IS THIS YOU?
The school year is over and you want your kids to have some freedom to just be kids for a little bit.
This is a huge concern we hear from parents every year around this time. I have 2 kids myself and I feel the same way sometimes.
Here’s the reality though. A few months later parents tend to drag their kids in kicking and screaming and all parents can say is, “I don’t know what happened. He was so disciplined before summer and now it’s all gone.”
The truth is, kids need structure and discipline. Everyone does, really. But when school lets out and they are suddenly free from the strict culture that school creates their young minds can go a bit crazy. Moreover, if they are in other activities and you take them out of those too, it’s a recipe for disaster. And it’s a sign of weak parenting.
When you go through six sigma training you learn that, to get to the root cause of something, you often need to ask “why” a minimum of 5 times. When I have done deep dives into the “why” of parents taking kids out of activities over the summer the first answers are always something like, “I just want him to have fun.” But when I dig deep and get to the root cause, the real answer is usually fatigue of the parent. “I just need a break.”
Our jobs as parents are daunting and challenging. But if we can’t show our children how we value commitment and discipline, why should they care about it either? The short answer is they can’t and won’t. And that’s why these kids are so much more rowdy at the end of the summer.
When I was born my grandfather gave my mother only a single piece of parenting advice, “Keep him busy. It’ll keep him off the streets.” And even while working 2 jobs and putting herself through college, my mother managed to get me to scouts, put me in martial arts, take me to T-ball, camps and more.
I witnessed, every day, her work ethic, and how important it was to keep organized and structured in life. And that work ethic has washed off on me. It’s led me to 2 college degrees, writing a book, attaining leadership positions in 2 fortune 500 companies, becoming a training NCO in the Army, opening 2 businesses, and becoming an employer. I didn’t do this by giving up. I did it because I understand and learned the value of using my free time intelligently.
“PRACTICE BUILDS HABITS”
There’s a saying we have in Jiu-Jitsu, “Practice builds habits.” This can’t be more relevant than when you let your kids “take the summer off.” They build bad habits. Waking up late, watching too much youtube, playing too many video games, and the list goes on.
Now don’t get me wrong. We all need to unwind a little bit and I’ve played my fair share of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Magic the Gathering. But I have also spent countless hours reading books to enrich my mind, exercising to strengthen my body, and finding my flow to power my will.
So, if your kid is in an after school activity and you’re thinking of taking them out of it for the summer, I would caution against it. If anything, put them in more activities and structure their free time. Go on vacation and visit the pools, of course. But be sure you teach them the value that comes with a lifestyle built on discipline and structure.
Martial arts is a great activity for kids to learn structure and discipline. We currently have some great specials going for it too. Visit our jiu-jitsu for kids page to learn more.