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Kids are the Key

“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”

-Socrates

Throughout history, each generation has made claims that the next generation of kids were unappreciative, rude, lacked value, etc. I hear it all the time. That is definitely the “glass half- empty” approach.

I, on the other hand, whether by wiring or by decision or both, am an optimist. I prefer to be. I choose to look for the good in people, whether they are adults or children.

Throughout my years as an instructor and coach, I have realized that parents will do more for their kids than they will do for themselves. There are many parents who started their children in martial arts (or other sports and venues) because they never had the opportunity to do it themselves when they were kids. They missed out on events that they are now making sure their children don’t miss out on.

As great as that is, it also has both a positive and negative outcome. In the positive, it is an opportunity to expose children to diverse groups, learn teamwork, strive for personal excellence, learn self-discipline and goal setting and a thousand other life enhancing skills that go far beyond the activity that they are participating in. They learn to finish what they start. They learn to be accountable.

On the negative side, kids only know that way of life. Just like the parents were impacted by NOT having things, kids are impacted by having them. Which can easily lead to expecting things. A sense of entitlement, if you will, can emerge if it is not balanced. The burden of teaching them how to follow through and be accountable, on time, have a great attitude, etc. falls on the parents more than it does the coaches.

So, am I saying don’t provide for your kids? Of course not. Am I saying that you shouldn’t let your kids experience the things that you missed out on? No. What I am saying is to listen to you kids and pay attention to what interests them. Don’t live through them. Let them wander down the trails of curiosity and follow where it leads.

Good parents, like good teachers, find a way to teach life lessons. They use random opportunities as a catalyst for conversations. Kids learn more from experience than from lectures. Giving them the opportunity to get involved in activities that will enhance their lives while teaching them how to play well with others benefits both them and society.

Posted in Dojo Stuff

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