Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thank You For Your Service.

Last night, during our weekly leadership class, we were running the third week of drills where we gave the students a mental/moral lesson and a physical lesson they had to teach, and we gave them 3 minutes to do it.  We had been teaching them all month how to teach the lessons along with the karate, without having to resort to 10 minutes mat chats.  For example, we would say, teach the class "Speed" and 'Front Kick," and then they would have three minutes to teach.

After their 3 minutes, we would gather the group, and asked them what the "2 things" they think they were being taught, so that the class would gain insight on both how to teach the lessons and get feed back on how well it worked.

When it was my turn to give the goals, I gave one of the team members 'Be Loyal to Ones Country," and "Front Kick."

The reason I picked 'Be loyal to ones country," is multi layered.  First, it is one of the Codes of Tang Soo Do," though that might not have been enough to bring it to my mind.  The second reason was that the next day was Veteran's Day, and I do like to bring the lessons into the real world wherever possible.  However, the real reason was that I was still somewhat in shock as a result of a brief exchange from an 8th grader earlier in the day.  During afterschool pick up, one of the kids said to me, "do you know we don't have school tomorrow?"  Frankly, I had forgotten, so this sounded like a good conversation right at the get go.  I then asked her if she knew why.  She told me that it was Veteran's Day, so I asked her if she knew what that was.  "Nope," she said, "the teachers don't want us to talk about it. They just do a moment of silence, and then tell us we have no school or homework."

Couldn't let it go.  I then asked her if she knew what it was. "We honor dead soldiers."

Errrr.  NO.  That would be memorial day.  Veteran's Day is for those who are alive, and served. People like my Dad, like 2 of my instructors, and like one of the leadership team's lead instructors.

That brings me back to Class.  After the team member taught, I asked her what loyalty meant.  She and others said it was something like being nice.

So, I taught a short version.  I said that there were many ways to look at it, but the best way was to think of loyalty as sacrificing your own free will to the common good.  Like a soldier, sailor or marine. They agree to follow military law, discipline and put themselves in harms way for our benefit, as well as their own to be sure, but they sacrifice their free will and their lives at times, for the concept of their country.  This lesson is made all the more direct, when you know that ours is a country that is founded on argument and freedom.  I then when on to explain boot camp as a start to this sacrifice.

We went on with class, and at the end, the navy Vet who is also a lead teacher, took them for a 5 minute introduction to boot camp, leading them down the path of confusion and immediate obedience.  At the end, they had a good picture of what sacrifice might actually be.

Why was this important?  It reminded me, an army brat of 2 officers serving in 3 wars, that Veteran's day is not just a day off from school.  It is a very critical day, where we thank those who have never doubted that "loyalty to ones country," was an action, not a concept.

If you served, Thank you for your service.

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