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Parents & Children -- Sensei & Students

Last night I asked the children in my class to list words describing how they should feel about their parents. Some of the words included: respect, appreciation, nice, obedience, learn, and helpful.

These are certainly good words. A child should respect his parents. A child should appreciate the things that his parents do for him. A child should be nice to his parents. A child should obey his parents. A child should learn from his parents. A child should help his parents.

My class consists of children and adults. Our oldest student is 66 ( a grandfather).

So on the other hand, I mentioned that parents should act in a way that is respectful, so that their children can respect them. Parents should act in a way that their children will appreciate them. Parents should also be nice to their children. Parents should not abuse their authority. They should act reasonably and wisely so that their children will willingly obey them. Parents should appreciate the help that their children give them, and should also help their children. Parents should teach their children the important lessons of life.

Everything goes both ways. Respect is a mutual thing. Appreciation is a mutual thing. Learning and teaching are mutual things.

I mentioned to the class that I am 49 and my mother is 73. I still respect her as my mother and will do so as long as I live. Being older does not change the fact that I am her son and she is my mother. The relationships will last for both of our lives.

In Karate, we treat our Sensei almost like parents. We show them great respect. But we must remember that this relationship is also mutual. Just as our parents should live in a way deserving of our respect, appreciation, and obedience, so too should our Sensei and seniors be as demanding of themselves as they are of their students.

As Sensei, we have to always remember that we have to earn respect by the way we live -- by the way we conduct ourselves in daily life.


Charles C. Goodin