Leadership discussion: who is qualified?

Dear Parents,

All of us want our children to be leaders. Yet there are some widely held beliefs that simply are not true, unless we allow them to be so. In the words of Mel Martinez, who was the Secretary of HUD in the early part of this decade, “Leadership is not for the few, it’s for everyone….We should operate on the assumption that every child has the capacity for leadership in one way or another.”

I would agree with his statement despite a widely held belief that leadership is a rare gift that only a select few have. That leadership is for those blessed with a quality called charisma and even attractiveness. Some also falsely believe that leadership should be coming from the top of an organization only.

It is easy to see that a bit of good looks and charisma will not hurt, there have been many leaders that were not gifted that way. Think of Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa and Gandhi, all of whom demonstrated great leadership under some very trying circumstances that had nothing to do with charisma or attractiveness. Neither is leadership about wielding power, as most people do not like to be bossed around.

There are all kinds of leaders. Some are loud and some are quiet. And I believe that anyone can become a leader, they can use their own personality and style and simply be themselves and still move others to action. So we will focus on this month the things that make leaders – leaders.

As teachers / parents our job is to give our children the training, the support, the encouragement, the confidence, the motivation, and the opportunities to lead. Then we should set them loose and let them lead. You are going to be amazed at what they do with their abilities and what they can achieve. More important with every success they will be strengthened to step up and lead again and again.

One of our highest goals here at Balanced Life Skills is to create leaders of our students. Not just leaders on the mat helping others learn martial arts skills, but leaders in their community. We have seen some outstanding examples of this with our students and their projects. There is even more to come.

The definitions of leadership are as follows:
Young students: “I make great choices so follow me!”
Older students/teens/adults: Inspiring people into action to achieve a common goal.

During the four weeks of September we will be discussing the following:
Week 1: What is a leader, what does a leader do, and why do we need them?
Week 2: Leadership Skills: Group goals and taking initiative
Week 3: Leadership Skills: Listening and communicating effectively
Week 4: Leadership Skills: Weighing pros and cons and taking responsibility

In the months to come we will be discussing

October: Responsibility November: Patience December: Friendship

As always, one of the best ways to teach and reinforce Leadership is by modeling strength of character ourselves. Discuss the ways you show leadership skills each day and point out the ways your children do the same. As parents, employees, bosses, and mentors, what kinds of leadership skills must you use each day?

We thank you for your support. You are pivotal in helping to make our school one of the best Martial Arts and personal development centers in the world. Please be sure to get your Leadership worksheets on the curriculum pages for your students age group at the new student site BLS Students!  You will need to register before getting your worksheets.


Courage: Letter to Parents

Dear Parents,

Courage is one of the qualities that we want to see in our children.  Being willing to try new things and to know how to cope with our fears is very different that not being scared.  All of us feel scared and nervous from time to time.  But when those fears are based on our imagination or worry about what might happen, that is quite different than when there are real dangers. 

In our school we see it quite often that when a child comes in to try a new class – even if they want to be there the fear of the group or new situation overcomes them.  We are able to help them overcome that and act in a safe and courageous way.  This month we will be talking to our students about courage the following ways.  If you would like your child to have more courage why not try Balanced Life Skills Martial Arts.  We build courage in children and adults.

The definitions we will use for courage this month are:

Young students: “I feel brave!
Older students, teens and adults: Courage is the willingness to face fears and challenges with determination.

During the four weeks of September we will be discussing the following:

Week 1: Courage defined. What does courage mean?  What are people scared of?
Week 2: Taking healthy risks: How can I use courage to try new things and meet new people?
Week 3: Courage and Values:  How can I use courage to stand up for what I think is right and fair?
Week 4: Keeping control:  How can I calm myself down and make good decisions?

If you would like more information please feel free to call us and watch for discussions on this website. Take time this month to think about the times you have shown courage even when times were scary.  Share these experiences with your children in an age appropriate manner and they will see how strength of character has served you.

Thanks to all families in our community who continue to support the practice of Life, Art and Peace.