For a little more than five years, I have trained in Shudokan Karate. In our style, we take our black belt test and IF we pass we receive the rank of Shodan-ho. Shodan-ho is a probational 1st degree black belt. The black belt test is rigorous and tough and many do not pass the first try. Last June I tested for black belt and earned the rank of Shodan-ho. I was presented my black belt without credentials. I continued to train this last year and yesterday, after turning in an essay on the topic of karate and taking another test, I earned the rank of Shodan. I am now a first degree black belt.
Throughout my training for black belt, training did not end at the entrance to the dojo. I continued my training and education in karate throughout my life outside of the dojo. Sometimes I would relate a karate principle to a life principle. Maybe a story that Sensei told was retold to my children to help them. Sometimes it was just practicing while waiting for water to boil. Continuing outside the dojo is in harmony with my beliefs about education. Education does not stop at the door.
Unfortunately I hear from many parents that their children get home from school and learning is DONE. Far too many children believe that learning only happens inside the walls of an institution. How sad! The attitude that learning stops at the classroom door often carries into adulthood. Just the other day as I was leaving the dojo I made a comment to another black belt about it being time to go to the library. I always go pick up my books on hold right after class. He looked at me with a bit of a blank look and said, "At least you read." I was a bit startled. I told him that I had a pile of books to read but I also needed to pick up all the books for my kids for school. He then proclaimed that he did not read. He only read if he had to, he didn't like reading, and he couldn't wait to finish his bachelors so he wouldn't need to read any more. As we continued to talk I told him about how I love reading because I can learn all sorts of new things from books. He then said that all the books he read in school were rather worthless and it seemed a waste to him. I was so sad for this young man. Here he was about 25 and still had an attitude that learning should end as soon as he was out of the class. He was glad that he got by without even reading some of the books he was assigned.He did not have a love of learning.
Moms (and Dads) need to continue their education. As a parent, we need to set the
example for our children. If we want them to develop a love of learning
and a life of learning, we need to show it. I have continued my education in various areas of my life throughout my childrens' lives. I earned a Masters of Herbology when Pumpkin Pie was 2, I took a weekend class every month last year, I read books on many subjects, and I learn along with my kids. Despite all this, my sweet Butterfly said to me a few months ago when I told her I needed to learn while she was in quiet time, "You still learn?" It was quite a profound moment for her. I remember as a child I thought that adults knew everything and were done learning. I am so glad that her view was changed that day. She loves that I continue to learn and that helps her to have a desire to do more learning herself. She sees in me how valuable it is.
So why did I write about karate instead of some great book I am reading? I picked karate because all of my children and husband choose participate in some form. Strawberry loves to play karate at home copying how to kick or punch (always in the air), Pumpkin Pie, Butterfly, and Tiger are all training and even Dad is too. Karate has become a family activity. This picture above was taken just before I had to opportunity to help grade the test for the color belts. Among those testing were my husband and son. Butterfly tests tomorrow and Pumpkin Pie tests in a few weeks.
You don't have to take karate or have the whole family participate in the same activity to teach a love of learning. What matters is being the example. Let the family see you learning and studying. Find something you are passionate about and do it!