One of my students, a karate kid at East Valley Martial Arts Kenshin Kan, once asked me, “What do you do if a bunch of people surrounds you and wants your money or something?”
Later that same day, another karate kid asked me, “What do you do if somebody kicks you?”
Thinking this was a “what if” question, I gave my standard answer, “Protect yourself.”
He replied, “Oh, ‘cause that’s what happened in school,” and went off to do something else.
These two young people got me thinking about the world you’re growing up in. I don’t say the world is worse than it used to be. Some things are worse than before but others are better. I believe they balance out. Kids have always worried about bullies, and other kids have hit or kicked at school. These are timeless stories. But I fear that the world is worse today in many ways that affect you kids.
We worry about school safety after many school shootings. Movies and video games teach violence – fighting to the “death,” shooting, bombing. News about missing kids makes me wonder how many kidnappers are out there. With recent events, many kids worry about terrorist attacks. Many parents neglect to spend time with their kids, teach values, and give support. It must be hard to be a kid these days.
I don’t have a simple solution to make the world a better place for you. Who does? But I think we, the karate instructors, are doing what we can to help at the dojo. We spend our time teaching you – working with you and having fun with you – because you are important.
You are worth fighting for. Sometimes you, yourself, are the one who has to take on that fight. What you do in your life and how you do it makes a difference. And when you do your best, it really does matter.
Every one of you is special and unique. Sometimes we may not seem to appreciate you for who you are because we’re caught up in teaching class or running the dojo. But we karate teachers are here because we love you kids and you are important to us. We will do what we can to help you be prepared for the world, to embrace the blessings and to defend against the dangers.