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Of all my sons, my oldest has incredible amounts of belief in himself.  He is a vivacious, happy go lucky, hard working, intense kind of guy. He was good in school, but he loved sports and working out much more. He was pretty good at the saxophone, but he preferred to play football. Even as a small boy, he believed in himself. He had oodles of self confidence. When confronted with something which made him nervous, he inevitably defaulted to a Yes I Can attitude. 

His favorite story from the Darien ATA school where my sons trained was the story of Naci and Tnaci. One of the instructors at that time, Ms. Kelli (now Master Shoup), would tell the students the story of two brothers who trained in martial arts, but each one had different attitudes, and each one created a different future as a result.  When their master instructor asked Naci to do 20 pushups, he said “Yes, I Can!” But his brother would sadly respond, “I Can’t.” Their master instructor would tell the class to go to set and stand tall like a leader, and Naci would say, “Yes, I Can!” whereas Tnaci would quietly mutter, “No, I Can’t.”  Finally, one day, Naci was ready to receive his black belt, and their master instructor gladly awarded it to him.  But Tnaci sat on the sidelines, unhappy, because he had always refused to have a Yes, I Can attitude.  And so, he did not get his black belt. I believe this story made a huge impression on him as a young boy, and he exemplifies it with his life.

One of my deepest prayers for my children has always been that they grow up to become warriors of God.   Well, he took this to a very literal, physical level by taking his martial arts training to the next level and fighting in Mixed Martial Arts. I don’t know too many moms who would really like to see their sons fight in octagons, but when I see him living his dream, and enjoying his life, I can’t help but be proud.  In the case of Son #1, his Yes I Can attitude has carried him through his Bachelors in Athletic Training, and is now a driving force in his MMA pro fighting career. I see him take his positive attitude into his mental training through his visualization of his future success. I have watched him face circumstances which cause me to doubt and worry myself into a shaking mess of nerves, and yet he still exudes that indomitable Yes I Can attitude in all aspects of his existence. He does so physically through his training commitment, mentally through his inner game of repeatedly visualizing his future successes, and emotionally through his full passionate belief in his art.

Tell your children the story of Naci and Tnaci.  It just might imbue then with the Yes I Can attitude of Belief.  Because it sometimes only takes one person believing in someone to push them towards greatness. 

 

 
   

We love our children!

So much so that we want what is best for them, we sacrifice our time, our bodies, our hearts for them.  But what is great parenting when the child is aggravating us to no end? Each of my four sons had their moments, but my second son took the cake.  We knew he had been somewhere in the house when we would find things destroyed or things he had hidden.  He was the one at the age of 2 1/2 who almost burned down our bathroom.  Literally, no exaggerating.  He hid behind the piano when he realized he was in trouble.  He also wrote his name on that piano. With a rock. Yea. This son of mine used to make a habit of climbing on the roof of our house and jumping.  Now, we lived in a single story house, but, MAN! I used to strongly urge him to choose an occupation that either involved demolition, or the military. 

Fast forward to today.  He, thankfully, is not an outlaw, nor is he dead from having blown himself up with a home made experiment gone wrong. Thank God, the young man is serving our country in the U.S. Army. And, yes, he still builds bombs and jumps out of high places (these days it is out of airplanes). 

The truth is that his most annoying traits are now his greatest strengths.  And it was by sheer teeth-gritting, hair-pulling willpower (despair?) that my husband and I kept pointing him in a direction that might actually serve him well in life.

That’s why when I saw this video, I thought of Son #2. I hope my experiences give you some hope and assurance in your great parenting with the children in your home! Enjoy!

Your child’s most annoying traits may just reveal their greatest strengths

To strength, love and clarity about raising our kids,

Full Life Martial Arts Karate for Kids

 

More than 60 years ago, Earl Nightingale wrote The Strangest Secret, a radio piece about success and character development. He said, “We become what we think about most of the time.” It occurs to me that this is the most difficult of disciplines: that of controlling what we think about most of the time.  Consider that our consciousness is like a glacier.  Most of what is in our thoughts and feelings is part of the subconscious, and we may not even be aware of that part. This talk of controlling what we think about sounds like a lot of self-discipline.

Self-discipline can be about not eating that cookie you really want to eat. Or doing your workout for the day. Or getting up to go to work in the morning…on time. Or refraining from calling your spouse stupid without saying a word (heavy eye roll). Or ignoring the Negative Nelly in your head loudly accusing you (or a family member who doesn’t do things like you) of being too [fill in the blank with terrible accusations in an attempt to make them do things like you].

 My inner voice is my greatest critic.  And very often, I  believe her! I call her Amarga, which means ’embittered, spoiled’ in Spanish, my native language. For me, self-discipline is a stand I take daily with my dear Amarga, who pops her well-meaning head from her room and barrages me with doubts, recriminations, and foul-mouthed accusations when I am feeling most afraid, angry, tired, hungry, etc.  I have learned the art of kindly sending her away so I can live fully, but it has taken years. 

I began to think on what kind of influence we have on the children around us. Most of us expect children to behave decently, responsibly, kindly, fairly, truthfully, cleanly. And when they don’t we are HORRIFIED and DISMAYED

Oh, wait a minute, there are adults who haven’t got that well-behaved trick yet.  

If I have things correct, we want children to behave like imaginary, perfect adults. 

In my opinion, coming to terms with that sad fact can be devastating. Gary Ryan Blair says “Self-discipline is an act of cultivation. It requires you to connect today’s actions to tomorrow’s results. There’s a season for sowing a season for reaping. Self-discipline helps you know which is which.”

Do you know when to sow good seed in your child?

Do you value the sowing even though you don’t see the fruit? Even if you are pricked by sharp weeds in the process?

Are you OK with the fact that you might not be the one to reap what you have sown in your child?

Are you trying to reap what you have not even sown yet? And mad that the fruit isn’t even there?

And perhaps the hardest question…Have you done this cultivation within yourself?

Discipline: that dreaded word.

Let’s talk about the most hated meaning of this word, which is when we are referring to the correcting of wrong-headed, brain-damaged child-like behavior.

Most people fear this word, because we tend to think we are terrible at it, and we hate punishing our kids.  And, man, doesn’t it seem never-ending? Like laundry, or dishes? Or cleaning cat litter boxes?

Ask yourself the following question: What is discipline?

A. Torture of oneself or others

B. Acting like little soldiers

C. Washing someone’s mouth out with soap.

D. Retribution.

Did you answer with any of the above? 

Perhaps a perspective shift is in order. 

The word comes from the latin ‘disciplinare’ which means to teach, instruct, or educate.
Hmmmmm.  You didn’t know you were signing up for this when you first laid eyes on your cute little squalling bundle of joy, eh? Yeah, well, it’s not easy to build strong, confident children, but THAT job is a heck of a lot easier than repairing broken adults. 
Still, sometimes it feels like the blind leading the blind, doesn’t it? 
Here are my answers to the question, What is discipline?
A. Order that allows for creativity.
B. Rules that protect and preserve.
C. Consequences for actions.
D. Responsibility teaching.
Discipline done for any other reasons, might really only be about parental ego and control.

“The sign of great parenting is not the child’s behavior.  The sign of truly great parenting is the parent’s behavior.” ~Andy Smithson

Sometimes we can have done everything right, and still, the child does not learn.  So, I propose that the raising and discipline of a child has more to do with the development of the parent as a human being.  More an issue of process than product. More about staying calm in chaos.  
Truth is that disciplining our kids well takes as much of our discipline as we can muster.  Which is the topic of my next post. Self discipline. 
Post your comments!

Self Esteem.  A confusing topic, if you ask me.  As a parent, I knew I wanted to imbue my kids with self esteem…but how much was too much? 

I certainly did not want to be responsible for birthing narcissistic, me-focused, unproductive citizens.  And yet, I did not want to punitively overpower my sons and destroy their sense of self. I hope I can shed some clarity on this subject. 

This testing cycle, we examine Self Esteem.  In order for students to earn their yellow stripe, parents (or caregivers) need to fill out a Self Esteem sheet describing how the student shows Self Esteem. (Spouses of our adult students, this is a chance for you to say something nice about your spouse…perhaps for the first time.  Yes, please fill out a Self Esteem sheet for your husband or wife! In case you were wondering, it takes 10 good comments to equal 1 negative comment.) 

Sooo….. here goes. My thoughts on self esteem over my half a century on this earth.

SELF

A person shows self esteem by having a can-do and a never-give-up attitude even when something doesn’t go as planned.  A person with self esteem shows a confidence in their capabilities in one or more areas of their lives.  THAT is worth encouraging. Let me be clear. Pride in oneself can be healthy! What does your child (or husband) do often or say frequently that shows healthy pride? What do you do? 

OTHERS

People show their self esteem when they lift others up. When they look at other people’s good qualities over their bad ones. When they see the gem of potential in that person. Confidence and pride that puts other people down is called arrogance, and it is ugly. It is not healthy pride or self esteem. People without self esteem tear others down by pointing out each other’s flaws. How are you doing as a parent/spouse with that? Do you or your child choose to be a good-finder? 

Seems like true self esteem is very connected to humility.  But that is another big topic for another day.

Parents and students, please share your comments on our blog or on  our facebook page about your thoughts and feelings regarding Self Esteem!

Fight the good fight,

Mrs. Streacker

“For it is easy to criticize and break down the spirit of others, but to know yourself takes a lifetime.” Bruce Lee