Following the rules is good sportsmanship

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On a team & in the family!

One of the keys to good sportsmanship whether in a game or practicing it at home is the need for all the players to follow the rules. If we are at home, there are rules, or we might call them boundaries that have been decided on by the family as they way they would like to live in their home. Since we are on the “team” or the family, we follow all the rules of the family.

The rules in the family may be as simple as ‘no yelling in the house,’ but that rule is in cooperation with the virtue of peacefulness that has been established as important in the family. In other parts of our life, like in sports, any game that we play will have rules that make it safe and fair for all of the participants. There are rules about how the game is played, with how many players at a time, and how to keep score.

When someone breaks the rules of a game or goes against the standards of the team many times, others suffer from that breakdown of loyalty and integrity to the event. Inside a family, if rules are broken other family members suffer also. They may feel the disappointment or the peace in the home may be lost. Opportunities for all members of the family may
not be available, just because one member of the family chose not to follow the boundaries set for the family.

Remembering that our family is our primary team will also remind us to show kindness in all of the situations with the family. When someone makes a mistake, we expect for them to make amends to hold the honor of themselves and the family. Meanwhile, the rest of the family will show kindness and forgiveness for their teammate. This idea can be applied to our teams we play on outside of the home also.

Our goal as a family is to be good teammates, supporting each other, cheering each member of the family on to be their best, to stay within the boundaries set by the family, so we are united. When we have this kind of unity, every family member will find their way of being safe, healthy, successful and happy.

Sportsmanship begins with how we think about success

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Sportsmanship is expected of our children when they are playing a game whether they win or lose. When they are on a team in a league, many times, they are taught to show sportsmanship after a match by giving the other team a handshake and “good game” to each other. The idea of sportsmanship goes beyond the end of the game formalities.

Playing the game with respect for the rules, the all of the competitors and the spirit of competition is the key to enjoying the activity and improving ourselves physically and mentally. Playing only to win at the cost of showing respect, takes away from the lessons we can learn in the game, the spirit of competition and improvement of our skills.

So how do we teach our children to play their games with respect and grace, win or lose? It begins with how we role model as parents at home, and the attitude that is encouraged at home, even when you are playing a board game as a family.

Do not take this to mean that we should not have winners and losers at home in our game. In any game or competition most of the time someone wins, and someone loses. If our children do not learn this or everyone gets a trophy in a game that clearly has a winner, they are encouraged to believe that they cannot, or worse should not lose in a game. It is not the winning or losing that is critical, it is how we win or how we lose that has an impact on our resilience with school work, a job or anytime that we may have a loss or a win and what we learn from that performance.

I paraphrase John Wooden regarding competition, ‘you would be hard pressed to find a player of mine that would tell you that I ever mentioned winning or losing. Success in anything that you do comes from the satisfaction of mind that you did the best that you could with the capabilities you have.’ Sportsmanship begins with doing the best we can, putting forth our best efforts in preparation and performance and being satisfied that we did so. Of course, we want to win, but more important is did we play the game at our best, did we learn something and are we improving.

Gifts of Character: Sportsmanship – The Definition

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

Young students: No matter if we win or lose, we use kind words and follow the rules!

Older students: Showing respect for the rules, the participants and the spirit of competition.

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.

Be generous with your gratitude

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Discussing the topic of generosity without seeing the value of expressing our appreciation for the kindness shown to us would be leaving out one of the best ways of living our best life. So many individuals in our life have been generous with their time, treasures and talents. They have been our parents, teachers, friends. Sometimes they are people we barely know and may include those in the service industries, fellow employees or an employer.

Taking the time each day to recognize these individuals who have impacted our lives helps us to have a positive attitude. It is our way of expressing our gratitude. When we express ourselves using words, we are generous, however when we go a little further with a note, small gift, or some other personal expression of our gratitude the recipient soon realizes the impact they have had on us. It makes both of us feel good about sharing our generosity.

I would like to suggest to all students that you express your appreciation for all that your teachers have done for you. In fact, do not wait until the end of the year to make those expressions. Get in the habit of thanking them on a regular basis. What that requires is that we are aware of the impact they are having and appreciating the growth we see within ourselves.

Express your gratitude early and often. That is generosity from your very soul.

Generosity – The spirit of giving

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The spirit of our generosity is seen in what we are willing to share with others from our personal talents. If we only think about giving or sharing being about money or things, we have missed the greatest joys found in giving of ourselves. Sharing the talents we have, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to us, can bring someone in need just the lift they require.

Think for a few minutes about the talents that you have. Even if you are young, you may be able to read, sing, dance, color that could be shared with a younger sibling, a parent, grandparent, a friend. If you knew someone who was sick, do you have the talent of baking or cooking a special dish that could be shared and appreciated?

Another way of enjoying the talent and generosity of others is to think about those special people in your life that have shared things with us. Instead of taking what they have done for granted, think back to the individual who shared with you how to ride a bike, roller skate, swim, read, dance. All of these were acts of generosity. You may have been on a talented team that helped raise money, or performs a job.

I think back on several events in my life being a part of a team that gave what we had to help others as some of the best memories in my life. Going to Kenya with a team from “Think Kindness” to share with those living in an orphanage. Attending several times work in Greensboro, Alabama with martial artists from around the world rebuilding, renovating and helping individuals and the community. So many hands working together created such joy in the community and within ourselves.

The spirit of generosity whether practiced as an individual, as a family or on a team helps us to give and receive abundantly.

Generosity – Sharing the gift of time

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All generosity begins with gratitude and knowing there is enough of what we have for everyone. Particularly this is the case with being generous with our time. When we wake up in the morning and have the day ahead of us, this is a gift.   Another day of life, time available to use for living fully. I have to wonder how we will use this time? Will we keep it all to fill our needs and pleasures or will we share our time with others by giving in some manner?
Giving our time to others is sharing what the Universe has blessed us with one more moment. Using our time to benefit those around us by helping with the chores in the house, taking the time to listen to a family member and what they need are ways that we can share our time with others. No matter how we use this time, it begins with an appreciation for the day and time provided to us.
If we are awake for 16 hours a day that is 930 minutes. Can we find a few of those minutes to give to others in service to their needs? If we find ourselves saying we do not have time for something or someone, other needs are more important to us than what we are being asked to contribute. Others, especially our children are learning to determine what is important in life by what we as parents give our time and attention.  They are learning by watching how we respond to them and others.
When we give our time, doing so with 100% attention tells the other person we are invested in serving them. Time is one of our most valuable assets and sharing it with others is an indication of our growth in the virtue of generosity.