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My wife’s parents love her.  My in-laws are incredibly hard working people.  They live in Del Sur and rather think of themselves first, they are always thinking of their kids.  That can be good and bad though, for the reasons we outlined before in the last article.  I never understood why I did not appreciate them more until I had an online conversation with a friend.

In martial arts, you have a teacher who is on your team.  They are coaching your child all the time in a way that you just can’t.  Even with my daughter on the mat, I cannot interact with her the same way I do the other kids.  For her I have to make martial arts a game, a special father daughter activity for fun.  I learned this the hard way.  I can’t stand watching her not give 100%, it is a pet peeve of mine.  I internalize it as a personality trait instead of thinking about what else could be going on for that person.  My daughter is a typical five year old, but because I am so emotionally invested I can’t see that when I am teaching.  I push her too hard, I am not as positive with her.  I criticize her, when I never criticize my other students.  But I do it from a place of caring, so it is okay, right?

Wrong!  I am being an INVOLVED parent.  I am putting what I think is important first without caring at all about my child’s feelings.  When I am yelling at my daughter to try harder, I am not thinking about how that makes the her really feel, I just think telling her to try harder will make her, which it doesn’t in the manner I have been.  Encouragement should make the child feel good about themselves.  They should feel positive about it.  That is ENGAGING with them.

My first Kempo teacher was great at this.  I never would be where I am today without him engaging with me.  He would always compliment me in front of other students saying I was doing a great job.  It’s that kind of thing that I think makes a difference.  He would give specific positive feedback.