Here you will find what 13-year-old Emma has to say about sincerity and honesty. Last time, she talked about moral character.
J: What does Dojo Kun number two, “Keep an honest and sincere way.” mean to you?
E: It means, be honest with yourself and others, and use sincerity in your daily life.
J: How can you do that at the dojo?
E: One way that I use sincerity is, I go to karate and I do my best. I don’t show off, or talk like I’m so great.
J: But you work hard, and your kicks are awesome: fast, high and powerful.
E: Thanks. I work hard at my kicks and everything. But I don’t brag about it. And if someone says they wish they could kick like I do, I give them pointers about how they can, if they work at it. My sincerity is in my actions.
SINCERITY AT SCHOOL
J: How do you use honesty and sincerity at school?
E: I tell the truth, if anyone asks me something.
E: My nana used to say, if it is not nice, then do not say it. So I think before I speak. And if the truth or my opinion might hurt someone, then I will just not say it, or I’ll avoid the subject.
J: So if I ask if you like my new haircut and you don’t like it, what would you say?
E: Something like, “It’s okay, but I liked it better before.” Hair grows out, so I’d tell the truth in as kind a way as I could. If you didn’t want to hear it, you shouldn’t have asked. But if you never asked, I just wouldn’t say anything about it.
J: Your sister said you have a reputation for telling the truth.
E: Yes. At school, they ask me if they want to know the truth. So I tell them. I have a reputation to keep.
BEING SINCERE AT HOME
J: How do you use sincerity at home?
E: I don’t sneak around. Like on TV sometimes teenagers sneak out of the house to go to parties. That’s just dumb.
E: My cousin did that when she was my age. She liked a boy, and snuck out to go hang out with him and his friends. She got drunk and he, you know, took things too far.
J: Oh! I’m sorry to hear that.
E: Rules at home are there to protect us. When my cousin got hurt. Okay I’ll just say it. When she got raped, it not only ruined her life as a teenager, it hurt all of her family.
J: That’s too bad. So you don’t go to parties when the parents aren’t home and get drunk or high, like in movies?
E: No! It’s not difficult to have a good life. You just follow the rules.
J: Do you have anything else to say about sincerity?
E: I can sum it up with a quote from the Roman emperor and philosopher, Marcus Aurelius: “If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.”
J: Thank you Emma.
By Jenifer Tull-Gauger