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What Have We Learned?

Our greatest lessons are learned from life itself.


This three month long “Stay at Home” order has not been easy, but it has really been an opportunity to think. To think and maybe take a new perspective, attitude and mindset about ourselves and the world around us. I wanted to take a moment to share some of my thoughts with you.

As a dojo, one of our missions is to teach lessons. Probably the most powerful lessons we teach are about how you live your life. While we use various vehicles to get these lessons across such as training on the floor, pushing students hard physically and emotionally, and SEL lessons, in the end the greatest lessons in life are learned . . . by life itself.

We learn a great deal from the many families we care for here at this dojo. It should not be a surprise we have families who are really struggling right now, through no fault of their own, and at the same time we have families who feel a little guilty because they are having the best time in their lives. Then we have everyone else falling everywhere in between. Why the difference?

It really got me to thinking about a fundamental precept of karate in a very different way – “Never give up!” I now have a totally different perspective of Never Give Up as a result of this COVID-19 Crisis.

Before the shutdown my understanding of never give up was too simple - Just keep going and do not quit. But, just telling yourself “don’t give up” is too simple. There is much more to it. On a deeper application level what I now believe it really means is – How do I change and how quickly can I do it?

I think this crisis can be a life-changing lesson for all of us, and in particular our children. Here is one thing that is inevitable, and you cannot control – CHANGE. Change will happen whether we want it to or not. The only question is how big a change and when it happen? (We have certainly been handed a big one this time?!)

So, here is how we might be able to apply and use this lesson with our children. Just have a family discussion. Then use and share your powers of observation and awareness. What are the major changes in our lives? Did we change and how have we changed to handle it? How quickly did we change, and could we have changed quicker and how?

Your next discussion might be about the future because one way to improve and speed up your “changing skills” is to anticipate, formulate multiple plans, pivot faster then make adjustments. While we all wish everything in our live would just go back to the way it was pre-pandemic, the likelihood of that happening are pretty slight. We will have a new “normal”. So, what is your best guess of what things will be like in August or at the start of 2021? What can you do now to stay ahead instead of just wait and react? How can you take more control? I really like the word “pivot”. Just like in sports, how quickly can you change direction when the next ball is thrown at you?

Our greatest lessons are often taught by life itself. What lessons have you learned during what may be the most revolutionary times in our lives? What lessons have your children learned?

Don’t we all want our children to learn resourcefulness, adaptability and resilience? I cannot think of a better time to learn all three.

Yours for stronger kids,

Sensei

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