Thanksgiving Every Day!

Yes, the best way to stay healthy and happy is to make EVERY day Thanksgiving! No, not eating all the food we look forward to every Thanksgiving holiday, but finding something to be thankful for ALL the time!

Thanksgiving – The Big Things

We have in our display case the BIG things that our students wrote down that they are thankful for. And it is important to remember those things and it’s wonderful that we set aside a day to really think about all the blessings we have.

But even more important is developing an “attitude of gratitude”. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s a good one to remember!

Thanksgiving – The Small Blessings

We need to be open to seeing the small blessings that we receive every day. A friendly smile from the clerk at the store. A new song that lifts your mood. An old song you haven’t heard in a while which brings back wonderful memories. The way the sun shines on the last of the Autumn leaves. The wind carrying the clouds quickly across a clear blue sky. The warm head of your pet resting in your lap. The look of accomplishment on a child’s face when they “get it” for the first time! (Whatever “it” is!)

Every day has gifts in it and we need to have the mindset to receive those gifts. We need to focus on what is good, rather than what is not so goods. Focus on what you have, not what you don’t.

Thanksgiving – In Hard Times

As we get comfortable developing this first step, we can even develop the ability to find the gifts in the midst of tough times. It is a real treasure to be able to find the silver lining in every situation. And will lead to a happy and fulfilled life.

Didn’t get that promotion you were hoping for? Maybe there is some relationship that needs to be developed in the current job. Plans for vacation fell through? That can be the perfect time to spend quality time with the kids doing things close to home you never have a chance to do! Your buddy isn’t at school/work today? That’s an opportunity to reach out and get to know someone new!

And as Senpai Josiah shared last night — a virus has you out of commission? It might be an opportunity to enjoy settling in on the couch and watching shows you don’t usually get to see (or reading books you don’t usually have time for)!

As we head into Thanksgiving week I want to encourage everyone to develop an attitude of gratitude and find something to be grateful for in every situation!

Three Strikes for Anti-Bullying

We are an antibullying school and we have taught anti-bullying to many school.  We teach children a simple yet effective way to stop bullying in schools. We have been teaching this for years and teachers have let us know that it is working! This week we have been reviewing it with our own students in classes.

What’s Three Strikes?

It’s funny because in some classes when we ask what 3 strikes mean to them – they might say bowling! Well, yes, there are strikes in bowling, but that’s not what we’re talking about!  Right now with the World Series just finished, hopefully you understand what we mean by three strikes!

When to use the three strikes anti-bullying method

We always tell children that if someone is hurt or in danger of getting hurt they need to go to an adult right away. This Three Strike method is to stop the SMALL mean behaviors that can grow into full-fledged bullying.

We used to use the metaphor of a match accidentally dropped. If there’s some dry grass around, a fire starts. If there are bushes nearby, the fire grows. Trees….you get the idea. Suddenly, you’re dealing with California wildfires that can’t be put out, but can only be restrained. In this analogy, we say before each spread, what if no one was there to see? What if there was nothing around to put it out?

Those small mean behaviors, if ignored, grow just like that fire. It’s because no one says anything, and either the perpetrator gets more desperate for a response, or she grows in confidence that she can do anything she wants and no one will say a word, that leads to a full-fledged bully. So we need to call out small mean behaviors just like we need to blow out that match, or douse the first flames.

What is the Three Strike method?

The first time someone does or says something mean, the response should be (calmly): “Please don’t do/say that. I wouldn’t do/say that to you.”

Now here’s the thing. A lot of us do things that hurt others without realizing it. As soon as someone points it out, we’re likely to apologize and that’s the end of it. Kids are the same way. They often just need someone to calmly point out that what they did was not acceptable. End of story.

The second time it happens the response should be (again, calmly): “Please stop. I asked you to stop once. If you do it again I will have to report you.”

What is reporting?

Well, it’s not continually running to whatever adult is nearby and whining and complaining that so and so is always doing such and such, waa waa waa!

The big idea here is that we want to HELP our friends to NOT become bullies! We are NOT trying to get anyone in trouble!

So reporting is, again, CALMLY, going to the appropriate adult and clearly state what has been happening. “Mrs. Smith, I don’t want to get Susie in trouble but she ……….. I have asked her to stop and she hasn’t. Can you please help?”

That’s it. The Three Strike Method to anti-bullying. When kids realize they can speak up and say no, it goes a long way to changing the environment so bullying doesn’t develop in the first place.

The best time to start this?  IN PRESCHOOL!!! That’s right. The younger the better. But 1st and 2nd graders also do well with this simple strategy. The older kids tend to be “too cool”.  They become more entrenched in ideas like “boys will be boys” or “there’s nothing I can do about it anyway” or some other mindset that actually feeds into bullying.

If your child begins to use the three strike method, others will follow. And you know who might be saved from becoming a bully? Your child!

Special Needs and Martial Arts

One of the worries for parents of special needs students is the number of activities their student will be excluded from.  Martial arts is not one of those activities.  As a matter of fact, at Warriors of Grace we have a significant number of special needs students and believe their presence is a blessing not just for us but for all of our students and the families who are a part of our school.

Studies Show Advantages of Martial Arts for Special Needs Children

Several studies have shown that martial arts  can be quite helpful for those on the autism spectrum. We know it’s helpful for all of us, in a myriad of ways. Physically, gaining strength and endurance, all who train karate improve. We gain emotionally by having to really focus on something that is challenging and can’t be learned quickly or easily. We also gain by working out hard in community and learning to help our partners learn.

Karate can’t be learned without self-control. The movements of Okinawa Goju Ryu, especially, are very precise and require tremendous control over every muscle in our body.

All of this is learned through watching, doing, and repeating over and over again. It turns out that our students learn by doing and a lot of repetition is exactly what a lot of students with autism need! Several of our students have come because doctors have recommended martial arts to them.

We all gain! Especially in our current world we all need to develop more humility and more compassion. And we all need to learn to reach out to others who are different than us. Having special needs students in class with us gives us this opportunity.

The next time you have a negative thought about someone in class, or your child’s class, use that as a cue: why am I thinking that? Is it valid? What is it about me that should change? How can I reframe that thought?

We want to use every opportunity help each one of us develop into the person we were designed to be!