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Why Our Children Need More Stress

You have figured out our secret . . .

I recently had a wonderful exchange by email with one of our awesome karate moms. I wanted to share it with you as it is a powerful explanation of what we are doing here. (*I have changed the names to respect their privacy.)

Sally’s mother Beth, started by sending me an email letting us know her daughter had an injury and might have to make some adjustments or modifications during her class. Beth ended her email with:

“Sally is looking forward to next week’s stripe test – I don’t think I could ever get those combos down myself – great challenge!”

In my response back I said any modifications were perfectly fine and that we would watch out for Sally during her class. But I could not resist commenting on her ending sentence. I wrote:

“Oh, you are figuring out our secret. Don’t tell the kids but we intentionally make the material they learn too hard, or expect them to learn it too fast on PURPOSE! We want to help you create more “good" stress in their lives. Those stresses are boredom , hardship and failure. With the belt stripe test we want to repeatedly create the stress of “This is too hard!” and “I can’t do this!” and “I want to quit!” because every time they get these intense emotions and feelings then power through them they get stronger in character, mind and body.

The more often they do this the quicker they develop one of the most essential character traits for success - GRIT. Grit is persistence and perseverance. The ability to stick with something no matter how long it takes or how many times they get knocked down. When everything comes too quick and easy they never develop Grit. If they never have to work hard or struggle for something they never develop Grit. Character can only be learned by “doing”!

At the next level Grit steps up to become DISCIPLINE. Highly disciplined people make life look so easy. If you want to know the critical element for success it is discipline and the ability to delay gratification. Discipline is simply the ability to do things you do not want to do while delayed gratification is the ability to wait for something harder or more important later over something that is easier or more pleasant right now. There it is. This is our secret. This is your daughter’s path to success and happiness.

. . . So every time you see Sally struggle at karate you should smile!

I should use this topic for my next “Sensei Says”?

See you next week!


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