The JNP Project – children finding “Inner Awesome”

For the past year I have been working on an advisory board with a project called “The JNP Project”. This project is a movement promoting the understanding and education of self confidence, self esteem and character building for children. It will be done interactively with books, web resources, and more. There are lesson resources for parents and teachers and they align with Common Core State Standards for Grades 1-4.

JNP_iBOOK_STORING-ENDING-GROUPWhile I have been involved for the last year, there are also many people who have been involved across the world – all of whom have a passion for helping parents and teachers help children to find their “Inner Awesome”. The project is in its infancy and not born yet – but our goal is to have it ready for everyone in June. Having an inside track though, I would like to share where we are with the project at this time with you. So here is the link to the site and please stay tune:

This project ties so closely to everything that we are working on at Balanced Life Skills with all of our students. I look forward to sharing more with everyone as we progress with the JNP Project. Thank you Dona Rudderow Sturn for inviting me to be a part of your vision and a big thank you to all of those individuals around the world who share this vision for the children of the world.

Girls “Kick It” at BLS


On January 10th, BLS girls had an awesome time Kickin’ It at the all-girl Focus Group in preparation of the February 7th workshop!

Register for the workshop by following THIS LINK or call Ms. Ariel at 410-263-0050


After a good warm up (including 20 push ups!), we split into teams for an obstacle course and a game of dodgeball. Then we circled up for a discussion of how girls fit into the martial arts world.

The girls had awesome input about their feelings of being a female martial artist, what BLS could do to be more appealing to girls, and how they feel about martial arts in general!


This focus group was designed to introduce BLS girls together and gauge their interest in an on-going all-female program, Kick It! 
They love the idea! The girls are very enthusiastic and eager to hand out invitations for the Kick It Workshop!

During Kick It at Balanced Life Skills, girls will have an opportunity to develop and strengthen  friendships, and they will have a safe space to lay the groundwork for positive self-esteem and how to identify exceptional role models.


Of course, this workshop will be equally as full of fun, laughter, games, and martial arts — you know, girl stuff! Ms. Jen and Ms. Ariel are really looking forward to seeing all the BLS girls, ages 7-12, on February 7th for the workshop, along with a few of their friends! 
Click the image below to print it out!
Kick It WKSHP invite

What message about self esteem are we sending our children?

Teaching character and life skills to students

We live in a culture and society that encourages us to compare ourselves to others. The media is constantly telling us that we are not as good as another because we do not look a certain way or because we do not have certain clothing or other status type items. Even people who are leaders in business many times pin their self-esteem on the success of their business accomplishments. Success might give you a temporary feeling of self esteem, but it will soon falter with your next challenge or failure.

Feelings of guilt, not liking our selves, or self talk that is not kind all have the results of worsening your self esteem. Instead when we realize that loving ourselves for who we are, not what we have or do, is a choice that every moment gives us a new opportunity to choose and to practice.

Where are you on the self esteem scale of 1-10? Do you hold yourself in very high self esteem or do you not like yourself very much? How we think is in fact a habit that we have formed, sometimes from very early on in our life. We may have developed our thinking from messages that we received from our parents or others that we have now internalized and we continue to give the messages back to ourselves. But now is the time to change the messages and we can make that choice by choosing the way we talk to ourselves.

If we have children giving them messages about who they are, separate from their outward successes or failures, that are positive, kind and loving will build self esteem. There is nothing that should be an excuse for not loving ourselves or our children. Our focus as parents and teachers is not on a failure but on the good parts of the child and the effort. If they do not get the grade they wanted, the trophy they worked hard for, or the belt (in martial arts) they hoped for, this not a sign of them not being a good person. Do not be so hard on yourself or the child.  The message we must give our child and ourselves too is that loving ourselves always starts by loving ourselves even when you do not feel so good about yourself.


Life Skills: Giving to Others & Self Esteem

Teaching character and life skills to students

Take a look at the gifts you have, the talents and abilities that you possess and of what you have accomplished already with them. Before you start comparing yourself to others and their accomplishments, smile at the accomplishments you have achieved in the short time you have been here in this body on the earth.

While the media and sometimes other humans are telling us what more we should be striving for, the secret to feeling good about ourselves and having self esteem is to look at what we already have and accomplished. In fact this secret goes one step further as described in the Tao Te Ching by Lao-tzu:

“Heaven is eternal – the earth endures. Why do heaven and earth last forever? They do not live for themselves only. This is the secret of their durability….. Serve the needs of others, and all your own needs will be fulfilled.”

Have you discovered that too; when we are willing to give to others that we do feel good about ourselves? But when our ego pushes us to have and be more and we are constantly striving to be better than, our inner peace and satisfaction with ourselves is diminished? If we are constantly striving, and never feel complete our self esteem suffers. When we let go and appreciate what we have and all we have been given, the concept we have of ourselves is growing.


Life Skills: Self Esteem Building Tips

Teaching character and life skills to students

How a child or adult feels about themselves is what self esteem is all about. What is it that you like about yourself is something that we can ask our children, or what is it that you did today that made you smile about yourself?

Giving our children the opportunity to have gratitude about who they are will over time build their self esteem. At the same time that we are encouraging them to think about what they like about themselves, a little note or kind word to them about something that is special about them, will go a long way to helping them feel good about themselves too.

Then one of my favorites is the simple but highly effective SMILE. A smile from us to our children reminds them that we approve of them being them. It will also bring ourselves as parents under more control when they the children don’t have our greatest approval. 🙂


Life Skills: Self Esteem – The Definition

Teaching character and life skills to students


Each month we define and discuss a word of character development and life skill with all of our students.

This month the word is Self Esteem and will be defined this way.


Young students: Self Esteem means, “I like myself.”

Older students: Self Esteem means:  Confidence in and satisfaction with oneself.

Here are the worksheets for our students:

Self Esteem Project Worksheet Tiger Tots

Self Esteem Project Worksheet 5-6 year olds

Self Esteem Project Worksheet 7-12 year olds

Self Esteem Project Worksheet Teens & Adults

If you would like to see how we will talk about Self  Esteem with our students please follow our discussions here during the month of OCTOBER or come in and TRY A CLASS.