Do you wish your kids (or someone else) showed you greater respect? What is your definition of respect? How did you learn about respect?
Most of us have learned about respect, from our parents and teachers, and through various life experiences. Like most life lessons, some of our learning has been formal, and some of it informal. Do you ever wish that respect was something in which everyone got more formal education? Most people agree that our society could benefit from more exercise of respect.
What is respect? One of the dictionary definitions of respect is, " high or special regard: esteem." At Karate West, when introducing children to the concept, we tell them that showing respect means treating other people the way we like to be treated, and how they want to be treated.
Respect for our instructors does NOT mean that they should be put on pedestals to be respected more highly than anyone else. We believe that all relationships should be based on respect, so we try to teach the importance of showing respect, both formally and informally, to even our youngest students, and expect it from all the adults in the school, as well as the children. In martial arts there are practices built-in that are designed to make showing respect a habit. We believe this is an important benefit to all who come to Karate West, something we hope that all of our students carry with them throughout their lives.
Bowing is one of the formal habits we practice in martial arts, which is not necessarily carried outside the school, though some of us have found ourselves bowing through doorways at home and other places out of habit. Learning to be a good listener is one of the habits that should be followed in every setting and relationship. We teach children to focus their eyes on the person speaking, and to take turns talking. Learning to take turns in physical drills, and to be good partners with others in class is another lesson in respect. We practice using courtesy words with each other, and addressing instructors and parents as "Sir" and "Ma'am." Our teachers do not belittle students and students do not belittle or speak or act rudely to each other. Our high expectations for respectful behavior are generally met, and parents team up with us to help students keep showing respect outside our school, as well. Adults in class also show respect for each other, recognizing differences in ages, sizes, and abilities; learning to help each other work to their own strengths.
Showing respect is good for everyone, and studying martial arts is a good place to get practice in this valuable skill.