Humility – our firm foundation

Humility is the foundation for everything we do here at Warriors of Grace. That is not to say that we are good at it yet! We struggle with our own egos, our own pride. But we recognize that it’s the most important thing for us to be consciously working on.  As in all things, awareness is the first step towards change. If you don’t know something is broken you can’t even begin to fix it!

 

Karate does a great job at keeping one humble. Not only is it difficult to master, but every time you think you have acquired a skill, you realize that there is still more to it – more to learn about that one single skill! The details are tremendous and never seem to stop coming.

 

Being humble is not about lacking in confidence, or lacking in strength to stand and defend yourself or someone else. It is more of an attitude of openness; knowing that you might be wrong and being prepared to switch course if necessary. Even when defending yourself, staying humble is important to ensure what you are defending is truth.

 

One of our human traits is to attach strongly to an idea or a position without necessarily hearing all the facts. The strength of our convictions can be a wonderful thing. But if we want to remain on the side of truth, we must remain humble and stay open to hearing other perspectives and learning new facts as they come to light.

 

Humility can be a very challenging concept for children to learn. We have to come at it from many different directions. This is how we tackled it this week:

 

Little Ninjas and Golden Dragons

 

Look before you leap!

 

THE FOX AND THE GOAT
A Fox fell into a well, and though it was not very deep, he found that he could not get out again. After he had been in the well a long time, a thirsty Goat came by. The Goat thought the Fox had gone down to drink, and so he asked if the water was good. “The finest in the whole country,” said the sneaky Fox, “jump in and try it. There is more than enough for both of us.” The thirsty Goat immediately jumped in and began to drink. The Fox just as quickly jumped on the Goat’s back and leaped from the tip of the Goat’s horns out of the well. The foolish Goat now saw what a plight he had got into, and begged the Fox to help him out. But the Fox was already on his way to the woods. “If you had as much sense as you have beard, old fellow,” he said as he ran, “you would have been more cautious about finding a way to get out again before you jumped in.” Look before you leap!

 

Tigers and Juniors

 

Be humble

 

The hardest thing in the world can be to admit you made a mistake; to admit you are wrong. But the truth is that when you make a mistake, that is an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on! Humility is the foundation of karate. Humility is the foundation of all learning. You can’t learn anything if you think you already know everything. You can’t learn anything if you think you can already do everything! We need to stay humble. Making a mistake and telling someone is being humble. Admitting you are wrong is a lesson in humility. But it isn’t good enough to just tell ANYONE. You have to tell the person that you were wrong to; you have to tell the person that was impacted by your mistake. That is true humility; that is being humble.

How can I help?

We often think of leaders as those who are ready to plow straight ahead and followers go on after. The best leaders are those who inspire followers rather than compel or demand them to follow. What makes the best leaders? Those who serve others and ask those who are following “what can I do for you?” In a work situation the best leaders ask “How can I help you do your job better?” We may not think of leaders as being servants but that’s what the greatest leader in the world was – a servant leader. We are inspired to follow those who are willing to help us. The more we can put others first, not only do we become better people, but we become better leaders. Remember, we all, whether parents or not, have younger eyes that watch what we do. Let’s inspire them to follow us!

This week’s mat chats were:

For Tigers and Juniors:

What can I do for you?

Do you know how you can really show someone you love them? Let me ask you this first: do your parents love you? How do you know? I’m sure there are many ways, but do they DO things for you? Sure they do. They drive you all over to your various activities because they love you. They work hard to provide you what you need, like food, and clothing, and they work hard to provide you extra things, too. They do things for you because they love you. Now I want you to show them you love them by asking how can I help? What can I do for you? If something came straight to your mind just now – remember that, go home, and DO it! Or just ASK the question! Ask how you can serve – how you can be of help to those you love.

For Little Ninjas and Golden Dragons:

What can I do for you?

Does your mom and dad do things for you because they love you? Yes, they do! Doing things for people is how we can show our love for them. Do you think there is something you can give your mom or dad? You can show you love them by asking them what you can do for them? I bet there are a lot of ways you can help mom or dad around the house. Love isn’t just a feeling – it’s something you do! So show your love by asking what you can do for your mom, your dad, your grandmother or grandfather, or someone else who takes care of you. Show them by your actions that you love them!

Does your gratitude have a “yes, but” ?

Last week we focused on having an attitude of gratitude. We’ve all heard it and yes, we all buy into the importance of having an attitude of gratitude. But somewhere in between what we know in our brain and what we feel in our heart can be a bit of a disconnect. To be sure, starting in the brain is not a bad place to start. Habits need to be formed, disciplines need to be followed! Having gratitude is a huge one to work on. We just want to help you to push it to the next level!

The next time you notice a  “yes, but”, just be aware of it! Awareness is the first step to being able to change anything. Notice when you say the right words, but feel a hint of …. something else….dare I say….ingratitude?  You know: “thank you for the lovely surprise gift” and inside you’re wishing it were something a bit different. Or “thank you for bringing me lunch” and you’re wondering why the other didn’t know you’re allergic? Or “thank you for doing the dishes” and inside there’s a snarky remark just trying to get out. Or even thanking God for something He has done for you, but following with a “why couldn’t it have happened this way”? Those are all what I call “yes, but”s.  Just try to be aware of them.

And then you know what comes next. That’s right. Try to turn each “yes, but” into real gratefulness. Recognize the gift, recognize the love, appreciate the thought, appreciate the gift. It just takes practice! Let your gratitude be real, not just a habit!

Mat Chat for Little Ninjas and Golden Dragons:

Did you give your mom a special Mother’s Day hug last week? I hope so! Think about all the things your mom does for you. It’s important to be grateful for what she does. The next time you feel angry because she’s telling you “no”, try to think about all the things she DOES let you do, and DOES for you! I know it’s hard – but when we can stay thankful, we are much happier! If you didn’t give your mom a big hug on Sunday, I want you to be sure and give her one today. In fact, even if you did — go and give her another one now! Say “thank you mom, for bringing me to karate, and for ALL the things you do for me”! (hopefully some of you got some extra hugs in!)

Mat chat for Tigers and Juniors

When you say “thank you” to someone, is there often a “yes, but” in the back of your mind? For instance, if someone gives you a gift that you’re not crazy about, do you say “thank you” but think to yourself “I wish it were xxx”? Or when you thank your parents for bringing you somewhere, is there sometimes a “yes, but I wish I could’ve gone somewhere else”? Or let’s say you’re working on the gratitude packet and you can come up with some things to grateful for, but right behind those thoughts come thoughts of things you wish were different. That’s gratitude with a “yes, but”. Try to be aware of all those “yes, but”s. They take away from having an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude is so important – it affects your family, your friends, even how you do in school! We want you to develop a REAL attitude of gratitude and get rid of those “yes, but”s!

 

Keep ’em learning over the summer!

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I know we still have a month left of school, but I bet many of you have your summer all planned out. I hope it’s not too late to encourage you to keep up structure throughout the summer.

We have a lot of things planned for this summer! It’s an important time at Warriors of Grace Karate. Why? We want to help you…

1 …keep as much structure and discipline over the summer so they keep the good habits they are developing.

2 …keep them learning so they develop the habit of learning! The most successful and satisfied people are those who are life-long learners!

3 …get them ready for school to have the best year ever!

How can we help?

  1. Structure and discipline: Kids really do want and thrive with structure and boundaries. Stability and certainty helps them feel safe and confident. While it’s easy to ease up on structure over the summer, it’s important to keep coming to karate for consistency.  Definitely have fun and travel over the summer, but when you are home keep your children’s lives as consistent as possible. Wake up and go to bed at the same time. Have regular meal time, reading, chores, and family time. (Consider our karate camps to give your child a big, structured, fun boost!)
  2. Learning: All highly successful people know learning is a continuous, never ending process! When we set the expectation that learning only takes place in school, we set up a really bad habit or thought. Instead, make it clear that learning is essential ALL the time. And we believe reading is the single most important habit to instill towards life long learning. That’s why we take the Summer Reading Program here at Warriors of Grace seriously. This is a mandatory program on which we will be sending out further information shortly. The reading program begins when school gets out and goes until it restarts in August. Be on the lookout for details!
  3. Best Year Ever: Yes, it is only May, but if you want your child to have the best school year ever beginning in August/September, NOW is the time to start preparing! We will be working all summer to develop those life skills and character traits that will give your child a head start in the fall. We are hoping you will be doing the same at home!

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It’s hard to be kind! (But it’s contagious!)

In today’s world, with so many factions on every side, we can get caught up in what we think is “right” that we can forget to be kind to those who disagree with us. I think kindness has lost its importance. For many, being kind is equivalent to being weak. In reality, being kind to those you disagree with is a sign of strength. We tell the kids all the time it takes courage to stand up and do the right thing. Often the right thing is to be kind — and that can take courage! It is easy if I can put the person in front of me ahead of myself. Putting others first is our ultimate goal when raising children. Certainly we need wisdom and clear sight not to be used or manipulated by others. But when we can see the other’s point of view, the strength of their conviction, we can communicate in a way that is kind, without compromising our own beliefs.

Here’s how we put it this week with the kids:

LIttle Ninjas and Golden Dragons

Be kind!

It’s so important to be kind. Even when we don’t feel like it, we need to try to be as nice to everyone as we can. And you know what? Kindness is contagious! When we are kind to others, they catch the kindness bug! Let’s try to see how many people we can spread the bug to just by being kind!

Tigers and Juniors

Kindness is contagious!

Emotions are contagious! I’m sure you’ve noticed it. Maybe you’re at home and one person comes home in a bad mood. It seems like a dark cloud just came in and everyone feels it. Likewise when someone comes in happy and excited, everyone around them often gets lifted up too! How we treat people is also contagious. When we treat people with kindness, it brings up the level of kindness in the whole group – whether it’s at home with your family, or in your class at school, or really anywhere you go. When you make an effort to be kind, others follow! Doesn’t that sound like something we want? Awareness is the key to every change we want to make. So let’s start with noticing every opportunity to be kind. Notice the opportunity – can you do something for someone? Can you say a friendly word to someone? Can you offer to share something? Can you listen to someone who needs to talk? Notice — and then ACT! Because when you do, it will cause others to be kind, too!