This week our Kids Kyokushin class will be focusing on the principle of kindness. As a school teacher, I know that talking about being kind and doing kind things will only go so far. We have to DO something!
I've always had a heart for the homeless so, today, we will brainstorm items that can go into care packages for homeless individuals in Montgomery County. Then, in class on Thursday we will take some more time assembling the packages, and I will deliver them to individuals in the days ahead. Awesome right? Now, without a doubt there are some folks reading would strongly disagree with this project, and I'll address the two complaints that I've already heard below:
Complaint #1: Parents are paying for their kids to learn karate, NOT to do service projects.
This is simple enough, and I would only ask how you define karate. To me, in our Way, in the Forge Dojo, and in the Phoenix Karate-do Association, karate is more than punches and kicks. Karate, REAL karate, is about the perfection of character. You're right, parents are paying for their children to learn karate...and I'm delivering exactly what these young ones need. I'm not teaching self defense, though much of what we do can be interpreted that way. Here, in my dojo, students are taught the art and skills of warriorship...and that cannot be selfish or self-serving.
Complaint #2: Why the homeless? Couldn't the kids be doing something better?
I chose to center our kindness project on the homeless in our community because it's a problem that is somewhat visible to our children. At many of the major intersections in our community, you can now find folks asking or begging for help. Most adults avoid making eye contact because it's uncomfortable. Many kids do look because they're curious and MOST of them would help if they could. Through our training this week, the kids will be given an opportunity to help others in our community.
It would be ignorant of me to finish without acknowledging that those asking for help at intersections in MoCo are just the tip of the iceberg. Homelessness is a much bigger issue than most of our residents realize. Hopefully, our project this week will help to enlighten students and their families to just how big this issue is and how incredibly simple acts of kindness can go a long way in helping.