Thursday, October 23, 2008

Black Belt

I'm blogging as I watch my children at karate and at the front of the gym is a sign with the Five Black Belt Values.

These values are:
1. Modesty
2. Courtesy
3. Integrity
4. Self-Control
5. Perseverence

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to consider how well I incorporate these values into my own life.

Modesty - I don't believe I'm very strong in this area. I am very dependent on the views of others - what they think of me truly matters. Because of that, it's important to me that I find ways to show others that I am smart or hard-working. It's difficult to be truly modest when one is constantly worried about what others think. Ironically, I suppose one must have strong self-confidence before one can be truly modest.

Courtesy - Of all of these, perhaps this is the value which comes easiest to me. I am very empathetic (to a fault, often) and therefore bend over backwards to make sure that I am polite. I'm weakest in this area when I am dealing with my own children - they see me at my worst (the mornings, when we are rushing to school) and I often find myself apologizing to them for letting my frustrations show in my tone of voice.

Integrity - I'm really not sure what this is supposed to mean. I know what the word means to me, but I'm not sure if it's the common definition. In my opinion, if someone has integrity, he is a man of his word and takes responsibility for his own actions. As I type this, the black belt instructor is teaching the children about this value. According to her, integrity means not lying. For me, the hardest part of honesty is being honest with myself.

Self-Control - Goodness. Isn't this about the hardest thing for almost all Americans? Many of my friends claim that I have strong self-control for giving up sugar from my diet. The truth, however, is that I gave up sugar because I have no self-control at all. If I ate one cookie, I would eat the entire box. I could either go crazy with eating sugar or I could go cold turkey.

Perseverence - I have to laugh because as soon as I read this word, my first thought was "Well, that comes and goes for me." Hmmm.... I could be wrong but I'd have to say that if it "comes and goes" then I do not have perseverence. And - of all the values listed - for some reason, this is the one I least WANT to have. I think there's a part of me that wants to be a little bit flakey about things that require discipline.

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