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Bowley Kenpo Karate » Personal Stories, Philosophy » Kids as Role Models

Kids as Role Models

We’ve just about grown our school to the point where we need a kids class separate from the adult class. (Right now they’re mixed by rank instead.) So after talking the would-be schedule over with some of the parents, we were decided on a course of action. We are going to create a kids class for ages 5 to 9-ish. After a recent class, I was speaking with two of the kids who will be moving to the new kids class. One of whom is a 7 year old girl. Her first question was to ask if my daughters were going to be in that class.

Kids as Role Models

Kids watch other kids and can see them as role models.

The plan was my daughters (at this time ages 10 and 13) would stay in the adult class, but help as assistant teachers in the kids class. So there is no problem. But I was still struck profoundly by the question. Not because the girl is friends with my kids, but because she looks up to them as role-models. And didn’t want to lose sight of them. While everything is going to work out fine, it was a point of view I hadn’t actively considered.

Yes, I get we’re talking about my kids. And there’s no way I can objectively remove myself from being their dad and instructor when talking about them. But, in truth, this is a little bigger than a dad being proud of his kids. In martial arts, and in life really, you look up to someone all the time. Somebody is a role-model, a mentor, a hero. You could be that someone and not even know it. As that was the case here, we have had talks in class and one-on-one about the responsibility of being a teacher and role model.

In the specifics of karate class, all the lower ranks look up the higher belts. It could be as simple as just how to do a specific maneuver, but could also be how they conduct themselves on and off the mat. I believe this to be especially true for kids in martial arts. Kids watch other kids. So, while we use Kenpo as a vessel to teach leadership, we hope the lesson of role model sinks in quickly.

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Sam Bowley
McKinney, TX

Filed under: Personal Stories, Philosophy · Tags: , , ,

  • Chris Mettler

    Insightful and concise as always Mr. Bowley.

    I think it’s a valuable distinction that you make; leadership and a position of being a role model. And that many times you are never even aware of it. I’d add that MOST of the time, people are unaware of their impact on others.

    I also attest that your girls are a direct byproduct of you. So yes, they are becoming people of integrity, honor and of unmeasured value to others.

  • So true Sensei Bowley. I never forget to announce to our assistants that there is at least one child out there who idolizes each one of them. It is therefore paramount that they conduct themselves as an outstanding role model for the children. It is a huge responsibility. Thankfully almost all of them live up to my expectations. The future of our schools rests on our ability to inspire and motivate our students through our staff.

  • That’s so true. It is easy to forget in any martial art that often the ones our students look up to are their peers. Luckily martial arts is a discipline that creates fine individuals, so this not typically a problem to have.

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