Sunday, August 28, 2011

Teens and Perspective

As always, it has been too long. The good news is that this will be a short post. The bad: there are no pictures.
The point of today's quick note is that kyus, especially teens, follow our lead blindly and don't always know that they should initiate their future.
Maybe you are a teacher who realizes this and initiates conversations that allow them to constantly progress.
Hopefully, I'm not the only teacher who's teens are a bit self-absorbed and distracted by puberty, studies, and games of all sorts.
Years ago, when I realized my teens would be leaving for college without finishing that first baby step of training, i.e. Shodan, I created a dialog with the teen and their parents. In the conversation I tell them what the road to Shodan entails. I explain cost and time realities, and give them an opportunity to set up a time-line with what needs to be accomplished. This does not guarantee passing a Shodan test. What is accomplished is that I put the 'ball in their court' to follow through or drop.
Last quick note: I have had success, failure, and apathy using this method. Before I began doing this, I felt as if I hadn't fulfilled my obligation as the "one who has come before".  After all, I know the way and  my job is to show students the way. Adults can stay as long as they want, take as long as they need to accomplish their first step. 
Teens, however, are limited to a short period between 16 and the time they leave for college. Even if I've been their Sensei since they were 5, there is a small window when they are old enough to accomplish all the details that Shodan testing requires and when they are off to become successful at their next challenge.
Thanks for taking your time to read this.