Martial arts helps us be the change you want to see!

word of month character

As we get into the New Year we wonder what will it be like?  What awaits us in the year ahead?  Will there be problems or will it be full of blessings?  Ghandi in a very famous quote said, ” Be the change that you want to see in the world.”  Many times we are what we see.

There is a story that goes something like this.  One traveler getting close to a city stopped and asked an old man by the road what the people were like in the city ahead.  He was asked what were they like in the city you just came from?, and he was told they were untrustworthy.  The old man said, “You will find them to be the same in the city ahead.”

A second traveler came by the same old man and asked the same question.  Yet he found the people in the previous city to be warm and generous, and the old man said, “You will find them to be the same in the city ahead.”

The way we see others, the way we live our lives is what we will see in others.  If I am a critical person, I will most likely see others as being critical.  If I am a trusting person, I am more likely to view others as trustworthy.  If you change yourself and become the person you desire to be, you will begin to view others in a whole new light and that will change how you interact in all of your relationships.

Practicing the martial arts opened me to better ways of looking at myself and others, being kinder and accepting of where we are at this very moment and growing from there.  It does this by leading us in  incremental improvements that lead to quite impressive results.  But you must experience it to understand it.

Leadership discussion: who is qualified?

word of month character

Dear Parents,

All of us want our children to be leaders. Yet there are some widely held beliefs that simply are not true, unless we allow them to be so. In the words of Mel Martinez, who was the Secretary of HUD in the early part of this decade, “Leadership is not for the few, it’s for everyone….We should operate on the assumption that every child has the capacity for leadership in one way or another.”

I would agree with his statement despite a widely held belief that leadership is a rare gift that only a select few have. That leadership is for those blessed with a quality called charisma and even attractiveness. Some also falsely believe that leadership should be coming from the top of an organization only.

It is easy to see that a bit of good looks and charisma will not hurt, there have been many leaders that were not gifted that way. Think of Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa and Gandhi, all of whom demonstrated great leadership under some very trying circumstances that had nothing to do with charisma or attractiveness. Neither is leadership about wielding power, as most people do not like to be bossed around.

There are all kinds of leaders. Some are loud and some are quiet. And I believe that anyone can become a leader, they can use their own personality and style and simply be themselves and still move others to action. So we will focus on this month the things that make leaders – leaders.

As teachers / parents our job is to give our children the training, the support, the encouragement, the confidence, the motivation, and the opportunities to lead. Then we should set them loose and let them lead. You are going to be amazed at what they do with their abilities and what they can achieve. More important with every success they will be strengthened to step up and lead again and again.

One of our highest goals here at Balanced Life Skills is to create leaders of our students. Not just leaders on the mat helping others learn martial arts skills, but leaders in their community. We have seen some outstanding examples of this with our students and their projects. There is even more to come.

The definitions of leadership are as follows:
Young students: “I make great choices so follow me!”
Older students/teens/adults: Inspiring people into action to achieve a common goal.

During the four weeks of September we will be discussing the following:
Week 1: What is a leader, what does a leader do, and why do we need them?
Week 2: Leadership Skills: Group goals and taking initiative
Week 3: Leadership Skills: Listening and communicating effectively
Week 4: Leadership Skills: Weighing pros and cons and taking responsibility

In the months to come we will be discussing

October: Responsibility November: Patience December: Friendship

As always, one of the best ways to teach and reinforce Leadership is by modeling strength of character ourselves. Discuss the ways you show leadership skills each day and point out the ways your children do the same. As parents, employees, bosses, and mentors, what kinds of leadership skills must you use each day?

We thank you for your support. You are pivotal in helping to make our school one of the best Martial Arts and personal development centers in the world. Please be sure to get your Leadership worksheets on the curriculum pages for your students age group at the new student site BLS Students!  You will need to register before getting your worksheets.