Tuesday, May 30, 2006

More Karate Mamas: Guest Blogger

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The long holiday weekend sure makes Tuesday feel like Monday.

Six year-old Splinter was exceptionally whiny this morning; Mr. Smartypants had a tantrum and was angrily tossing some decorative couch pillows around the living room when he broke a small statue. Maybe that wasn't so bad. He broke a rather unattractive terra cotta statue that, can you believe it, his Spanish teacher was going to just throw out! The thing had been special to Smartypants, though, and I could see his heart shatter into a million little pieces as it smashed. There was no time to fret, however, because our carpool arrived. We hustled outside and the carpool mom announced that her son had a class party today until 6:00 and so, by the way, she wasn't going to do pick-up as planned. Grrrr.

As I drove to work WXRT was playing 10,000 Maniac's "These are Days." I forced myself to breathe deep and focus on the message of the song, and actually, my day did start going uphill.

Now it's late at night. I'm back from the dojo and a bit more relaxed. My friend Veronica Sax left a lasting impression on me in tonight's class (think black and blue). She wouldn't release me from her death grip until I promised her today's guest blogging spot. I'm kidding of course; it's great to train with Veronica, a fellow Skokie mom.

Veronica will now attempt to use her words, not her fists, to make an impression on you as well, dear blog-flocker. Here's her review of martial arts mama Jennifer Lawler's latest addition to the Dojo Wisdom series: Dojo Wisdom for Mothers (Penguin Compass, 2005).

Jennifer Lawler, a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and mother of a little girl, has filled this book with 100 life lessons. She brings the discipline and dedication from her training in the dojo into motherhood. She applies her dojo wisdom to solve problems, respond to troubled times and take care of herself, and she encourages readers to do the same. After each lesson, she provides exercises to give the reader a way to reflect on that lesson. I felt it was helpful to read a lesson and then use the exercise until I was ready to move on. Another wonderful thing about this book is that I could just open it to any page and I was able to relate to the lesson through my experience with my family or dojo training.

One of my favorite lessons is #2: From your chi flows your energy for calm parenting. She describes chi (pronounced “chee”) as inner energy- a source of focus and creative energy. “If you can tap into your chi,” Lawler writes, “you can find energy to create art, solve problems and responded to troubled times calmly.” She reminds mothers to take time for themselves to replenish their chi by regularly making time for nourishing activities. Karate training a few times a week does the job for me!

My other favorite was lesson #31: Pick your battles wisely. It's the biggest life lesson to learn as a parent, karateka and person. Let's face it don't we do this everyday? Lawler reminds us that although rules are necessary to guide children, we shouldn’t react to all broken rules the same way. For example, the response to a child’s messy room should not be the same as the response to a child doing something that is dangerous.

As a busy mom it was great to feel like I could pick up the book at any time, turn to a random page and find something meaningful without having to read it cover-to-cover. It's very truthful, heartfelt and insightful. This little book really pulls the reader in and helps her become a better person.

1 comment:

Erik Mann said...

another great post...cool blog...erik