day – mental, physical and spiritual -- will be the foundation for success on the battlefield and in life.
For the warrior or the sincere martial artist, personal responsibility is not an option. It is 100% mandatory. Where you will be tomorrow is directly dependent on what you do today. Successful people take a high degree of responsibility over their lives, and there is a direct correlation between a feeling of self-control and high self-esteem.
Success has been defined as having the greatest number of positive experiences over the longest period of time. Responsible people are proactive in making those experiences happen. Make it a point today to take responsibility for your own life and get away from blaming others for anything.