Gifts of Character: Fairness – The Definition

word of month character

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

Young students: When everyone has or receives what they deserve and what they need

Older students: Treating others according to what is deserved, needed or appropriate.

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.

If you would like to see Joe Van Deuren and Balanced Life Skills at work, TRY CLASSES FOR FREE for 2 weeks.

You are a leader, like it or not – What kind will you be?

word of month character

Not every person aspires to be known as a leader or even have the desire to be a leader. No matter if we are five years old or 85 years old it is likely that in some way we are a leader. As John Quincy Adams put it; “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

If you are five years old and you have a younger brother or sister or go to school with students who are younger than you are, you can be sure that your actions and words are being watched and even copied on some level. Some one person is likely looking at you and following your example or dreaming of being like you on some level. So like it or want it or not – you are a leader.

Because all of us fit into that role in our personal or public life the question I like to ask is what or how do I want to be perceived by others. What example do I want to set, how do I want to be known either as a leader by choice or just because others are watching me? Having clarity about the kind of leader you want to be whether, in your family, school, business, or as a mentor or friend will help you to meet all of those occasions on purpose and will give you confidence about being your best self.

The clarity and reminders to yourself of what you aspire too will also create a higher level of happiness in your life. Leadership is not something we may seek, however, given that all of us fill that role in some manner we do want to do so with our best self and with confidence.

Leadership is the opposite of Bossy even with children

word of month character

This month we are considering the skill of leadership at Balanced Life Skills for students of all ages because every one of us has the opportunity to lead others at some point in our world. No matter your age if we look at leadership not as a position of power, but rather as an opportunity to help others and to reach a common goal by working together.

For some leadership is about being the boss. Being a boss is simply a position of management of others and while a ‘boss’ may become a leader there are certain things they must learn to do that will help them be a leader.

For instance, a leader must know how to listen to those around them and be willing to consider all suggestions without favoritism for one person over another. Leaders must invest their time both in the work that needs to be done and in the persons around them. Helping the people around them to develop leadership skills is one of the most valuable commitments a leader can make to those who have committed themselves to the good of the group.

This month we will consider how young people can develop these skills and lead in a way that shows them setting a good example and making good choices for any group of which they are a part. Leadership is an honorable skill that brings out the dignity of everyone around them.

Gifts of Character: Leadership – The Definition

word of month character

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

Young students: I am a good example & make great choices – so follow me!

Older students: Inspiring people to come together & take action towards a common goal.

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.

If you would like to see Joe Van Deuren and Balanced Life Skills at work, TRY CLASSES FOR FREE for 2 weeks.

4 Steps To Coach Our Children To Have Resilience

word of month character

Teaching our children to have resilience means that we must teach them how to solve problems, adversity, frustrations and overcome challenges. This is not done by telling them what to do, but rather helping them to clarify for themselves how to resolve the issue they are facing. How we do this is with questions and allowing them the time to think and express themselves.

Let’s look at a possible situation you may face with your child. If your child comes to you with a problem like someone is picking on them at school we may have a strong emotional response and want to know who what where when and even why. If we were to ask any of those questions first, we are in danger of cutting off the conversation immediately, as the child first wants us to know what and how they are feeling and they do not want you to jump in and solve the issue.

Here are the steps to follow to help them learn resilience.

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Brainstorm solutions
  3. Try one of the solutions
  4. Repeat until you have resolution.
  • Ask them (Step 1) what is happening and how they are feeling about the problem
  • Watch carefully and listen with patience. If they begin to cry, allow the tears, and you may ask, what the tears are about.
  • You may (Step 2) ask them what they would like to do about the situation. Again give them time.
  • Suggest that we might make a list of possible solutions or responses. There is no reaction to any of the ideas they come up with, even if they are far fetched, would bring adverse consequences or simply not going to work in your mind.
  • Be patient. Encourage adding more to the list even if it is at a later time.
  • Once you have a list of at least 5-10 options, then ask them what would happen if they did each of them. So if they said sometimes they would just like to hit them, only ask what the consequence would be and without emotion just write it down or have them write it down.
  • Now you have two lists; one of the actions and one of the consequences.
  • “Which one would you like to try first?” – Allow them to decide.

They have taken the first step in resilience.

Brainstorm possible solutions, choose one you would like to try.

(Step 3)  is to try it. This process can be (Step 4) repeated with any of the possible actions listed. You may need to help them practice what they choose to do, and you will want to follow up with them and see how or if it worked or if they want to try something different. But you are now teaching them the basics of practicing resilience.

Follow the process:

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Brainstorm solutions
  3. Try one of the solutions
  4. Repeat until you have a resolution.

Coaching resilience is one of the most valuable gifts we can give to our child. Jumping in, rescuing or solving their problems does not in the long term help them face the world we live in.

There is much more we can do to build resilience in our children and to bring out the best in them and ourselves. If you are interested in attending a workshop or having a presentation at your school on this subject feel free to contact Joe Van Deuren for information.

How we deal with frustration in competitions affects our children

word of month character

Regarding sportsmanship, we need to consider actions that we would want to avoid, no matter how frustrated, disappointed we may feel, especially if we feel like we got cheated in some manner. No matter if we are watching a game, participating and especially if we are the coach. All of those participatory areas need good sportsmanship to be displayed, especially when you consider all the little eyes of children who are watching and learning from you. Sportsmanship goes for adults and young children who have younger siblings who mimic the way you speak and act.

Consider the effects of cheating with the goal of winning and the impact it has on the other competitors, the referee and those watching. Everyone can see what you are doing when you cheat, and if you do get away with it one time or more, you will not trust yourself in the future to play by the rules. Young ones watching will learn that doing whatever it takes to win is the way to conduct themselves and may take it further than you did, even hurting others in the name of competition.

Rude and foul language can be the result of frustration with yourself, other competitors and the referee when a person has not developed the virtue of self-discipline. The use of this kind of language results in younger players to believe it is the only way to express yourself when you are frustrated, and soon you will see it used in the home directed at parents or in a school directed at teachers or other authority figures. Viewed as disrespectful toward authority figures, it is easy to see how it has been learned by just watching how some react when involved in competitive activities.

One other behavior that we see from frustrated coaches, parents, and participants is throwing a temper tantrum when things do not go their way. Screaming, stomping their feet, throwing items around or crying all come from a level of frustration that is uncontrolled. Consider the feelings of those the tantrum is directed towards and the teaching that is happening with those watching you in the middle of such a tantrum.

If a person deals with frustration and disappointment in negative ways, it simply cannot make anyone involved feel good about the situation or themselves. Not the one cheating, using rude language or throwing a fit or those who are on the receiving end. Think of the impact on others playing the game or those in the stands watching the competition. So how do we develop better habits in this setting? Here is a simple suggestion.

When at home watching your favorite team on television, or playing a game with your family, this is the time to practice self-control, self-discipline, consideration and dignity. Balance your enthusiasm for winning, excellence and justice with forgiveness, honesty, moderation, and respect. Remember you are a role model for all those watching you, both young and old. Set the example of having zeal with doing the right thing.