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  • What does your face say?

    What does your face say?

    I heard this story a number of years ago, but think of it often. During Thomas Jefferson's presidency, he and some fellow travelers came upon a dangerous river. A bystander watched what the men were doing and selected the President, Thomas Jefferson, to ask if he could cross with them. President Jefferson agreed and had the man climb on his horse. Once they reached the other side safely, one of the men in the party asked the man why he had asked the president instead of someone else. He had no idea that he had asked the President: Thomas Jefferson. His answer was simple: on many of your faces was written the word "no." On his face was written "yes." Let's be sure that we write onto our own ....

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  • The last step is enforcement

    The last step is enforcement

    Wanting children to have a productive break from school, I tell my students that I want them to do two things this summer: read and do chores. Reading improves their brain (and attention span), and chores helps them learn skills while helping out their families. Along the same lines, I offer parents an E-contract. The "E" stands for electronics. It's a simple sheet of paper with 7 squares for 7 days and room on the bottom for 2 signatures. The parents dictate how many minutes or hours the children spend playing with tablets, video games, tv's, phones, etc, each day. It's a contract between the parents and their children and I recommend they place it prominently on the refrigerator. The ....

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  • Alexa, shut up!

    Alexa, shut up!

    The other night I asked my home device Alexa to wake me up in the morning. It also gave me the option of waking up to music which I thought was a pretty neat trick, so I allowed it. The next morning I awoke to Bon Jovi blasting out of the machine. Due to the loud volume level, my vocal attempts to silence Alexa went unheeded. I had to shout "Alexa," turn off! Later, it reminded me of how kids (and adults too), can't receive much in the way of input if constantly giving output. The real trick is to listen twice as much as we talk, so the information can flow in the proper direction. We want Alexa to shut up so it can work, there's a lesson for all of us too surely. Follow our Cypress-Jones ....

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  • What great customers we have!

    What great customers we have!

    Not a bad likeness, I think. This was a drawing given to me by one of my young Tae Kwon-Do students. It was his parting gift to me and his thanks for my instruction as he moves to another part of Texas. We will all miss you Kavin! I'm always amazed by my students and their abilities. It's a great joy to work with young and old people alike, and to see the many talents and signs of good character come forth as I get to know them. I'm a truly blessed person to be surrounded by so many special and loving people. Though I may fail to say thank you, at least know that my heart is absolutely filled with gratitude for all of my wonderful customers. I learned recently that the greeting "namaste" ....

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  • How firm a foundation!

    How firm a foundation!

    In church on Sunday I heard a wonderful hymn: How firm a foundation . In it, a line spoke to me: "What more can He say than to you He hath said?" Of course "He" refers to God, but it made me think about the way we humans think and act. We are always looking for something new, when largely what we need has already been given to us. This is even more present in children who lack the mental and emotional maturity to distinguish things of value for things that are new. Let us help children see that they don't need a new thing, but rather to understand the value of what they've been given. This goes for the spoken word as well as the material item. Follow our Cypress-Jones Rd-Jersey Village ....

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  • Success is just around the corner from failure

    Success is just around the corner from failure

    The other night I noticed how hard a student of mine was working on their Taekwondo pattern. He's made significant progress and the complex sequence of movements has not been easy for him to execute. Even though he didn't realize it, I wouldn't let him "stripe," or advance. It's not that he did such a poor job, it's that I expected more from him. With young children, getting a reward can sometimes be counterproductive to real achievement. For instance, an easy "A" in school will make them think they are so smart that they don't have to study or do homework. In my way of thinking, I would rather have the young person strive a little more for that stripe if only so that they don't rest ....

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  • Where are all the good teachers?

    Where are all the good teachers?

    I had a bittersweet run-in yesterday. I waived at a teacher I've known for about 15 years. Her boys took Taekwondo lessons from me and I would always see her at a local elementary. I told her that I thought she didn't work there anymore since it'd been about a year since I'd bumped into her. She said that actually she was retiring this year and looking to pour her energy into another career as she was still quite young. She confided that the reason for her exit was that elementary school aged children were allowed to openly disrespect teachers, even going so far as to say "f-you" without any real consequences. She said that she didn't need daily verbal abuse, especially from kids. When our ....

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  • What is special anymore?

    What is special anymore?

    Having been in the Martial Arts and the childcare industry for over 20 years has given me some perspective about what excites children. Increasingly, it's less and less. In the past, we would take children on field trips such as roller skating or to the movies. They would be so thankful and have such a great time. When they were given a Martial Arts lesson, they were simply thrilled with the experience and practiced enthusiastically at home. What's changed? We live in an on-demand society where children have fewer opportunities to delay gratification. Cartoons are 24 hours, movies are no longer that unique, and due to growing up with the internet, they've literally seen it all. It's a sad ....

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  • You'll never know the difference

    You'll never know the difference

    Yesterday, I was on the phone with a Martial Arts instructor friend. We were sharing some funny stories and student challenges too. We had a good laugh about some tough cases until he encouraged me with a special one of his own. He said that he never truly experienced ADHD until meeting one young man. He poured every ounce of patience into this kid for 8 years and thought he was a lost cause. Later, that young man joined the military and straightened his life out. Though he came from a troubled family, he credits my instructor friend for setting him on the right path and saving his life. What a powerful impact he had! It's rare to actually have someone say what you did for them. Be mindful ....

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  • "No" is for Adults

    "No" is for Adults

    If you want to spoil a child, be sure to say yes to everything. Give in to their every demand and tell them how much their feelings matter. Quiet them with a tablet or cell phone and make sure to receive their consent for all of your choices that affect them. Finally, let them scold you when they feel that you've disappointed them and let them do it publicly. Many of us have created monsters at a young age and now that they're older, we don't know what to do with them. When a child has no leadership from the parents, they will fill the void themselves. I am a strong proponent of building confidence in children, promoting critical thinking and wise decision making. However, having the ....

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