Every month we talk about a specific Life-Skill. The Life-Skills that we seek to develop in our students are the true purpose of our program. We encourage all our parents to help their kids learn these valuable lessons. Yes, we want to develop students with good Taekwondo skills, but our true goal is to use Taekwondo as the vehicle to develop our students focus, teamwork, and this month, gratitude.
When someone helps us, using their time and energy, we need to show appreciation. The place we start, is to remind our students to say thank you to others. These two simple words help teach our students to think about other people’s feelings. We use the example of them helping someone else, putting it into a scenario they can understand. If they spend time helping a friend clean up a mess at school and afterwards that friend just turns and walks away, it would hurt their feelings. Framing a scenario this way, helps keep the conversation on a level that younger students understand. In the martial art’s culture, there is built in method of showing appreciation.
In our Taekwondo setting we frequently practice gratitude. Students are taught to bow to each other and instructors after they work together. Bowing after training together is the Taekwondo way of saying thank you for working with me. Not only do we show appreciation to others, but we also learn to respect our space and the privileges we have to train by bowing as we enter and leave the school and the matted training floor.
Showing appreciation can also demonstrate how we show others that we appreciate them as a person. It is easy to give a quick, almost meaningless thank you, but when we take the moment to connect with the person we are thanking, it can help us build stronger relationships. Ultimately, that is what we want our students to learn. We want them to learn how to develop stronger relationships, by demonstrating respect. Giving gratitude when others help us is a key component to respect.