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Time travel – what will health allow you to do?

Health-quote-1Health is not a character skill, virtue or value.  Health is not a moral or ethic that we live by.  Health is so very important to us and our well being in body, mind and spirit.  That is why reminding our students of the need to be healthy in all aspects of their life is a part of the Balanced Life Skills Way.

Where does this mind set begin?  It begins with appreciating that we only get one body to work with and having respect for that body is shown by the way that we treat it.  Are we eating the kind of foods that will nourish us?  Are we exercising on a regular basis to stay strong, and maintain the elasticity of our muscles?  Are we sleeping enough?  That means are we getting 7-9 hours of sleep as adults and 10-12 hours for our children.

The focus with our children and students will be ‘time-traveling’ into the future – to be sure that when we are out of childhood and into adulthood, possibly with our own children, that we are healthy and able to give them good lessons in staying healthy.

What does a healthy mind, body and spirit allow us to do in our family life?  With complete health what hobbies and recreation would you like to be able to do when you are older?  How will health help you in your career? Finally will you be able to do more for others if you are healthy yourself?

We look forward to this month of reminders about health, for our students and ourselves.


Life Skills: Health – The Definition

Word of monthEach month we will discuss a life skill with all of our students. This month the word is Health.  This word will be defined in the following ways for our students.

Young students: Health means: My body is strong, my brain is sharp and I feel good!

Older students: Health means:  Wellbeing in body, mind and spirit

Each age group has a worksheet that parents can use to continue the discussion at home with their children, and one for adults to allow them to think more deeply about the skill and how it applies to them. Would you like to receive the worksheet? Stop by our studio at 133 Gibralter Avenue in Annapolis, MD and tell us the age of your child. We will give you a worksheet and invite you to watch Mr. Joe discuss the word with the students in class.  You can also follow our discussions here on this website.

If you would like to become a member of Balanced Life Skills, come TRY CLASSES FOR FREE.   We are not your typical after school activity, in fact we are an education center, working with our students on physical skills along with empowering families with compassion, awareness and respect – creating a culture of peace – through the arts.  We believe in every child and build their self – confidence.  Balanced Life Skills takes part in community service and encourages each student to do the same.


2 Questions To Guide Our Loyalty Decisions

toughdecisionsHow can we gain more loyalty in our life, from our family, friends and those that we work with?
By being loyal to them.  As we build our personal trustworthiness with others, they see they can depend on us in difficult circumstances.

Loyalty can get sticky though when a person tells us something or we become aware of an action that is not safe or fair for themselves or others.  What if we came to know that a person we were close to was involved in an illegal activity.  How would we handle it if we learned that they had become abusive with a mate or child.  While we may not want to damage our relationship we must ask ourselves these two questions to make a decision we will be able to live with for a long time:

Will I feel proud of myself, if I choose to speak up or if I choose not to speak up?  How would I be affected long term if I did not speak up and further damage was done to this person or to others?  

What are the results I am looking for if I choose to speak up?  Am I looking to get this person in trouble or am I reporting to keep them and others safe?

Have you ever had the need to tell a person of authority something that you knew the other person would prefer you not to tell?  This is a big responsibility for an adult and we can see why this would be very difficult for a child to figure out the right thing to do.
Building our relationship to a high level of trust with our children will give them the confidence to come to us and tell us those ‘secrets’ that are confusing to them.  This month as we have talked to our students about loyalty, we have emphasized in every class the importance of speaking to their parents when these difficult decisions need to be made.  This is not for the parent to tell them what to do, but rather for them to guide them to find the answer that fits the values of the family.

Keep your conversations going with your children on loyalty and other life skills.  Balanced Life Skills is here to help start those conversations.  Together we are creating a culture of peace in our families, schools and communities.


What to teach children about keeping secrets

secretsWe want our children to be able to keep secrets, to know there are things that are personal.  At the same time there are some things that they may be asked to keep as a secret that they need and we want them to be open with us about.  Our goal at all ages is for them to feel comfortable in telling us anything, especially things that do not feel good to them.  How we define these can be confusing to youngsters, depending on their age and maturity level.

When children are young – having a special secret can be a lot of fun, a bit mysterious and a special bond.  We want them to understand that if we are having a ‘surprise’ birthday party for daddy, that it is only a surprise if we can keep it a secret.  Tying the character skill of loyalty to this kind of secret is a simple way of teaching the importance of loyalty.  However if one of their friends is getting picked on in school, this is not a secret we want them to keep.   Or if their sibling is about to do something that is dangerous – we want them to tell us about it.  So even learning the difference between telling on someone to get them in trouble or reporting something to keep them safe is very different.

Here are the guides for knowing when to keep a secret and when we must tell a trusted adult, especially the parents.  Ask yourself 4 questions:

  1. Is it fair?  (does it feel like the right thing to do?)
  2. Is it safe?  (will someone be or get hurt if I don’t tell?)
  3. Will I be proud of the choice I make? (if I don’t tell, will I feel proud?)
  4. Am I trying to get help or get someone in trouble? (the difference between tattling and reporting)

These questions can be used no matter the age of the child, we can even ask our adult selves these questions when we are trying to determine if we should tell something to another person. Imagine your teen son or daughter learned that their friend was going to run away from home.  Wouldn’t you be proud of them if they came to you and told you?  They will if they understand that running away would not be safe and they are reporting it to you to help their friend.  That is loyalty.
In teaching them about the concept of loyalty, start by using examples that they can understand, where they need to make a choice about telling or not telling a secret.  Encourage them to use the four questions to make a decision about telling – and be loyal to their friends and family.


How to choose safe, healthy relationships: the role of loyalty

Loyalty to your family Today is anWhy is understanding loyalty important for our young people and their relationships?  Loyalty is one of those qualities that we want from others, but many times are willing to overlook and make excuses for not getting.  In the end though, if we are in a relationship where the other person does not stand up for us, is not honest with us, puts us down or talks about us in a derogatory way behind our backs – we cannot be complete or fulfilled in that relationship.  It simply is not healthy.

As I thought about loyalty in the family, it has become clear that when we meet someone who is willing to do any of those things just mentioned to family members, eventually when they are comfortable with us, they will most likely treat and talk to us the same way.  Do we really want to be in that kind of relationship?

I asked each of our teen students to look and listen to the way their friends – especially girl & boy friends – talk about their siblings, parents and others close to them.  If they are disrespectful of them, not loyal to them – you can expect the same treatment later in your relationship.  You need to choose if this is the kind of person you want to spend time with.  We need to even ask – Is this a safe and healthy relationship?

Balanced Life Skills is helping our students understand loyalty and opening the conversation for parents to have with their children on this key life skill.

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