I want to make sure you understand the last line of our dojo kun. “I’m on a quest to be my best!”
A quest is a search for something. But it’s a really important search. When adventurers are exploring new territories, they are on a quest. Once upon a time there were explorers on a quest to discover new lands. Now all the lands on the earth have been explored!
So our search here is to discover the best person we can be! That’s a journey that you’ll be on for your whole life!
We’re always learning and growing – always trying to be our best. And school is a perfect place to try being your absolute best!
Are you all ready for school next week? Are you ready to start strong? Are you going to make this the best year ever?
Quest To Be My Best
You know, whether you do well, and whether you enjoy school is completely up to you. You have the choice of either getting excited about school and being the best you can be.
Or you can choose to just be lazy and not put in any effort. You know what will happen then? It’s guaranteed that you will not do well. But what’s worse is you can be sure that you will not like it either! Why not try to go in with a positive attitude. Not only will you DO better, but there’s also a good chance that you will like it! Your attitude determines everything!
This Quest to be our Best — is a lifelong journey! You’re going to be learning and growing your whole life. So it’s really good to have a positive attitude about learning!
The start of school is right around the corner. We want to help you make this the best year ever!
We say “I’m on a quest to be my best!”
How do we make sure we’re being our best?
The reason we’re starting on this topic now, even though there are a few weeks before school starts, is so that you’re ready to START STRONG!
It’s a lot easier to do your best when you start straight out of the starting gate at full speed! This year school is starting after Labor Day — after a good long time of enjoying summer!
Best Year Ever
There’s no reason not to be ready for school! Being ready for school doesn’t just mean having all the things that you need for the first day of school. Instead, it means being ready to learn! Getting excited about what you’re going to learn this year! Getting excited about making this your best year ever! Whatever you think in your mind about school colors how ready and able you are to start off strong.
So how do we make sure we’re being our best? It’s all in our attitude — in how we are thinking. So I want you to start thinking NOW about this being the best year ever! Get excited about getting back to school!
For Little Ninjas and Golden Dragons —
Ask them to raise their hands if they will be going to school soon (many of them will – preschool or otherwise). Ask them to put their hands down then ask who will be going to school for the first time?
Be really excited for them “I bet you’re really excited to get to go to school!” “I bet you can’t wait to get back to school!” Through your own acknowledging of how great school is and how much they’re going to learn, they’ll learn that school is a good thing.
Remind them that they want to be really good listeners in school. Being a good listener is the best way to learn and do really well in school.
I didn’t know it before, but I think I am a hunter gatherer. For weeks now I’ve been hunting out all the little things I’ll need for my trip, gathering them in a way to see how much space I have for what I want to bring. I always thought my personality fit the farming mode – plant seeds, toil continually, and wait patiently for the harvest. And then of course more toil – harvesting, preparing, storing – and starting all over again! Life does seem to be an ongoing process of planting, weeding, watering, harvest, sort, prepare, store.
But my drive through eastern Tennessee and western Virginia just called out so strongly to my heart — that it made me think I must really be more of a hunter-gatherer. My soul just feels so at home in the wooded hills which are not conducive to growing crops!
Tomorrow we leave. I’ve just got one last errand to run — ear plugs! My tinnitus is already bad enough but after flying it’s a disaster leading to dizziness. I’ve never tried them before but this time I’m going to try ear plugs!
There’s never just one last chore or item on the to-do list. I’m afraid that list will never be blank. But I’m ok with that — I’ll come back to a list of things that didn’t get done before I left.
I don’t think God would design us any other way. I mean, what if we really DID do EVERYTHING on our to-do list? Would we feel unnecessary? Do we REALLY want to have nothing to do but praise and worship our awesome God? That sounds like a trick question — of course that would be wonderful. But really, how much more awesome to God must our worship be when it is in the midst of everything we do? We can praise and worship Him through each of our daily tasks, through all the jobs we work on throughout the day, and keep Him on our mind continually. If we had nothing else on our mind, well, it somehow seems like the praise and worship might be somehow less than.
God’s growing me in this area – to be ok with the things that don’t get done. And I praise Him for it!
LIttle Ninjas and Golden Dragons are reading the book “What do you do with a problem?”
What Do You Do With A Problem?
What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Would it give you courage to try some things that you’re afraid of trying?
We talk about having a positive attitude – at home, with your friends, and here at the karate school. Here’s another way to go about GETTING a positive attitude.
Any time you fail, you’re actually learning. We all learn from our mistakes. Those who are the most successful have failed the most! So there really is no such thing as failure!
A lot of you might hold back and not try things because of what others might think about you. But is there really any reason to care what others think about you? I’m not talking about being rude or not caring for others or trying things that are going to hurt you – I’m talking about fear of failure or embarrassment.
If you are holding back and not doing things you want to do because you’re afraid of what others’ think, then you aren’t really being YOU, are you? And if you aren’t really being YOU, then people aren’t seeing the real you, anyway! So whatever they ARE thinking – it isn’t really YOU they’re thinking about! So why not go ahead and be who you really are without worrying about what others think!
It took me a while to actually post the first entry. Now it is 10 – TEN! – days until I go! And before I go I am flying to Texas and driving a car back to Maryland!
I’ve never before leaned so heavily on prayer. I am usually a planner and over prepare for many contigencies. This time I am praying that God will supernatually prepare me to have what I need when I arrive in Thailand.
The main messages we want to bring are 1) how incredibly valuable each and every person is and 2) how much they are loved by God. Yes – each man, woman and child – is specifically valuable, especially to the God who created them! And none of us are able to comprehend the immensity of God’s love for each of us. Sometimes we can catch a glimpse of how much he might love in general, or how much he loves other people. But we often don’t fully believe the great love he has for me, in particular!
These main two messages are the very same messages that I am desperate to share with everyone I know: to my own children, of course; to each person at the karate school; to every person I see in any store I go into; and even to people I am not even that crazy about! The people I’m not especially fond of are probably the most important people to hear the message of God’s love for them!
So it turns out that God has been preparing me through all the years that I have spent studying, praying and learning all about and getting to know our wonderful Heavenly Father. All of it, in addition to being able to share with people around me here, has also been preparing me to share with people in Thailand! (And fortunately I’ve already taken care of things like passport, vaccinations and a neck pillow for the plane!)
He is such a good, good, Father! He’s taken care of me in readying me for my trip without my even realizing it!
Nineteen days until I begin my Thailand Mission Trip. It begins with a journey that will take over 32 hours, crossing 11 time zones. I will be heading into a world and activities very different from my usual day to day life. Nineteen days: in a way it seems like that’s still plenty of time, yet in other ways I realize I really am not prepared!
Why am I going?
As much as I can understand it: because I have been called. God has been guiding my path for several years now. A few years ago, quite by accident, he led me to become a volunteer at The Samaritan Women, an organization that fights human trafficking on several fronts, but most visibly with their rehabilitation residence for those who have been rescued from some kind of trafficking.
Each spring I would sit in church as the body was implored to go outside their comfort zone and share the love of Jesus around the world. I would say to myself “there is so much need right here, so many people right here who need to know the love of Jesus, why would I travel outside the country?”
I’ve traveled a lot, though not much in third world countries. I lived in Germany for four years. I’m not afraid of being in a place where I don’t understand what people are saying or am not sure what I’m about to eat. Those are not my primary concerns. But I did wonder if we applied all the resources that are given for missions to the nations, if we could turn our own nation around. A thought I still have occasionally.
But this spring was different. I felt that tug, a gentle push in one direction. And so I looked into where I felt I was being led. Then discovered “Previous mission experience required”! Get out!? Who knew?!
Then the very next day I came into work and Sensei Tony let me know of a mission team that his church was sending to Thailand. To Thailand! One of the worst places for trafficking of children! Only a few months before I had been in a doctor’s office listening to an American girl rescued from trafficking excitedly tell me that she would someday go to Thailand or Cambodia to fight trafficking! You may dismiss the hand of God, but I can’t!
In addition to many friends I’ve made in all my bible studies, classes and small groups, there are four girls in a rescue and rehabilitation center praying for me and my team. That is quite humbling.