I was thinking about boys and girls in today’s society taking on responsibility and becoming Men and Women. I have an idea of what a man or woman is but I’m not all that sure my definition is universal. My wife and I watch TV shows such as Judge Judy and are amazed by the childish behavior some so called adults do to each other! Well I will not attempt to discuss all of the definitions of what it means to be a man or woman but focus on the rites of passage from a self-defense point of view.
When I was a boy I had a good example of what a man was by watching my dad. He was a marine and took his responsibilities seriously so that early in life – I learned that one was supposed to work hard and not shy away from adversity. My guess is each child learns important lessons from one’s parents and society at large. What I’ve never understood is why self-defense and standing up for one’s self is not understood by all. I will expore one Iesson that I think every boy and girl should learn before they become an adult. Here is the introduction from the TV series, “Kung Fu” that shows Kwai Chang Cane’s rite of passage into manhood.
I guess boys and girls today are happy that they do not have do dodge spears to become an adult! Kwai Chang Cane in the series was always learning important life lessons so by the time he snatched the pebble, he could draw on his experiences to figure out adversity in life.
One of the basic lessons in life that children should learn is how to stand up to adversity. In life there are those that will act disrespectfully to you and no one will stand up for you – you will have to first respect your self worth and then let the bully know you won’t put up with bad behavior.
Now bullies are not the only way you or your children will have to cope but in every day activities like people that want to take advantage of your good nature. In extreme examples kidnappers will try and assert authority over children. Hopefully the children’s parents have warned them and told them what to do.
When does a boy or girl become a man or woman in my book? When that can handle their own affairs by asserting themselves. Simply put – the boy or girl has to take responsibility for themself and make sometimes difficult decisions. That includes self-defense!
Often times a boy or girl that has never considered self-defense will freeze up when the time comes. A bad kid will steal another kid’s lunch money… the theif is bad and the victim has not learned how to stick up for themselves.
What about fear? Yes fear is a very real concern for kids and many adults. One way to overcome fear is to face it. Yes learning how to fight by taking some karate, boxing, judo, jiu-jitsu or whatever is a good plan. Parents think of it like this – your kid is your most important resource and society’s only hope of for the future. Why not expose your child to some self-defense training so if they ever have to face a life or death decision – they will not freeze up?
Old cultures had their various rites of passage for boys and girls. These rituals put the boys and girls in adversarial situations so at the end of of the ceremony – the children believed they could face whatever life dealt them.
Today parents try to prepare the children for the skills they need to succeed by enrolling them into school and giving them sage advice. I just think that some self-defense training should also be par of the course so your child will have the best chance to survive if the worst ever happens.
So in closing, I don’t really suggest a vision quest of sorts, but rather patient parental advice and console that should include some self-defense training!
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