Some of you may remember the phrase, “Back when I was your age things were a lot tougher”, and if you’re like me, you’ve also said it to your own kids. Our roles may have changed with time, but the underlining message from such clichés remains the same.
These days many young students, including my own children fall short of appreciating the value of hardship. My teenage son finds it hard to complete a load of his own laundry once a week on time. A far cry from my modest upbringing in Taipei during the 1960’s, where I walked to school six days a week because I didn’t have a bicycle or the money to hire a rickshaw, and physical discipline was a good deterrent from being late. It was much stricter then, but one’s character becomes stronger after experiencing hardship.
In their defense, today’s politically correct guidelines has created a generation of feel-good kids with very little concept of reality, or what will be expected of them in the real world.
As a parent I am fully aware of our intuitive need to provide for our children for the simple reason of being able to offer them a better life than we had. Yet as a martial arts instructor I know the important benefits of teaching children the value of hard work, discipline, responsibility and respect.
Young students in our school learn to associate progress with hard work; it’s probably not going to remove their need for instant gratification, but martial arts allow kids to experience the discipline and adversity which make them stronger and wiser; it strengthens character.