Happy New Year!
It is inevitable at this time of year that we are all reflecting on the successes and failures of the past year and deciding what our focus will be for the New Year. Whether you have new resolutions, have set challenging goals for yourself or are just trying some new habits for 30 days; all of this takes DISCIPLINE.
In the simplest form, discipline means: To OBEY what is RIGHT
It is appropriate that we start off the year with Discipline as our life-skill for the testing cycle. Age 4 or age 40 we can all improve our discipline. For children, the most appropriate form of discipline is obedience. We learn at a young age to listen to parents, teachers, coaches and care-givers. As adults, self-discipline becomes a necessary characteristic for success in life.
So how do we train to be more disciplined? In our leadership class we teach that discipline has 11 components. Over the next couple of weeks we will go over all of them, for this week we will focus on the first 3 components.
- Commitment- discipline means following through with what you say you will do! Children learn this from their parents from a very young age. Whether it is commitment to a team sport where the team is relying on you to be present, or committing to Taekwondo training twice a week. The more consistent you are with continually showing up (even when you don’t want to, or the more difficult circumstance…when the kids don’t want to!) the more you are teaching the importance of commitment. This next part may be difficult for some of you parents out there to read, but I believe it is an important point. Often times as parents we are so focused on our children’s happiness in each moment that we neglect important lessons like commitment. As an instructor I often see students who have TRIED everything and COMMITTED to nothing. If attendance to training (or football practice or art class) is always based on whether or not the child “feels like it” they are not learning the importance of commitment. Imagine if, as adults we only went to work, or cooked dinner, or paid the bills when we “felt like it”. In general your child should enjoy the things they have committed to doing. The greater lesson however is to continue to foster the DISCIPLINE of COMMITMENT as the enjoyment inevitably ebbs and flows.
- Punctuality- disciplined people arrive on time! This one is self-explanatory. Being late is disrespectful to those waiting for you and is a bad habit that we often overlook or excuse. Practicing discipline in the small things, like arriving on time or 5 minutes early to a commitment fosters discipline in other areas!
- Goals- disciplined people set challenging and measurable goals! Goal setting and discipline go hand in hand. Disciplined people continually set goals to improve themselves and then practice discipline in committing to the changes needed to meet those goals. Goal setting is not just for adults! Like any desired characteristic, we want to teach our children how to set and achieve goals early in life. Remember that goals should be specific, measurable, attainable (yet challenging!), realistic and timely. It is not enough to say “I want to be more fit”, or “I want to be a black belt”. A true goal would be worded this way. “I will test for my black belt in June of 2019 and in order to be prepared I will attend at least 3 classes per week.” This way the road to success is measurable and there is a specific thing you are doing each day or each week to know that you are staying on track. Make your goals public, encourage your family to set goals together and then keep each other accountable!
So we have reviewed the first three aspects of discipline. Work on these for the next week and see where you can improve or how you can help your children start to recognize the importance of discipline. We will be focusing on discipline in class and I am eager to hear how this focus is helping change students’ behavior or habits outside of the Academy! Look forward to the next few aspects of discipline in next week’s blog post!