A parent recently participated in our Creating a Resilient Family session and was inspired to write a great piece on the topic and how he teaches it to his family. Have a read!
Raising kids is a struggle. While doubting my parenting abilities, I still hope to do a better job than my parents did raising me. I have mental notes, checkmarks behind “Things I will definitely NOT do” that my parents did. And NOT continuing some of the familial patterns of the past has been a good thing. For example, there is no dogmatic religiosity in my family, and as a result I believe my children are more open minded and accepting of diverse groups of people and perspectives. Our family’s simple motto is abide by the golden rule, “Treat Others How You Would Like To Be Treated.” A gentle reminder here and there over the years seems to work whenever the kids’ behavior is a bit out of step. But there has been another ingredient that, as I have experienced first-hand, that is needed. That is the development, and practice of putting the kids in situations that build their resiliency. Martial Arts has served as a vehicle in providing such experiences that translate well into other endeavors my kids are and will pursue in their future.
Let me explain. Martial Arts is more than two half naked men in a cage looking to blast one another into an unconscious state. (Though I cannot deny that is one aspect of the art). Today we have access to a never-ending stream of short video clips with the ease of a swipe. Amazing feats of athleticism, and skill by gymnasts, dancers, boxers, painters, etc. display their talents for the world to view in awe. They are “experts” in their field. Sure, there are those with incredible “god-given” talent, but most know and are repeatedly exposed to the fact that it takes consistent action, dedication, repetition, and grit day in and day out to build up to achieving such incredible abilities. It sounds cliché, this is not new or some profound insight I’m pretending to eschew, however, it is one thing to “know” this, like bubbling in the right answer on a test, but it is a completely different thing to absorb it into your bones, psyche through immersing oneself into practice of such a discipline.
At the age of five my daughter started karate. Through the years she slowly, methodically earned her way up, one belt rank at a time, and has a Junior Black Belt. Instructors would emphasize the rule of 10,000, practicing something repeatedly until mastery could be obtained. They engrained into the kids’ mind the benefits of consistency in attendance, celebrating small wins, all while never losing sight of one’s greater goal, achieving the illustrious Black Belt. It is no small feat. There were moments my daughter wanted to give up. Frequent battles of attrition were waged inside my car, parked in front of the studio before right before the start of class. My pouting “little princess” would come up with many, nearly convincing, creative excuses for missing class. I had to play the role of stern dad, yet try to stay encouraging. I’d win frequently enough. (It helped that I had the keys to the car). She would relent, occasionally some bartering would take place, and go to class. Without fail, once class was over, she’d walked out sweaty with flushed rosy red cheeks and a betraying smile of her sense of accomplishment for pushing through in that moment of discomfort. She’s going to be fifteen in a few days, and has aspirations of attending University in New York and dreams of making it on Broadway. I believe in my daughter, and more importantly she knows first hand the benefits of consistency and pushing through in moments of discomfort in the pursuit of higher goals, thanks in no small part through the practice of Martial Arts.
Join our next Creating a Resilient Family session and talk with a coach and other parents about how you face and respond to your challenges, and how you can teach your children to do so.