by TRANSFORMATIONAL LIFE-COACH RIMA DESAI
The 1st time ever I SAW a fitness gym was when I was 24years. The 1st time my daughter SAW it when she was 2. At 5 years my daughter has been to a Live game of Basketball when I did so now at 34 years. Neither have I ‘seen’ a stadium ever before.
I haven’t tumbled till date and she does. She knows so many stretches, body exercises which I haven’t seen, heard, known, or done. Although I was lucky to have a great personal trainer from age 24 to 30, yet, coming to USA, I understood sports and physical fitness in a new way. In India, there is little awareness of how important physical arts is, esp. among the lower middle class + resources are limited and costly for parents who value it.
My daughter began Martial Arts at 4 years of age. I must admit that we have been lucky to have found great instructors for her. She is not very sports inclined but she has grown into it in the last one year. The amount of confidence and growth I have seen in her is beyond explanation.
Advantage of Introducing Toddlers/Children to Sports and Physical Fitness:
– Creates Body Awareness: By moving our body in different and challenging ways on a regular basis, we learn to ‘understand’ our body. This creates more physical awareness and strengthens one’s sense organs. I grew up in a culture and country where the focus on the mind was a lot more and even more than the mind – the brain which is different from the mind. I learnt little about my body, I loved it less, I knew it less, I understood it even lesser!
– Boosts Self-confidence: All mind and no body is an irrational focus in life. In India, there is a lot of importance to academics but is not balanced out with enough sports or physical education. Even when I played a lot of throwball and handball in school, I never learnt the warm ups they do here. I have never done push ups for a sports warm up. Never knew what is kick-boxing, pilates, or zumba. I’ve never jumped over or climbed over a wall or a fence. Being able to move our body in unique and challenging ways inculcates a lot of self-confidence!
– Facilitates Self-Love: There is no doubt that being physically fit and knowing the tricks of the game makes us feel good. Sports and Exercise has that ‘feel good factor’ which you want your kids to ‘stuff’ in their subconscious early on in life. Early learnings are the best learnings because they get submerged quickly into the subconscious mind as a ‘way of life’. Creating that feel good factor as a way of life in early childhood means GIFTING them with a Life-Long Skill of Loving Themselves
– Stress Buster: Exercising gets our brain to release endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that make us feel more positive, feel good, and reduce our negative feelings. Let us admit it that children go through their own kind of stress. They have several physical changes to adapt to and on top of that, they have to keep up with our ‘crap!’ L-O-L. How many times in a day do we INSTRUCT kids what to do and not do; how many times do we throw our anger and tantrums at them? Besides us, they have school challenges to cope up with. I empathize with kids for sure!
– Easy to Train: Kids naturally move around a lot. They have supple bodies. This makes training their bodies a lot easier. The younger the age, the better the outcome. Professional training ensures that they get age appropriate exercises to build on.
– Self-Protection: Self-defense techniques imparts skills for self-protection useful at any point of time. Unlike the belief I had, at least by witnessing her Taekwondo class, I realize, it has several elements of sports embedded in it. On the other hand, I believe, even if children were to learn any other sport, they would have an advantage in self-protection over someone who doesn’t. Regular and long-term sports training, creates a sense of ‘flexibility and quickness’ of both the body and the mind – a skill that can come handy when one needs to self-protect.
– Builds on a Possible Future: We may introduce our children to sports just for the love of or benefit of sports however, children may develop a deep connection with it. It could create the stage for a future in The Sports Field or expose them to early skills to be used later in inter-collegiate sports. Several colleges and universities also have extra credits for students who play sports. There is really nothing to lose here!
– Sharper Mind: The body and the intellect are closely connected. The reason why regular exposure to sports improves on concentration, focus, and memory is because it requires us to have CONSTANT PRESENCE OF MIND to indulge in any physical exercise. Can we close our eyes for 2 split seconds when jumping, running, tumbling? We must be conscious of every action, every landing, every move and this strengthens the brain muscles which comes to great advantage in Academics!
– Healthier Body: I doubt I need to write more about this. We all know the health benefits of sports and physical fitness. There is no doubt, no two ways about it!
Remember, children differ in their liking for sports. One child may like basketball, another tennis even when both are equally sporty by nature. Sometimes it requires ‘trial and error’ to different kinds of sports. Honestly, I forced her into Martial Arts and now she loves it a lot! Part of the reason is also because she loves The Energy of the place she goes to – the instructors, the teachers, the method of teaching. Make your efforts to discover what your child will enjoy. Do not presume or jump to conclusions too quickly. It took my daughter a good 3 months to begin liking it and now she doesn’t want to be off it.
– Family Bonding: Sports can be a great way to have fun with family. My daughter thoroughly enjoys our baseball games in the backyard or simple catch and throw. Best part is that it requires little equipment and space, can be played indoors and outdoors and creates some unique memories of happiness.
– Special Needs Kids or Special Skill Set: Specific sports are excellent for Special Needs kids like those who have ADHD, ADD, Autism, etc. They help in increasing focus and concentration which is one of the most important skill these children must build for healthier functioning or to cope better. Children also learn to Solve Problem and work in groups while playing sports. As adults we know how important it is to have skills to Work well in Teams. Your career in IT, as Teacher, at home within the family – all of it requires problem resolution by working in harmony with other individuals. Learning to balance our needs with others, solve problems effectively, and create healthy win/win solutions is what Sports implicitly promotes.
– Provides Opportunity to Socialize: There are several sports that promote group involvement. When kids meet other kids they learn to interact, to greet, meet, adjust to other personalities. This is a skill we need at every stage of life. Going to school, going to work, staying home with family, love relationships later in life and making and keeping up with friendships is all about being ‘Social’. Socializing skills are intertwined with Self-Confidence.
– A Competitive Spirit: Sports builds that competitive spirit which we want to have in today’s world. The aim is not to create an attitude of ‘Rat Race’ but to develop a Love for Healthy Competition, a Love for Winning and also the Grace of Losing Humbly. Sports teaches it all. Who knew that playing sports for extended childhood hours would help You in your field of marketing, insurance, IT, selling, etc.?!
Images Source: Google Images
Parent of the month: March 2015
MS. KYEONG (MRS. NGUYEN)
“Kong sim-eun-dae kong-na-go, pat sim-eun-dae pat nanda”
This popular Korean proverb translates as – Beans come out from where beans are planted, and red beans (팥) come out from where red beans are planted. In short, this means: ‘how good the outcome is, depends on how good the input was’.
Today I am introducing a mother whose parenting screams this proverb aloud and clear. She had a strong vision for her children and her persistence brought success to her endeavors. At a budding age, the boys excelled in Taekwondo, received awards, and even became thriving, yet humble entrepreneurs in the field.
Parenting Booth wishes Ms. Kyeong many more years of good health and happiness
Mrs. Nguyen has two boys only at a year’s distance. It was tough to care for them while working full time. Daily at lunch break, she drove 30minutes one way for their care and then returned to work.
Later she found full time work from home.
As easy as it sounds, if you are a work-from-home mom, you know how challenging it can get. Let us read how Mrs. Nguyen journeyed through this for 17.5years with the intention to keep her children as priority no. 1.
How tough was it to be a work-from-home mom?
It definitely needed a lot of commitment. I had no time to look after myself or make friends besides the ones I met at church, just 1 hour a week. My workday started at 6am until 7.15pm daily and mainly involved phone calls. I would have to be on the phone while I dropped and picked them from school, often in my pajamas.
After school they both had the same class but at different times. I could not stay there because of constant phone calls. First I would drop Anthony, come home with Johnny and 20 minutes later take Johnny there. I helped them with H.W. until elementary school, but later they took care of it themselves. They were responsible and bright.
I am happy to have dedicated my life for their care. It helped them be successful at an early age and they loved it. I thoroughly enjoyed it too. I could not have done all this without the support of my husband. He has been an excellent father. He has encouraged me to give children time and spend money where it was needed.
Did you prioritize your children over you?
Yes I wanted to do that. For me, my family comes first. I chose my job over further studies so that I could add to the household income and give our kids even more opportunities to learn and grow.
What were your prioritizes for the boys?
We lived in a very rainy state and so I could not keep them outdoors for long. At age 5, I signed up Anthony for Taekwondo close to home. Anthony willingly joined. Johnny observed Anthony well and later he joined too. They both did wonderful. They supported me in correcting their postures and practicing at home daily, didn’t go against me. This told me that they had great liking for Taekwondo.
One year we attended 9 tournaments – some in-state but most out-of-state. It needed adjustments in our daily routine but we kept up to it together as a family. The boys got selected for wrestling, basketball, and baseball. This is when I realized that they are born with sports’ skills within them. As our practices increased, my husband would take one son and me another. We both felt proud and delighted to watch our boys succeed.
2. Love for music:
I feel music adds joy to life. My husband and I both play guitar. Hence, I enrolled them in guitar classes and they loved it. Later they created their own band too! Anthony also played guitar at Church.
3. Love for God:
Every week we went to church. They made many friends there. We invited their friends and had fun times at home. Slowly even their parents came as we all bonded well. This helped the boys be social, friendly, and hospitable while also having fun.
4. Moral Values:
From a young age I taught them:
• Always stay united as brothers.
• Be polite to everyone esp. elders. As per our culture, also bow. Hence, they were and still are very good at greeting others.
• Respect others and that way gain respect back.
• Dad works hard for us; keep up dad’s respect.
• Stay united as a family. We set this example for the boys. My husband and I attended all their tournaments to encourage them and even if they lost in matches, we praised them for their effort.
• During matches, when they lost I said, “Don’t be discouraged, learn from it. To lose means someone is better than you are and so now, it is time for you to work harder to be better than them.
• I valued discipline but wasn’t overly strict. I cooked their favorite food, played games, and taught them in a fun manner like 3 of us ran like a train around the home while singing Math Tables.
Your message for your boys
“There were times when I got depressed but when I woke up and looked at both your faces, I felt brighter, happier and inspired to have another great day with both of you. I was extremely feminine in dressing and thinking but then my personality jelled in with yours. I have thoroughly enjoyed bringing you’ll up. I have NEVER felt the need to have a girl because both of You were so supportive, obedient, and mature. I’ve always heard good things from your teachers and other parents with no complains. I am very proud of you’ll. Extremely proud!”
A message from Anthony Nguyen – son
Some Special memories:
With Dad’s busy work at Intel, you found a job at home to take care of us. You allowed us to grow and gave us a chance to try hobbies that sparked our interest – that is how we found our life’s path in ‘Taekwondo’. Attending our graduations and being proud of us.
Special qualities of Mom:
1. She’s the best cook I know – Korean, Vietnamese, American, Italian, you name it!
2. A great listener and advisor
3. A very caring mother and grandmother too
4. She’s strong-willed and continues to be strong everyday
5. She’s beautiful!!! :)
6. She’s a gifted singer
Childhood memories with Mom:
-Watching me at tournaments and various championships
-Teaching me Korean language through studies and music
-Going to beaches in California
-Going camping and fishing
Mom you taught me to:
-To play the guitar
-To be a good sport in winning and losing both
For you my mom:
“Although we may not say it every day, both Johnny and I are grateful to have such a caring and loving mother. We love you a lot and know we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all this without you. You are the bond that keeps our family together. You are the music, the glue, and the love that runs through our whole together. Thank you for being You.”
Copyrights – Rima Desai