At my martial arts school, students measure their progress not according to what others can do but to what they can do. Diana Schmidt, mother of student Breanna said, "Breanna's determination at being her best in everything she does comes directly from the skills she has acquired from karate." Diana knows that it's more important for Breanna to do her best than to be the best. It is Breanna's black belt attitude that enables her to make progress in her goals.
What is a black belt attitude? A black belt attitude is, simply, acting like a black belt: never being content with just getting by, focusing on the journey as well as the destination, taking responsibility for your life and what happens to you, making the better choice even if it is the harder one. Black belts, in short, live their lives to the fullest.
A black belt attitude can help your child reach his full potential. For example, if your child never studies, sometimes misses homework assignments, and misses class a lot but still gets Cs or Bs on his report card, he may think that is good enough. You might even be fine with these grades yourself, but think about what would happen if your child put forth that extra effort: suddenly those Bs and Cs turn into As. Of course it's great that your child's grades will improve, but what's more important is the send of accomplishment and self-worth that will come from knowing they gave their best possible effort.
In this face-paced society, its hard for us, even as adults, to really enjoy the process of getting somewhere. We are so focused on achieving the end result that sometimes we miss the lessons we could learn on our way to achieving our goals. With a black belt attitude, your child can enjoy the challenges that present themselves on his way to his goals. For example, if your child takes piano lessons and expects to be Beethoven overnight, he is going to have a really hard time enjoying the learning process. If we focus on the journey as well as the destination, we can learn from our mistakes.
A black belt attitude also means that your child takes responsibility for his own actions. If your child doesn't get the part he wanted in the school play, blaming the teacher is not going to help him get it next time. Making excuses for why he could not study for a test is not going to turn his F into an A.
When your child takes responsibility for his own actions, he learns the value of hard work and perseverance. It also puts him in control of his own destiny.
Perhaps the hardest part of exhibiting a black belt attitude is making the right decisions even when they are most difficult. Certainly, it would be easier for your child not to go to football practice rather than to go, but is that going to make him a good team player? If your child were pressured to take drugs or alcohol, wouldn't it be easier just to relent? With a black belt attitude, your child can stand up for what is right even when it is not easy.