“I Love Reading!” (EVERYBODY should be saying!)

We are including the teens who participate in our adult karate class in a new summer reading program just for them. They have a more challenging goal, but they will also have a fantastic fun night as the reward!

Scores of studies show how much better students who love to read perform throughout their education. Well, it doesn’t just end there. The more we are learning throughout our lives the happier, the healthier, the more successful we end up being!

Think about how much our country depends upon citizens being informed. The more informed we are about everything in life the better off we are. It is especially challenging today with the overwhelming amount of information available to us to be able to discern fact from fiction. We don’t want to be easy targets for persuasive marketers!

One of the ways we develop discernment is by having a lot of information and experiences from which to draw. Yes, that information can be attained from a lot of sources, but one important way is from reading.

Reading can also be a wonderful way to find quiet pleasure and relaxation. My hope is that everyone would develop a love of reading. But even if you don’t develop or discover a love of reading, it is still important to continually learn and grow. Reading is the easiest way to make sure you are continually learning and growing!

If you’re a teen who does not like to read, I don’t expect this to change your mind.

But……hopefully you will want to come on out to our big end of summer teen blast party that we will have for those who meet the challenge!!

(ADULTS in the adult karate class — we’re not forgetting you! You’re next!)

What is the context of your life?

Context is everything! Do you have a box of miscellaneous cords, plugs and adapters that you don’t know what they’re for? I’m so afraid of throwing out something important that I have just such a box at home. But the truth is they are absolutely worthless on their own! Without a context (i.e. without whatever it is they are supposed to connect or adapt or plug into) they are useless!

Our purpose in life requires connection to something else, just as those cords require connection to something else. All on our own, living for just our selves, is not going to be rewarding. We might be able to find some pleasure or have some fun if we are just focused on our self, but it won’t last. We need connection.

Many of us have a yearning to know what our purpose in life is. We want to find assurance that we’re on the right track – that we haven’t missed something important we were designed for, or destined for. That sense of “there must be more” occasionally nags us.

Every one of us HAS a purpose. We believe that every one of us was created by God with a specific purpose (or purposes) just for us! If only we could see God in all his glory, and understand who he truly is, we would want to lean into him and learn from him what he planned for us (after, of course, we recovered and picked ourselves up off the ground!)

Moses cried out to God in a psalm written over 3000 years ago:  “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” When we make our days count, we are fulfilling our purpose. What better reward is there than gaining a heart of wisdom?

Start asking God today, to show you what he has planned for you. It doesn’t matter what “religion” you are or if you aren’t sure who you’re even talking to when you pray. That’s ok. That’s a place to start. We believe that Jesus Christ is who he says he is. What do you believe?

If you talk to God, he will hear.  Ask him to guide you to what your purpose in life is. He is a gracious God and he will answer.

Being connected to something larger than ourselves, finding the purpose for our lives and living that out is incredibly rewarding.  Our time is limited and we want whatever time we have been given to have value – to count. It’s never too early to start and it’s also never too late!

What are YOU doing this summer??

If your answer isn’t “READING!”, then you haven’t been in the dojo this week!

We want to help your child develop the habit of being a life-long learner!

Teachers know the break over summer can be a season full of learning opportunities . . . or learning losses. Make this summer one of learning opportunities! Have your kids gain a reading level (or two!)!

We know the behaviors, habits and character traits that produce highly successful kids.  Two of the habits at the very top of the list are “life-long learning” and the “love of reading”.  It is simple –people that read are more successful.  Summer is the best time to take your child’s reading to the next level.  We say “If your child is not reading over the summer – what are they doing?!

All athletes know that their biggest gains and improvements are made in the off season, the same rule applies to kids when it comes to reading.  I think you will like some of the improvements we have made to the program this year.  Here are some tips and guidelines to help you and your child excel:

  1. Our Summer Reading Program is mandatoryEveryone is expected to participate but like everything else in life – you get what you put into it! Here is a suggestion – start out strong. Get excited about this program and send the signal to your child that this is important.
  2. Read every dayThis may seem hard to some but it really is not. Here is the key – just make it a small habit and use a good trigger. For example, pick something you do every day that has some quiet time before or after. Right after dinner at home. Or, right before bedtime. Or, first thing in the morning while everyone is cuddling in mom’s bed. And, don’t worry about how much you read just that you do a little almost every day.
  3. Keep it funTake advantage of the fact that during the school year they often have to read things they are not thrilled to read. During the summer they can read what they like. So don’t worry if they read books, magazines or comic books. Let them have fun.
  4. Make books accessibleHave books around the house.Have books in the car. Always have books with you. Have books that you read too. We will have books in the dojo. If you have books you were going to donate anyway, please feel free to bring them in!
  5. Don’t underestimate the power of choiceKids will read books they like.Help your child find their interest. Building their interest can help even reluctant and struggling readers.
  6. Take advantage of technologyKids love those e-readers. You can also listen to books. Put them on your iPod or listen to audiobooks in your car. (We don’t count this as “reading” time, but it’s good for them to learn to enjoy reading!)
  7. Make reading a family cultureThis last one is probably the most powerful. To make this really stick and have the whole family benefit – make reading part of your family culture. Kids learn by example. The best way to motivate your child to read is to read yourself! Start by saying this all the time – “Our family loves to read – we read every day!” Then turn off the TV and video games and have daily family reading time. Another tip is to have Mom or Dad read to everyone or have older siblings read to their younger siblings.