"But I don't want to go." If you're a parent, you've probably heard this a time or two. Given loud enough, and with enough frequency, even the toughest parent can begin to waiver. Truth be told, we've said those words ourselves a time or two.
It's easy to quit. Especially these days. Kids are so busy, with so many activities, that sometimes they just get tired. Likewise, parents are often glad for the break when seasons end, or even when a child stops an activity. But the real secret to success in youth sports is that the season never really ends.
Parents with kids on traveling teams understand this. They've made a commitment to it. For these kids, their skills continue to grow. They get to test themselves against other kids just as interested. It's no surprise that these will be the go-to kids when they hit the varsity level.
But what about the kids who don't have that level of interest or ability, and never will. How are they going to learn the life skills that come with competitive sports? Where will they face challenges that help them learn how to overcome, and be successful in life? And how are they going to stay in shape?
Most experts agree that we need to be active everyday to keep fit. Just look at a 3-5 year old. They're little balls of energy that almost never seem to stop. They're also rarely overweight. It's later that we usually see a problem, when their movement slows down, and television and iPod game time increases. If they're not in an organized sport, their weight gain can be even more pronounced.
That's one of the reasons I love our summer BooT CamP for KidZ, and our Karate for Kids programs. These classes, and others like them around the country, give kids a chance to stay active, and to learn all those other life skills too.
For me personally, I can tell you that martial arts changed my life. I was a sick, asthmatic youth who wasn't allowed to even participate in gym class. As a result, my focus was mostly on music, because it was pretty unlikely my piano would ever cause an asthma attack.
After high school, I was finally able to get in the gym, and also into a martial arts program they offered there. New medicine for asthmatics helped out at just the right time, too. Over the years, I just kept on training, ultimately becoming a Master Instructor and 6th Degree Black Belt. When people ask me how I got that far, I tell them "It's simple. I just never quit." I still haven't.
Out of the hundreds of kids I've worked with over the years in our Karate for Kids programs, I've never had one tell me later that they were glad they quit.
Now as adults, they often tell me they wish they'd have kept on going.
I've also never met a black belt who wasn't grateful for the lessons they learned along the way:
Hard work pays off.
Courtesy and respect make things go smoother.
Confidence breeds success.
And no one does it all by themselves.
If you're thinking about quitting, think again. And if your kids are thinking about quitting something, stand strong and help them look past the short term. It could have lasting consequences.
Some people who haven't quit include this week's Biggest Losers. Cheryl Funkhouser finished first, losing 3.0 lbs and 1.9% of her body weight. Mary Jo Becher and Heather Watson tied for second, losing 2.5 and 2.4 lbs respectively, both losing 1.4%. Pam Kelly lost 2.2 lbs and tied for fourth place with Christy Henry, who lost 1.8 lbs, and both losing about 1.0%.