Practicing confidence just like my students

handshake2This is rather personal in that I am guessing that most people that are acquaintances, would never guess this about me – unless I told them.  I find it very hard to walk into a room with people I do not know and quickly start up conversations and be comfortable.  Are there others in our community like that?

It is interesting that as I am talking to students about building and demonstrating confidence – this is certainly one area that is a weakness for me personally.  So this week I told the students about my weakness and reminded them and myself that “confidence comes from competence & competence comes from practice”.

Our practice this week was getting the words right and practicing introducing ourselves to each other.  Then just to work on our courage, some of the students went up to adults in the studio (who are parents of other students) and practiced introducing themselves to them.  They did a great job.  Good eye contact, firm handshake, using the correct words.

Even when we sometimes feel unsure of ourselves when we are around people we do not know,  practicing and putting ourselves out there is courageous and powerful.  My next time to practice is Tuesday September 16 when I will be at the Board of Education Breakfast to listen to the new School Superintendent.  I must practice what we have been talking about in our classes.

Three Arts, 1 Dojo Method

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Dojo (“Place of the Way”) is a place where one practices Martial Arts. More importantly, it is a place where a person learns to navigate their path. In our Dojo, we combine three arts: Martial Arts, Performing Arts and Visual Arts.  we use the practice of Martial Arts to establish a foundation of core values that teach students to respect themselves (Self Values). Then, in order to accommodate different learning styles and interests we rely upon the three arts to teach the student how to respect the world around them (World Values). This is the “Balanced Life Skills Way”.


Self Values World Values
  • Physical Health
  • Mental Focus
  • Emotional Well-being
  • Civic Responsibility
  • Joy in learning
  • Communication
  • Compassion

Martial Arts is woven into our performing arts and visual arts curriculum through physical and mental exercises, classroom management techniques, system of advancement, and student teaching. Each discipline develops its’ own curriculum, subject area competencies, and methods for achieving fluency in the shared competencies of: Bullying Prevention, Anger Management, and Productive Life Skills.

Healthy risk taking can build confidence

Introducing-Kids-New-FoodThe most difficult part of parenting that I can think of right this minute is how to know when to help your child to take a risk.  Taking risks is a part of growing up and children begin the process at a very young age.  In fact it is the characteristic of confidence that allows a child or anyone to take risk.  Some are more willing, almost too willing to risk and others are more reticent.

When dealing with risks our children want to learn to determine whether it is a healthy or unhealthy risk.  Healthy risks might include for a young child trying a new food or activity.  Even meeting a new person can feel like a risk to a child that has not gotten comfortable with that situation.  How we handle that can determine if we are willing to try another “risky event” at another time.

Even though we do not feel confident there are things we can do to make it easier to take the risk.  Talking to a mentor or a friend may offer the support they need to try something new. Or finding an affirmation that a child can say to themselves may give them the confidence to move forward.

In the end one of the best ways to gain or maintain confidence is by practicing.  We said in an earlier post, “Confidence comes from competence.”  If you are good at something you will be confident about that action.  The way you get more comfortable and good at any activity is by practice.

Adults and parents have to remember that our children are learning from us too.  In other words, are we willing to take “risks” and are they healthy ones – like what kind of food we will eat, or trying a new game or activity.  As a parent helping our children define boundaries that define risks in safe environments versus dangerous ones is one of the ways that parents can help their children.

driving-safelyOn the other hand if children see us take risks that are dangerous – speeding, running lights, health decisions, drug or alcohol use, it is far more likely that they will model what they have seen their parents do.

What if our child is not willing to take a risk – like meeting new people? Talking with them in a dialog, not speeches or lectures, learning how they are feeling and giving them time and experience may be helpful in overcoming the fears that are stopping them from healthy risks.

How the Talents of Children Are Used To Teach Charity

Understanding that giving to others does not always have to be about giving money or “treasures”, but can be about giving of our talents can be very rewarding. This week I talked to our students about what they were good at that might be of value to another person. They had all sorts of ideas and they literally saw themselves being good at many different things, though most of them were physical activities (swimming, bike riding, monkey bars soccer). Soon though they began to realize that they also were good at drawing, singing, coloring, cooking, even teaching.

boy-and-grandma-on-laptopThe next question is how can we use those talents to help others?Could they perform and entertain either to make money to be donated, or just to cheer someone else up? How could they use their love for animals to actually help those animals that had lost their home? What could they do a piece of art work for, how could it be used to make someone feel better?

Having discussions like this with our children begins to develop in them the desire to help others, to take the lead in charity events and find ways of giving back. Teaching our children that doing this sort of work demonstrates that we see the value in everyone of our fellow humans, despite the circumstances they find themselves in at this time.