Minutes before one of our kid’s class, I made my usual rounds of greeting the parents and discussing the quality of their day. Greeted by smiles and handshakes, I felt a loving embrace that transcended the minimal amount of time we spend together. After all, the majority of our interaction stems from a few minutes before or after class. Yet, there is a deeper connection that steps out of time and into eternity. We both, in very different ways, have great love for your children and want to see them succeed and grow.
As an instructor, I take with great sincerity the opportunity to influence and teach a child, your child, and this is a privilege I hold dear. I am not a parent. I am a 29-year old Jiu Jitsu instructor who spends his time mountain biking through the woods; not raising another human being. I do not begin to assume I know the first thing about being a father or mother, nor could I possibly conceive of the love a parent has for their child. I believe only when I am a parent myself, when I experience that love, will I truly understand the honor that we have as teachers of your children.
As an instructor, I understand that for a few hours a week, you allow us to influence your most prized possession. My only concern is that I continue to strive to be a man worthy of such an honor. For a society to grow great, each of us must play whatever part we are best suited in helping formulate the proper world view and virtues that will make your children capable of leading the lives you have imagined. Whatever small part we play as instructors, we are forever grateful.
I just want you, the parent, to be aware of how sincerely we take the opportunity you have given us, and we will always strive to do the best job we can.
Beyond this, I want to thank you for the growth your kids have given us. Kids are sponges, and soak up every little nuance of the way we live our lives. I am reminded of the poem,
A careful man I want to be
a little fellow follows me.
I do not dare to go astray,
for fear he’ll go the self-same way…
When your kids are watching I bow deeper. Stand up taller. Smile wider. I am kinder. More disciplined.
I am better in every way because I know my actions are a direct determinant of theirs. As much as we help your kids grow, they return the favor and then some. I believe the best use of my time is mastering self and serving others. Its funny how often these two coincide. Yes, we teach your kids, but your kids teach us.
Next time you watch your kids in class, remember that they are not just the student…
They are our teacher.
Thank you for the opportunity to teach, and learn, from your children.
If you haven’t yet, check out Professor Chris’ new book on Amazon which teaches using Jiu Jitsu as a vehicle for personal growth.