Black Belt Attitude at Home

What’s it like to be a Black Belt around the house? Powerful, in charge? Chill, helpful?

It’s all these things, because Black Belts are used to all kinds of challenges. During the course of four or five years of taekwondo training, tournaments, tests, Prep Cycle, Black Belt Immersions and Summits, you learn to adapt. Helping out around the house just comes with the territory.

You may not have earned your black belt yet. But if you’ve taken one karate class, you’ve said the creed. Here are some thoughts on bringing these values home.

MODESTY. Whether it’s with your kids or with a significant other, modesty is crucial to a healthy dynamic at home. How can you practice it? Don’t brag, in essence. I did the dishes, I cleaned the bathroom, I mowed the lawn—what did you do today? isn’t a constructive observation, even if it’s true.

Black Belts set an example. They do things together. Ask your kids to help out with household chores, and offer to participate. Say: Let’s do this together. Then give them the lead.

Once the people you live with realize you appreciate the things they do versus beg their attention for the things you do, the cogs start clicking. Things get done.

COURTESY. Courtesy’s so simple to conceive, but so tricky to employ. But this of all times is the time to get courteous. “Please and thank you.” “You’re welcome.” “Yes sir, yes ma’am.” Holding doors open. Listening when others (including your kids) are talking. Courtesy equals peace.

INTEGRITY. This sounds simple, too: Just tell the truth. But kids pick up on the inconsistencies or little white lies that parents are prone to tell. For example, you want the kids to eat healthy, but you’re snacking on Twinkies and chips. Johnny’s gonna see that and think, how does this fly?

Some things are for adults (coffee’s a good example), some things are for kids. You don’t have to feel guilty about what you disallow your kids. But you have to be honest, consistent. Look them in the eye, tell them what’s up. That’s integrity. Your kids will feel and see it, even if, in the short run, they don’t comprehend it.

PERSEVERANCE. Look for opportunities to push through challenges. Maybe you didn’t go on walks around the neighborhood as a family before. Maybe the kids complain. They’re tired, you’re tired, but keep it up. We’re going three more blocks. We’re doing 20 more slow kicks. Twenty more push ups. Twenty more minutes of math.

It’s tough, but we can do it. That’s a Black Belt mindset.

SELF-CONTROL. Big thing here is don’t lose your temper. It’s tempting (no pun intended). But when your kids see you yell, swear, point, snarl, rage… it accomplishes nothing, and sets an example that they’ll feel good about following.

When it comes to losing your cool, here’s a great song to sing with the kids.

INDOMITABLE SPIRIT. Black Belt boils down to this. As a warrior following the martial way, you can’t be beaten. You’ll get through anything. You’ll adapt and become stronger in the course of your struggles.

Be smart, be indomitable. We’ll all be stronger people for having gone through these times, and our kids will remember in their hearts what we sacrifice for their sake.

Thank you for training and staying true to each other.

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