Making a Commitment

The new year brings about resolutions and this is a good time to talk about commitment. Along with martial arts, we try to teach values that will be of use to our children in adult life. Some come from our tenets like integrity and perseverance. Some come simply from coming to class. One of those is commitment.

The best way for a child to learn commitment is to have them live up to one. The best way for a child to climb the ranks in martial arts is to attend more classes. So, for 2017, perhaps your child should make a commitment to come to class at least twice a week. And you could help them keep it.

Parents want their children to develop the skills taught by our tenets and codes such as self-discipline, respect and obedience, and of course actual martial arts. But some will allow their children to make bad decisions such as not going to class when the children “don’t feel like it.”

Some parents say they can’t force their children to do things they don’t want to do, but why not? That’s called parenting, that’s called teaching them to make good decisions. Would you allow your children to eat only sweets and not eat healthy foods? Would you allow your children to stay home from school anytime they want? How about watch “R” rated movies at age 8? I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea.

It’s hard to say “no” to children or in the case of going to class, to turn their “no” into a “yes.” It’s hard to allow children to be angry at you for being a parent and not a friend. Learning to keep a commitment is difficult, and in this case, it means that you, too, must make the commitment to get them to class, even when they don’t “feel like it.”

You could even go so far as to put it in writing. A written commitment reinforces the desire to keep the commitment. “Commitment is staying loyal to what you said you were going to do, long after the mood you were in when you said it has gone. “ Having that piece of paper is a good reminder of the commitment.

Having raised four children I could usually detect when an illness was real or fake. Having raised four children in the martial arts, when I figured they were faking, I would always tell them that they needed to go because they made a commitment, but that if they were really not feeling well, they could sit out and watch. You can learn by watching too.

And I can tell you with confidence, from these experiences, that 19 times out of 20, the kids will enjoy themselves once they are there. And once in a while they will even thank you for making them go.