Kids are our greatest teachers; they are unfiltered expressions of innocence and curiosity. We can learn so much from their inquisitive outlook. I experienced this when I took over the kids kickboxing classes at my martial arts academy. When I started coaching, I was excited about the opportunity to teach these kids. However, I had no idea how much THEY’D actually be teaching me.
Case in point? Here are 3 lessons I’ve learned from coaching the kid’s kickboxing programs at my academy.
1. Treat Others The Way THEY Want To Be Treated, Not The Way You Think They Want To Be Treated
This may seem like an odd lesson, so let me explain.
There’s a little girl in one of my classes. She’s a warrior—a real go-getter. When I tell her to give me 5 push ups, she asks if she can do 10; she’s THAT kind of kid. At first, I treated her like everybody else. But I noticed she would sometimes go against some of my recommendations. And I never understood why.
One example is when she refused to bring a water bottle to class even after I repeatedly suggested that she do so—kickboxing is a combat sport after all.
But one day, I decided I was going to be a bit harder on her, to expect and demand more from her abilities.
Her face lit up like the Norther Lights when I told her she was more advanced than the other kids and that I expected more from her efforts.
And get this: The next day, she came to class with a full water bottle, and even made it a point to let me know.
What did I learn?
She didn’t want me to baby and coddle like all the other kids. She wanted to be treated like she was above that standard. And guess what… She is.
2. Don’t Give Any Sympathy To The Whiners
There’s a little boy in one of my classes.
He’s a sweet kid with lots of energy, excitement, and enthusiasm. The only problem is… he’s a crier. He used to whine and throw the biggest hissy fits over the most ridiculous things like losing a game, having his technique corrected, or misplacing his boxing gloves.
I used to get sucked into his drama when he would throw these tantrums.
But when I did this, I quickly noticed his outbursts would worsen, which would then disturb the rest of my class. That is until one day I decided ‘no more.’ I just wasn’t going to play that game. So the next time he whined and pouted, I just looked at him—deadpan. And with a flat emotionless voice, midway through his tantrum, asked:
“Are you done?” …
I repeated this tactic every time he tried to throw one of his signature pity parties. And once he say that he no longer elicit an emotional response out of me, guess what? As if by a stroke of magic, he fell in line and adjusted his attitude. Either that or he got to sit out and watch all the other kids have fun.
The moral of the story?
Don’t give any sympathy to the whiners in your life because they will only throw bigger tantrums. And this lesson doesn’t just apply to children. Anytime anyone is whining and griping about something, starve them of your attention and validation.
They’ll quickly change their tone and start behaving appropriately.
3. You’re More Powerful Than You Think
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from teaching kids kickboxing is how influential we can be. Seriously. You don’t know how powerful you truly are until you see the potential influence you can have over a child. They’re so young; their minds are still developing, soaking up everything like cotton balls.
The result? Everything you do and say becomes an adhesive that sticks to their consciousness that then controls, commands, and colors their view of the world.
An example of this was during one of my kids kickboxing classes: I was teaching the youngsters a body shot to the solar plexus that can knock the wind out of their opponents.
And it was the coolest thing…
One of the kids actually started using the term solar plexus in his vocabulary.
At only 10 years old, this little warrior was accurately using a complex medical term to describe something her previously has no description for. His awareness had expanded. And this is just a microcosm of a bigger concept at play.
That concept? One of your greatest powers is the potential influence you can have over another human being.
The school of life is constantly teaching us valuable lessons. My experiences as a martial arts instructor for the kids kickboxing programs at my academy are a prime example of that. And even though these 3 lessons are among the biggest I’ve learned so far as a coach, I think the biggest lesson of all is that kids truly are our greatest teachers.
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