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Onegaishimasu Parents and Students,

Last week we talked about our habits becoming our identity. We also touched on teaching our children to do the reps, and follow your instruction. After working with hundreds of local children the most common question preteen and teen parents ask me is…

“How do I teach my child to work hard?”

Learning to do the reps, building habits, and forming your child’s identity is one of the most crucial skills you can teach them. Today we will talk about one of the most critical elements to an identity forged for success…. WORK ETHIC.

Let me begin with a story.  A long time ago in what feels like another lifetime I played some competitive highschool hockey in Cambridge Ontario. We had our practices every weekday morning at 7 am. And there was a player on our team who was dropped at the arena every morning at 5 am by his father. Now the arena wasn’t even open at that hour, so he sat outside in the minus 20 minus 30 degree weather waiting for the Arena attendant to open the doors at 6am…..Every Day!   The arena attendant allowed him on the ice almost a full hour before the team, and he used that time to increase his skill. He wasn’t the most talented or gifted, player on the team, and as a matter of fact I can think of a few other players that didn’t make the team who had more skill. However, I can tell you without a doubt the deciding factor in him making, and staying on the team was his work ethic. He refused to be outworked, or out hustled.  He played every shift at 100% and skated every drill at 100% every time! No matter who was watching or what the circumstance. It was an intangible skill the coaches realized everyone on the team could model themselves after and what made him so successful. By the way…..He was named an assistant captain because of it.

I remember one day in the dressing room when the coaches and players asked him how he was able to wait outside in the freezing winter for the rink to open, go on the ice every day an hour before everyone else and still go to school for a full day.

His reply… “After working the midnight shift every day at an iron foundry and going to school during the day for the past year, coming to hockey is easy.

We were barely 17 years old, and while many of our fellow students struggled just to stay in school, for him this was just fun and easy, and more importantly, the only way he knew how to live his life.

So can work ethic be learned? You bet! Both strong work ethic and the opposite, laziness/sense of entitlement, are learned habits! The next question is, "How do you teach work ethic to your child?"  Well first the bad news……It starts early!  It starts to form almost from birth. Now the good news…..You do not have to make them sit outside an arena in the middle of winter or have your child work the nightshift in an iron foundry every day to learn it. But...You do have to teach this to your child because you are really the only one that can!

Before I reveal the simple secret to developing strong work ethic, first let me tell you a question that almost all young parents ask me. This question always sends chills up my back. Should I force my child to do something they do not want to do?”

Many well intended new parents let their child learn and develop the habit of “disobedience” and “entitlement” by not listening or not wanting to do what they are told the first time, always getting what they want, not thankful for what they have, resisting everything, or always “negotiating” or asking why before they reluctantly do it.

Okay, I have forced you to wait long enough. Here is my simple secret: “At least once a day make your child do something they do not want to do!” The solution is simple. It’s simple but like everything valuable in life it is hard to apply. When was the last time your child had to do something significant that they did not want to do. Intentionally make them do it and do it often!

Next, if you really want to take your child over the top… As early as you can, make them do something that is hard…..really hard. Hardship is good. You want your child to live a good life.....That doesn't necessarily mean an easy life....At least not in the beginning.

So I hope this helps. We help parents all the time with developing hard work and discipline in their child. If you need more help or advice please give me a call or drop me an email. You do not have to be a karate student.  It is just our way of giving back to our wonderful community!

Have an amazing week. Sensei Chris And your Keiko TEAM

Keiko Karate – “Actually we do make Ninjas and Superheroes here………………we turn kids into Ninjas and we turn their parents into their superheroes!”

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