In our society even our youngest of children end up on teams involving sports or other activity. Too often the question we ask is, “How did you do?” or we say, “You did really well today!” If we want to teach our children about teamwork though we may want to change the words we use, and start very early teaching them about teams and how we can accomplish much bigger goals together than we can as just one person.
All of us including children have been on teams. Our most important team is our family. When we teach our children that the family is the most important team we are on, we will be helping them to see things from others point of view, empathy. When they go to school they will start to see relationships as not just about themselves, but also get to feel what others might be feeling. When we take them into the community and there are cleanup projects or feeding the less fortunate, they will begin to understand how together we can make a difference far beyond what we can do as individuals.
What would happen if at home we all made a mess? Do we expect that one person would be responsible for picking up and cleaning the mess? If we as a family work together to get things cleaned up, we are teaching our children that teamwork is an important characteristic to our family. Yes sometimes it takes more time than doing it ourselves, but the lesson of teamwork, empathy, fairness and learning how to share responsibility is a valuable lesson for later in life.
It may seem that being assertive has little to do with how stressed we may be feeling, but in fact if we are feeling out of control or not having enough input in decisions being made about our life, we can become very stressed about those situations. This could be happening with friend, teachers, family or at work.
Now every age group is going to have different levels of responsibility or even ability to make choices for themselves. But if you are a teen or older, standing up for yourself in positive ways and expressing your feelings, needs and opinions is very freeing for your soul. Being assertive about expressing yourself is a right that you have, but also one that comes with the responsibility to understand the difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness.
When difficult situations come up are you willing to speak up? You may ask yourself if you are being embarrassed, bullied, lied to, or having a conflict, will you share your thoughts and feelings honestly with the other person or group? Do you know how to do so effectively and without coming off as aggressive?
Engaging others when you are calm, explaining your feelings and specific behaviors that are effecting you and how you feel is the beginning steps. The use of “I” messages along with how you would like to resolve the issue is a good way of beginning the conversation, along with asking for their willingness to change their behavior or help come up with another solution.
Holding your feelings and thoughts in for a long period of time, can only build the pressure on yourself and make you feel like you will burst. Finding a way to discuss the issues at hand in a calm manner will make you feel better about yourself and the situation and reduce the stress that you are feeling.
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”