After many years working closely with parents and educators, one observation has really struck me more and more with time.
We need to develop much, much stronger kids!
Not necessarily physically stronger. What I am referring to is that mental toughness, and resilience, which enables our children to power through adversity and independently problem solve without emotional devastation…To not quit at the first sign of resistance, or to look for and do the things that are difficult. A great example was this past weekend watching our Jr. students grade for their Black Belts. More specifically at the end of the grading as each student struggled and pushed through the spirit training (a more intense experience at the black belt level), refusing to go down or give up, it became clear to me, and reinforced what I always suspected…. MORAL or "INNER" victories build character. Choosing to do what is difficult, or correct when it would be easy to follow along or excuse your way around it. It is in the process of struggle, hardship, and failure we develop perseverance, grit and MENTAL TOUGHNESS. You can't turn coal into diamonds without intense pressure!!
The world is changing, and the rate of change is increasing rapidly. Our children are under much more stress and anxiety, but most times, it is the wrong kind of stress. I feel they need more of the good kinds of stresses.
A few recent changes I have noticed that illustrate this point:
First and foremost is comparison and performance based stress...I call this the ultimate thief of joy!!! I notice, now more than ever, the immense pressure put on children to get into University, to get not just good grades, but near perfect grades, the pressure to make certain sports teams, to be better than everyone else etc etc. Having role models and striving to reach new levels is excellent... Your success relative to theirs, is an unfair comparison.
Second…..Have you noticed our streets and schools are choked each morning and afternoon with the cars of parents “chauffeuring” their children to and from school each day. Whatever happened to walking to and from school each day?? Hahaha remember when your dad used to say..."When I was your age I had to walk 5 miles to school every day....up hill both ways!!! In certain cases an exaggeration, but we got the point. They thought we had it soft. I believe even more so these days than ever!
“Where are all the paperboys?” Remember when the newspaper was delivered by young boys, and girls wanting to work and earn money?
Finally…..Why are our neighbourhood streets empty after school? Kids today seldom play outside anymore. Many stay inside their homes or backyards, or have their parents arrange “play dates” with other moms to bring children together outside of school.
Mainly due to technology, and unknowingly over protecting our children they may be getting everything too quick and too easy. We come to their rescue and do everything for them including solving their problems, and doing the work they should do (I was certainly guilty of this until I discovered it was contrary to the best interest of our son’s development). Who can blame us though, we want the best for our children, but remember this “You want your child to live a good life, not an easy life!” and that includes learning to cope with failure, and hardship.
Have an amazing week
Keiko Karate – “Actually we do make Ninjas and Superheroes here………………we turn kids into Ninjas and we turn their parents into their superheroes!”