The number one rule to build self-reliance in kids

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Self-reliance is the goal of parents for their children so that when they get older and out on their own they can function and accomplish the day to day tasks of life. There are several virtues needed to attain this life skill of self-reliance. Our child will be building their confidence, independence, dependability, patience, flexibility, and trust – self-trust.

When our child is very young, just a baby, they depend on us for everything. We feed them, dress them, and get them from one place to another. Later they learn to crawl and walk, start using eating utensils and dressing while becoming self-reliant. They start making choices about what they will wear, who they want to be friends with, and make judgments about what is right and wrong, fair or unfair. While we are excited to see them growing up it can be difficult too. As they take on these new areas of life, they are building their self-reliance.

From the parents perspective helping our children grow their self-reliance requires us also to be confident, patient, flexible and trusting. The number one rule in building self-reliance is not to do for a child what they can do for themselves. What we know as an adult is that every new thing we try may not come quickly at first. With practice though, a few mess ups and coaching we can improve.

When helping our child develop their self-reliance, we will give them the opportunities without judgment to try new things, practice, mess up while we coach them through the process. Setting our expectations at a developmentally appropriate scale and allowing mistakes and imperfections as learning experiences will build their confidence. Even while the child is learning to make judgment calls, we can coach them through the process of decision making and allow them to deal with the consequences that come up so they learn to make choices that will be the best for them.

Building self-reliance can be a bit messy while in the middle of the process. However, the result of seeing our child making choices that are best for them, taking care of household chores on their own, getting up in the morning by themselves and other things without prompting from us the parents is worth celebrating. Self-reliance is about depending on ourselves and trusting our choices. Parenting is about educating, guiding, correcting in a way, so our children grow up with self-reliance.

Gifts of Character: Self-Reliance – The Definition

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

Young students:  “I can do it by myself!”

Older students: Self-trust, relying on your own judgments, powers or abilities to get things done.

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!


Unlock peace with these two common beliefs

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Our open-mindedness, acceptance, tolerance and appreciation for the differences in our community is the beginning of building peaceful relations and unity. Every person in our community is a part of numerous cultures, with some being more influential in their lives than others. There are cultures created in our homes, work, schools, classrooms, churches, in any group we form or are a part.

It is the mix of all these cultures that influences our views, hopes, humor, loyalties, worries and fears. When we can be open-minded to learning about these influences in those in our community we can also begin to develop compassion for their point of view and find ways to work together. If we want peace in our community and the world, if unity is our goal then rid ourselves of the need to get retribution and step into understanding our neighbors and companions.

One of the first steps in this regard is recognizing the things that we have in common. It is my belief that peace in this world must begin with the family and ourselves. It is in the family that we find the most commonality. All parents want to see their children grow up to be safe, healthy, successful and happy. That is why I have devoted my life in the past 20 years to helping parents bring out the best in our children and ourselves and find the next part of what is common to all humans on the earth.

That second common thing that we share is how we value virtues, gifts of character in each of our cultures. No matter who we are or what culture we come from, there are these virtues that all of us value, though we may see them in different ways. As an example, in one family, community or part of the world the virtue of respect may be practiced in one way and other cultures there may be a different way of expressing respect. The commonality is the virtue of respect.

Here is my invitation. Learn about the Universal acceptance of the 100 virtues we all value. Look for and acknowledge them in others. Grow to understand what we have in common. Teach our children how to balance their virtues so that over developed virtues do not overwhelm those in their families or communities. Find what we value the most and live our life around those virtues.

If you would like to learn more about our commonality in virtues, attend an Introduction to the Virtues Project workshop with me, and you will find yourself leaving the habit many of us have of blaming, shaming and hurting others from not understanding what we all have in common.

Honesty Virtue Video

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Isn’t it great to see a group of young people that appreciate Honesty.   I am encouraging each person at Balanced Life Skills to ask themselves, “How did I show honesty today?”

April 5th is ‘Golden Rule Day’

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While I was not aware of this day of awareness it is a good idea to have a day that is a reminder that showing compassion is really about treating others the way we want to be treated.

5050 pushups on Saturday

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On Saturday January 1, 2011 a group of 18 students from the 9-12 year old and adult classes came to the studio for a New Years Day workout and great start to the new year.   Every 10 minutes all of us dropped down and did a set of push ups.  We had a total of 5050 push ups at the end of the day.  In addition we also practiced our forms, and got some sparring in too.  It was a great time, so thanks to Mark, Jeff, Kevin, Claire, Jake R., Wills, Connor, Ryan, Niklas, Caitlin, Katie, Jake V., Kelly, Michael, and Scott for coming out early that morning and getting your year off to a great start.