The Lessons Of Youth

One of the most powerful and long-lasting lessons of my childhood came from being required to do chores around the house before being allowed to go outside to play with my friends.

As parents, we want the best for our children. We want them to be kind, decent, and successful. And, we want to provide them with the support, the lessons, and the values that will give them the best chance to be these things.

This is no easy task, however. It requires not only time, energy, and presence, but also a great deal of persistence, insistence, and patience with regards to things that they do not yet understand as being good for them or the family as a whole.

It is difficult to know, of all of the knowledge, morals, and skills that we try to instill in our children as they grow up, which will actually take hold, which will make a difference in their character and their lives, and which are worth the effort and the struggle it often takes to make even a little bit of noticeable progress.

The truth is that everything is a lesson. Every moment is a teachable moment. Every task, every activity, and every interaction is an exchange of information. Whether we know it or not, whether we acknowledge it or not, and whether we like it or not, every gesture, attitude, and behavior is being observed, absorbed, and processed. It all means something and it all counts.

Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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