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What were you doing in 1998? My four sons were 6, 5, 4 and 2, and and I had realized that they needed a physical outlet that I could not provide.  So they started training in ATA martial arts. 

 

Son Number 3 was the quiet, wallflower kind of kid, who always had his blankey and his thumb.  He was a cuddler, and loved to encase his bunk bed with hundreds of Chubs Wipes containers…do you remember those? The ones that looked like enormous legos? They are collectors items. You can get them on ebay these days.The rest of the boys and I would be happily doing boy things, and then we would notice that Noel was missing, and that’s when the manhunt would begin.  “Go find Noel, boys!” and they would scatter in our small little house and find him encased in a fortress made of Chubs wipes boxes and blankets, quietly building his sixteenth lego creation of the day.  

 

You can understand, then, how nervous I was when I put him into martial arts.  I don’t know if it was the hormones from my last pregnancy with my fourth son, or just that I was that emotional and nervous for him, (probably both) but I frequently would be at Master Patti Barnum’s ATA school which was in Burr Ridge at the time, and cry, as I watched my little son in Tiger class. My other sons had been older, and bigger when they started.  This one was just FOUR YEARS OLD for Pete’s sake.  And so little and cute.  Nonetheless, my heart’s desire was to teach my sons to be like what the good fairy said to Pinocchio.  

“To become a real boy, you must prove yourself brave, truthful and unselfish.”

 

Many years later, in college, as a barista, my introverted son told me that although he doesn’t particularly like to deal with lots of crowds, he has learned how to be flexible and serve people. The style we train in is called Songahm, which means pine tree and rock, and this is my son.  Strong, brave, flexible, loyal, solid, creative, with deep roots of faith and service.  He gives the credit to the taekwondo training he had, since it pushed him to come out of his comfort zone, perform in front of others, and build those character traits of leaders.  My quiet, introverted son achieved his third degree black belt, graduated college with a degree in music, performs on stage, and is a percussion teacher for special needs. He might be soft spoken, but he beats a big marimba!

Parents! Look for your kids strengths, and grow those gifts! And never give up.  Keep listening, and pointing them toward their dreams, not your own. Their personalities might never change, but you can help them have confidence, self esteem, flexibility of character and the resilience to bounce back from the fears and disappointments in life. Doesn’t every parent want that for their kid?

Here’s to quiet, shy kids! Parents of these children need to dig deep to help their kids stay safe, and know who they are in the world. If you know someone who has a shy kid in their house, forward this blog post to them! We need all the hope and inspiration we can get.

 
   

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

 

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

Weapons for my kid…seems counter intuitive.

After all, aren’t we as parents interested in promoting cooperation, non-violence, and happy days?

Yes, we are.  Still, we live in a scary world, and the more we shine light on things that might be frightening within the safe circle of our adult presences, the better equipped our kids will be when faced with the inevitable negative parts of life. 

When I worked through my color belts on my path to black belt what seems like a century ago, (everyone knows I am ancient) we did not have weapons or chestguards or faceshields.  (Thank insurance companies for the additional gear.) Back then, weapons training was reserved for the black belt.  So, when I achieved my black belt, my instructor, Chief Master Patti Barnum handed me a Ssahng Jeol Bong (nunchuk) with a broad smile.  I asked her if I had to do weapons.  (Hear the whine?) She grinned and said, “yes, ma’am!” Grudgingly, I proceeded to drop my weapon over and over as I tried to master a 360 during that class.  Geeze, I thought. What a pain.

I am so glad she pushed me to do weapons and here’s why:

  1. I learned more about personal space and how a weapon extends my reach. (Think, self defense)
  2. I grew in perseverance through something I did not initially enjoy. (Bearing with uncomfortable situations)
  3. Training with weapons helped me face my fear, gain control of my aggression, and respect my power. 
  4. Weapons work improved my martial arts practice.
  5. I eventually achieved a district championship in Ssahng Nat (kamas)!!!!! Who would’ve thought!!! Certainly not me.
  6. I grew to love weapons, and have become very proficient in them.

I am so glad we teach weapons to color belts! It only makes our students better martial artists, and more respectful human beings. Which is exactly what our purpose is for our students. I expect that each student has a special place at home for their weapons, belts earned, and equipment.  I expect that each student must ask permission of their parent to work with their weapons.  In this way, we teach our kids respect for authority, a reverence for things that can harm others, and a measure of self-control that is lacking in many people today!

Parents, please comment on your experience with our weapons training!

Mrs. Streacker

Fifth degree black belt owner

Full Life Martial Arts

815-254-8224