This is the time of the year when all our students are taking part in the MSP testing in the schools. With that brings a fair amount of stress on the students and therefore on the families they are a part of everyday for the next couple of weeks.
This led me to think about the idea of how much joy is in our life? As I see adults go through their life, many times we are so busy climbing the ladder of success that we don’t take time to enjoy the journey. We begin teaching our young ones how to do that very early in their life too. As students, in what seems in younger and younger ways all the time, we teach them to plan and work hard, and as they have accomplishments we(they) see them as good because they lead to somewhere. The kids are constantly planning and working on going to high school, college, a good job, relationship, always with the next goal or challenge in mind, but none of them being relished or celebrated. But are they or we enjoying the journey? Probably not!
We are not machines and when we reduce ourselves to that, we become mechanical and the joy is gone from living. To increase the amount of joy in our kids / our lives focus our attention on all the wonderful things that happen in our day to day experiences. When we are appreciative of the people and the things around us we are filled with a sense of well being and joy.
Take a minute with yourself and kids each day to show gratitude. Make a short list in the morning or evening of things you are grateful for. If you have a hard time at first it is ok. As you focus on showing gratitude in your life, your joy will grow too.
On Saturday March 29 at our studio we put on a program to bring about some awareness to the subject of diabetes. around 30 kids and their parents were able to attend along with some from the community who are not a part of our school. Included in the program was a short video prepared by myself, with the guidance of the Defeat Diabetes Foundation, and two of our students parents who are ‘experts’ due to their first hand experience with the disease.
I tried to include the video we used (that didn’t work)but here are some pictures of the kids doing an art project and getting to know ‘Chris’ who came to show off his pump and let the kids see that even if you have diabetes you are able to do anything you want, you just have to be careful with your level of sugar in your blood stream.
What a great kid he was and we had a lot of fun and learned a lot too. Before beginning the preparation of this day, I was really clueless about this disease. Thanks to everyone involved I know a little bit more and certainly enough that I know we need to have empathy for those who live with this and we must defend ourselves from Type 2 diabetes. Watch the video and learn more. Join us on April 13 at the Naval Academy Stadium with your art work and lets walk to raise awareness of Jr. Diabetes and to support Chris and his family.
“No matter what accomplishments you achieve somebody helped you.” Althea Gibson
No matter who we are or what we have done there has always been someone or several others who have helped in some way. It may have been as simple as an encouraging word, offering us an insight that got us unstuck on a problem, or a gift of another sort that allowed us to move forward. However given the society that we live in sometimes we forget that we can accomplish nothing without the help of others.
Help comes in so many different ways and lessons learned from unsuspecting teachers. I know that I have learned lessons from the animal world, observing them, reading about their habits have made me realize things that would be difficult to learn from another human. Our help may have come from a personal disability or from knowing someone who has gone through an experience that we have not experienced.
Every moment is a learning moment, and then we can honor our teachers by thinking about our own personal teachers. As we think about them it is appropriate to let them know if possible that you appreciate them even if it is by just speaking about that experience to others. Recounting the value of the teacher out loud to others really firms up the sense of gratitude and happiness for all that you have been given.
For my students, honor your teachers this month with us at BLS, by inviting them to our Teacher Appreciation Week. This is an opportunity for you to say, “Thank you for being my teacher.”
To My Students and Their Families:
This posting is about a note written to me, from someone I respect, a teacher and friend of mine, Tom Callos. I’m including it here because it reveals, I think, the kind of training, advice, and direction that I’m involved with, as a martial arts teacher.
Continue reading “A note from my instructor”
Gratitude is not just a key, it is a magic key, and all you have to do is use it. When you use it all kinds of beauty and wonderful things open up to you to enjoy. It is really simple, but not particularly easy due to all of the distractions and negative attitudes from around us and sometimes in the way we were raised as kids. But all you really need to do is make a commitment to do it, and the magic will be yours.
I have said before in class “just smile”, it will make you feel so good. It is impossible to be negative and positive at the same time. If you have an attitude of gratitude, you will have positive feelings like love, joy, compassion and hope. When you focus on what you are thankful for, fear, anger, and bitterness or envy just seem to melt away, and this without a whole lot of effort.
The reason for this is that gratitude helps us focus on our success and what is right in our life. SMILE, and think about what you are grateful for.
This week we are talking about looking at what we have instead of focusing on what we don’t have or worse, what others have that we wish we had. This has been something that I have working on for myself for a while.
There is a quote from Lao Tzu that says, “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
I mentioned to the kids last night in class that every year they see approximately 40,000 commercials on TV, not to mention all the other ways advertisers have of reaching us. All of this is to drive us to want and to buy. In fact 75% of our economy in America is based on consumerism. What the overall effect of that is on us and the world is staggering. That is for another time to discuss, but for now I would suggest that for our own peace of mind that all of us take a moment every day and give thanks for what we have, not concerned about getting something new or better.
If we can teach our kids to think like that we help them to live in harmony with the earth and themselves, creating a peace for them that many in the world do not have today. Now here is a practical way of starting that process. Turn the TV off – Watch less, Do more and spend as little time as possible in the shopping malls.