Gifts of Character: Loyalty – The Definition

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Each month we will discuss one life skill with all of our students. This month’s skill is Loyalty. This life skill will be defined in the following ways for our students.

Young students:  “I’ll stand by you!”

Older students:  Faithful or committed to a person, place, group or cause!

We are not your typical after school activity, in fact, we are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers, and students to reach that goal.

 Get the list of 52 Gifts of Character / Virtues!

TRY CLASSES FOR FREE for 2-weeks.

Stop Shaming Procrastination – Develop your virtues

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Setting goals makes us feel hopeful and excited about what is to come. Imagine how we are going to feel when we complete what we set out to accomplish. It may be a physical change we want to make in ourselves, or we want to learn something new. So many times though, goals are not reached as we hoped or expected and we allow obstacles to get in the way of completion.

I believe that one of the biggest things that get in our way of reaching our goals is procrastination. That little matter of putting off getting started or taking the first steps toward achieving what we have hoped to complete. We all know what it feels like, most of us have most likely procrastinated on something and then find yourself disappointed or in a mad rush to get the project done.

Unfortunately, our kids see us deal with this annoyance of procrastination, and soon they are procrastinating themselves and many times it is the parents that deal with many of the consequences of their putting off a major project.

While there are books about procrastination – both the why and what to do about it – we still find that it can be a challenging practice to overcome. I thought maybe there is another approach. Perhaps we can look inside ourselves and see what we can call on or develop more of so that we get the job done promptly without the stress of waiting until the last possible moment.

What virtue would you call on when you know that you are procrastinating? Accountability, Decisiveness, Determination, Diligence, Excellence, Initiative, Orderliness, Purposefulness, Self-Discipline? Maybe there is a different one for you?

All of us have those virtues listed above as a part of who we are, but sometimes we need to call on them to come forward and be developed at this time. Instead of ‘demanding’ that a project gets done and shame the child or yourself with yelling or name calling (lazy, thoughtless, stupid, a failure), be kind and look for the virtue that you need to call on to overcome the obstacle. When you search for the virtue you need at this time, you are practicing the strategy of Recognizing Teachable Moments.

This is parenting and self-talk at its best.

Setting goals or intentions in the new year

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The beginning of most years many people tend to use this time to think about what the year ahead will look like and what they would like to accomplish. Instead of goals, I want to think of intentions. What are my intentions for the coming month, three months or six months?  Sometimes a year may seem so far out that we believe that we still have plenty of time to get things done and soon we see the year has passed us by. Writing down your long-term objective and then breaking it down into smaller goals in shorter time frames helps with seeing the progress we are making.

One of the most significant obstacles to the beginning of the year goal setting is having clarity about both what we want and what we do not want.  One way of getting to a clear understanding of clarity for ourselves is to take the time to decide both of these things in each area of our life. Having the right balance in all areas of life is essential. Balance helps us, the family and teaches our children to focus on their whole selves and not just “what they want to do when they grow up.”

The four areas of life that if we contribute to on a regular basis bring us the greatest feelings of success and happiness are:

  • Home and family
  • Career and education
  • Hobbies and recreation
  • Community and service

Take a look at each of these and consider; write down what your intentions are for each of them. What do you want for your family and home? Do you want to spend more time with your partner and children? What would you like to do with them? What would you like to contribute more to in your home and home life? What does each of your children need from you? How can you honor the spirit of your home? What about yourself would you like to grow or develop more? Is it your health or some other part of life?

For each area think about what you are doing now and how you would like to take it to the next level. It is the balancing of improvement in each area that creates the greatest feelings of a successful year and life. Having clarity about what you want is the first step. Do not skip any of the areas thinking that you do not have time for them. Balancing your life in each area makes the other areas easier to achieve and brings joyfulness to life. 

Find a list of virtues here. Which ones are most important to your family?

Learning to respect others who are different than ourselves

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Respect is one of the virtues that every culture in the world, in families, communities, countries all agree is essential to raising the trust and peace in our relationships. Each of those cultures may have a different way of demonstrating respect, just as they may have different ways of recognizing a Higher Source, celebrating families, or rituals. So how do we react when faced with an individual, family, community or country that is different than our own?

In our own family, the words, comments, and thoughts we express guide our children to develop their beliefs about those that are different than themselves. When asked about the differences in other cultures, how do we respond to them? What assumptions do we lead our children to with our attitude about those who are different?

One thought to help each family guide their family towards peaceful relationships is to look for what similarities exist in the cultures that are different than ours. Seeing similarities helps us to understand the humanity in all. Families around the world all want their children to be safe, healthy, successful and happy. What that means or what it looks like in each culture will undoubtedly be different, and that is a teaching moment as we use empathy in our discussions.

In a world that seems to be getting smaller and increasingly interdependent, we each have a responsibility to guide those that we lead or influence to seeing those that are different from ourselves as humans with needs, feelings, hopes and desires that at their foundation are more similar to our own than they are different. Without respect for each other expressed with kindness and tact, caring and flexibility we will find ourselves lost of our dignity and unable to unite under the highest virtue of all, love.

Bringing out the best in our children and ourselves is our responsibility begins with seeing the best in our children. Name the virtues that you see in your children and acknowledge them for them for their goodness. Notice how they react when you know and name their respect, determination, cooperation or one of the other 100 virtues listed. Get your list by clicking here.    https://goo.gl/7wid8q

Life Skill: Goal-Setting – The Definition

word of month character

Each month we will discuss one life skill with all of our students. This month’s skill is Goal-Setting. This life skill will be defined in the following ways for our students.

Young students:  “I know what I want to do, be or know  and I have a plan to achieve that goal.”

Older students:  Deciding what you want to do, learn or accomplish and making a plan to achieve it!

We are not your typical after school activity, in fact, we are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers, and students to reach that goal.

 Get the list of 52 Gifts of Character / Virtues!

TRY CLASSES FOR FREE for 2-weeks.

Children can learn to respect property and surroundings

word of month character

There was an Indian tribal leader named Chief Dan George is quoted as saying, “There is a longing among all people and creatures to have a sense of purpose and worth. To satisfy that common longing in all of us, we must respect each other.” The respect we have for each other and ourselves goes beyond just the manners we display and the courteous words we speak. Respect for physical items we value and that others value is another way of honoring each other.

All of us have physical items that are special to us. They may not be expensive items; they may have sentimental value. A young child may have created a drawing or card they want to give to their mom that they take special care to deliver in excellent condition. An older child may have a unique piece of jewelry or a journal that they prize because a grandparent gave it to them. Adults may have photographs handed down through the family that is irreplaceable and represent special memories. We show these items respect by the way we care and protect them.

The physical things that we value are shown respect by the boundaries set up around them. We may not want others to play with individual possessions, or we do not lend the item out to others. Now imagine if you are visiting friends home. Their family has things that they also value, we can show respect by asking permission before touching. We would even ask if it is okay to go into specific rooms, upstairs, downstairs, or sit on the furniture. We show respect by honoring what others value.

One other area of respect sometimes overlooked at times is the environment or surroundings we are in with other people. Respect in school with classmates, restaurants with other patrons, in sports arenas or even just in the car with the family. How we act in those situations will either bring us honor for treating others like they matter or not. In school taking turns for answering questions, doing our work and not looking at other papers is giving dignity deserved to our classmates and teachers.

In a restaurant, sitting in our seat till the family is ready to go home, keeping our voice down, leaving screens like phone or tablets off, speaking respectfully with the servers all show respect to both our family and those dining with us. No matter where we are, sports arena or a car, what is needed by others to perform their tasks with full attention requires that we remember our manners and use courtesy appropriate for the situation.

No matter where we are or who we are with, everyone around us matters. The dignity everyone deserves calls on us to show respect. As a family, have you spelled out what respect looks like in different situations for your family? Do your children know what the expectations are in different circumstances and have you named it ‘respect’? Naming and not shaming each other, setting clear boundaries while honoring each other and mindful regard for the needs for ourselves and others is respect.