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senshincenter 03-13-2007 12:35 AM

Eat Your Veggies
 
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As parents, my wife and I have to make decisions for our children. Like all parents, we try to balance our decisions with wisdom and compassion, all the while making them according to the maturity level of the child. In the end, we try to promote things that are positive in nature while we attempt to limit or restrict those things that may be neutral or negative in nature. Like all parents, we try to do this for intellectual matters, nutritional matters, emotional matters, physical matters, spiritual matters, etc.

For example, when our children were too young to have any sense of awareness, any sense of their own mortality, or any sense of how some events can be irreversible, when we had to walk through a parking lot, we carried them in our arms. We did not give them a choice, in light of their maturity, to walk alone in parking lots or even to walk by our side while holding our hands. As they have matured, as they have gained a sense of awareness, a sense of their own mortality, and a sense of the irreversibility of some events, they have gone from holding our hands while walking beside us, to holding on to us while walking beside us, to walking near us as we cross through parking lots.

Through such actions, we, like all parents, seek to do what is best for our children. In doing so, depending upon what all is involved, and depending upon the child's capacity to be self-responsible in regards to what might be involved, sometimes we make "executive decisions." That is to say, sometimes we offer no choices to our children, making our decisions regardless of their preferences or desires. At those times, we postpone the responsibility of choice to a later date of greater maturity in the child.

Another example: Right now, my children prefer what I would consider by my standards to be a limited diet. Let me take my son for example. He is four years old. As a more experienced human being, I know that the quality of one's diet is directly proportional to the quality of one's overall health. My son, at four, does not know this. He does not know of diabetes, of heart failure, of osteoporosis, of vitamin deficiencies, of irritable bowel syndrome, of stress intolerance, etc. He only knows that vegetables do not taste as good as ice cream.

With compassion, I can acknowledge my son's desire for ice cream. I can even acknowledge his personal distaste for vegetables. However, because I know what I know, I know that there is no wisdom in allowing my son's lack of experience to dictate what his diet should and/or should not consist of. In fact, because of what I know, I also know that there is a greater compassion in caring for my son in ways he is not ready to or willing to care for himself. This means, sometimes, the greater compassion lies on the opposite side of his desire, his preferences, and/or things that taste good to him.

Thus, my son says, "I want to eat ice cream." I say, "Son, eat your vegetables." My son says, "I only like ice cream." I say, "What does that have to do with anything? We are not talking about what we like. If we were, why stop at food? I like Ferraris and vacations in paradise; you like trips to Disneyland and toys on Christmas. Eat your vegetables." Thinking on things a bit, my son says, "Okay," and then he eats his vegetables. After dinner, I say, "Why don't we go ask your mom and your sister if they would like for us to take them to the ice cream parlor?" He smiles, eyes bright. Wisdom and compassion.

On some days, my son does not want to do Aikido. He would rather stay home and play video games. As a more experienced human being, I know that we are not just made up of the physical. I know we are of the spirit. I know that our overall wellness is directly related to how much or how little we cultivate our spirit. My son does not know of this. He does not know of the sufferings of pride, fear, and ignorance. He does not know how he can and will torture himself and others, even the ones he loves, by these things. He does not know of the burdens of egocentricism -- of how destructive such energy is. He does not understand that he can gain the whole of the material world and still feel empty, still be plagued by depression, still be plagued by anxiety and anger, and by a lack of center. My son only knows that if he goes to the dojo he cannot stay home and play video games.

Thus, my son says, "I want to stay home and play video games." I say, "Son, you are going to practice your Aikido." My son says, "I only like video games." I say, "What does that have to do with anything? We are not talking about what we like. If we were, why stop at video games? I like Ferraris and vacations in paradise; you like trips to Disneyland and toys on Christmas. You are going to practice your Aikido." Thinking on things a bit, my son says, "Okay," and he prepares to leave for the dojo. After practice, on the drive home, I say, "Why don't we ask your mom and your sister if they think they can beat us in Mario Soccer -- let's challenge them to a match tonight before bed!" He smiles, eyes bright. Wisdom and compassion.

Through such interactions, I hope, our parenting will have planted in our children the seeds of one of the most invaluable lessons a seeker of the Way can learn: Cultivation of the Self is as dependent upon our desires as it is upon our capacity to detach from them. There is a doing of what must be done involved in the fulfillment of the Self, and our capacity at that doing is directly related, in part, to our ability to maintain wisdom in the face of our whims and fancies. My wife and I do not expect our children to get this now, but we expect them to have a fighting chance to understand it one day.

By David M. Valadez
www.senshincenter.com

"The Grindstone" is a collaborative column written by these authors.

Paulo Barreto 03-13-2007 04:21 AM

Re: Eat Your Veggies
 
Mr. Valdez,

First a little light comment on "What does that have to do with anything? We are not talking about what we like...". How long do you think you'll be able to use that line before your son develops some smart reply? ;)

Now on to more serious matters that, being a parent myself, sometimes worry me (my daughter is only two so i still have a lot of time to worry about these things ;)).

Your son being four you can, of course, put your foot down and make your son go to practice. As parents we all understand that sometimes we must make our children do something they don't wish because in the long term its better for them.
The crux of the matter is: what if by making him go train you are inadvertently making him associate Aikido practice to something he would rather not do and in the long run causes him to leave Aikido when he is able to choose?

Guess I'm a little worried that my children won't want to practice Aikido when they are older, and that by making them go to practice we're, in some way, contributing to their dislike of the art.

Thank you for your column and the change for discuss these matters. Parenting is, in my view, always about balance.

Jorge Garcia 03-13-2007 05:45 AM

Re: Eat Your Veggies
 
Valdez Sensei,
Interesting post. This should generate some heat because your post goes against the trend of current thinking and delves into areas where the idea can be extended. For example, the first response was that you could drive your child to dislike Aikido or be a thing that is a negative. My response is "So? ". Everything in life including the eating of vegetables is that way. I haven't enjoyed many of my jobs but because I had a family to support, I went anyway. Sure, I tried to get better jobs but a lesson that I taught my children is that even if you don't like your work, you have to fulfill your responsibility until you can get a better situation. My son never has liked taking his vitamins but he got them anyway. The other day, I was remembering so many things my mom did for me that were her way of doing something for us. I remember that every day we had to take cod liver oil. Boy, did I hate that. I am 50 years old and I had forgotten that. I have never done that for my kids and it was with some affection that I remembered my poor little mother doing that. Back in the early 60's, people could not have known how good that was for you. That was the day before fish oil pills and some of the knowledge about Omega 3's that we have today. Candy was prohibited and regular visits to the doctor and dentist were made and we hated it all. As a child, I used to cry before going to school. I hated school but for some reason, she sent me anyway. I always hated school. I graduated 563 out of a class of 600. In high school, I skipped classes and didn't do homework and I rebelled against school in every way I could. Then I went intro the real world and went through every low end job and cruel boss imaginable. When I realized that I was never going to be able to do anything in life without a good education, I went to college at the age of 34 graduating at age 38 and I graduated with honors (now I was trying) and what did I become (?), yes, a school teacher (one of my many jobs) ! In fact, I married one too.
The other aspect of this truth is that some parents are weak and their flaws also come into play. One of my jobs is to teach Spanish to all grades. Everyone wants to give the gift of a second language to their kids. I have two kinds of parents. I have those that support me, and encourage their kids but if the child says I want out, that is non negotiable. I have a larger amount that as soon as little Burferd decides he doesn't like it, out he goes and they never check with me to see if he is even gifted for language in any way. Some of my best students have been pulled without the parent even consulting me. These were kids that were going to learn. I have so many students that waste every year in classes that are fun classes and avoid Spanish but when they get to high school and have foreign language requirements, they are lost and struggling and I get phone calls from parents needing instant tutoring for little Johnny but it is a bit late for that.

I know that there is another side to this coin and we will hear it. This is just one perspective. The question is how much choice and freedom do you give a child. There will be strong arguments in favor of letting children decide for themselves within a parameter of choices. There is something to be said for that. What ever kind of responses come, the posters should reveal if they even have kids and how old those kids are. We may have a theory but if it is unproven, then how much weight do we give it? I raised two kids. I took both to Aikido since their childhoods. At age 18, I let them make their own choices. My daughter is a brown belt and stopped practicing when she went to college (there was no dojo in her small town in Virginia). She is working on her doctorate now (she is 27)and is married. Yes, my grandkids will do Aikido. My son is 24 and is in college and still practices. He is a Nidan and works in as an undercover security person and has to "fight" with people he has to apprehend almost every week. His skills have saved him many times. He sometimes has encountered people with weapons, people on drugs and large violent people with criminal records and once, even a highly trained martial artist with paramilitary training (It was on his police record). Yes, Aikido does work in a fight and no, he has never been on the ground in any "fight" in 3 years at this job. He has had his ups and downs with Aikido over the years. The balance has been that as he has gotten older, I gave him more choices within a certain parameter. After age 18, I let him decide for himself when he would go or if he would go at all. I will say this though, I never took him to baseball, soccer, or any other sport. I took both my kids to Aikido classes and Seminars. We had great times in Corpus Christi, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and many other cities doing Aikido. They have never complained to me about missing anything. We have a great relationship to this day.
Thanks David Sensei for an interesting post. Better get your raincoat on!
Best wishes,
Jorge

Janet Rosen 03-13-2007 02:30 PM

Re: Eat Your Veggies
 
Learning that life has its ups and downs, its duties and its rewards, is best learned early, as a simple part of daily life - because whatever we grow up with as little uns is what we percieve as "normal", be it domestic violence or which direction the toilet paper hangs.
David, I like your approach.

Kevin Leavitt 03-13-2007 03:00 PM

Re: Eat Your Veggies
 
Interesting post. There I things that I think we decide as parents that are non-negoitable and others that are.

For instance, it is not an option for my son to brush his teeth everyday even though he would prefer not too.

We are all vegetarians in my family. Interestingly we have always given my son (he is 7 now), the choice to eat meat or try it if he wants to. He has never asked to and cannot imagine wanting to. We give him the choice because it is a philosophical and ethical choice for my wife and I, not something that we feel should be imposed on someone else, we'd prefer that he internalize our values and make his own decisions in this area.

same with sports. We ask him before each season if he wants to play a sport. I would never force him to play one he did not want to play. (bad memories of my father making me do things like this). However, once he makes the choice to play, he must stick it out for the whole season. I don't let him quit as that is an important value to us...that you don't quit and must have committment.

We home school. (liberals that we are!) We kinda "Unschool", that is he can choose what he wants to concentrate on and learn, he may study one subject intensely for a couple of weeks, then decide to do something else. We don't force him to learn things he doesn't want to, but NOT learning something or doing school work is NOT an option everyday! He must pick something positive and do it. Keep in mind, we do have to steer him in the right direction sometimes. Overall we have found that he instrinsically wants to do the right things becaue he wants to keep up with his friends that go to school.

So he does them because he wants to, not because we make him do them.

Same with brushing teeth...not an option. As lazy as he is, I have given him the choice on occassion to not brush them, but then asked him to imagine what it will be like in a couple of weeks when they get nasty and start to hurt. Spending time educating him on the reprecussions of peridontal disease and having him see the pictures and effects was enough to make him internalize why it is important....NOT because I SAID SO! but because he understands WHY.

I still have to say "did you brush your teeth...DO IT now!" just like any other parent!

To martial arts and aikido. He knows that this will not be an option next year when he must start. Frankly we already do much together each night before bed. However, he also knows why this is important to me, and why I am insisting that he do it. I am sure I will have the same issues that David has, what parent doesn't! We have discussed that after one year if he can verballize to me why he does not like to do it and what he'd rather do instead he can make another choice on how to constructively spend that time. At least he will be making somewhat of an informed choice!

I have found taking the time to educate my child on why it is important and what we gain out of doing these things, even though we don't like to do them helps.

Alas, like David, I compete with video games and playing with friends, and other priorities that kids have over what you want them to do. and YES I have to say "Eat your Veggies"every night.

We still offer him choice though. He can choose to eat his vegetables, or not eat them. However, if he choose to not eat them, then he gets nothing else that is not nutritionally equivilant until he does! (Desert!) Seems to work and eventually with much whining consternation and negoitiation attempts, he will eventually make the choice that seems to lead to the path that he wants with the benefit attached to it.

Raising kids is not easy!!!

gdandscompserv 03-13-2007 03:16 PM

Re: Eat Your Veggies
 
I have been dragging two of my sons to aikido ever since opening my own dojo. Sometimes they like it, sometimes they don't. Oh well. It gets 'em off the couch. It's good for their minds and their spirits. And damnit, I need people to play with. Nice article though. I enjoyed it. Personally I think the kids will obtain more benefit than harm from practicing aikido with dad.:D

senshincenter 03-20-2007 03:40 PM

Re: Eat Your Veggies
 
Hi All,

Thank you for the great replies. I feel you all have made some very valid points.

I would however like to address the notion of “getting our children to hate something,” etc.

Sharing from my experience, I feel that this is not just a children’s issue. I believe this to be very relevant to our own training as well. Here’s how:

There are at least two viewpoints to look at this issue from – in my opinion. First, there is the notion that many of you have touched upon here and that was touched upon in the column. This is the notion that there is many things we “make” our children do, regardless of their protests to the contrary. I feel we may have to return to this issue repeatedly if we do not note here that we all do this as parents and that we all do this in regards to what is best for our children. We do this for ourselves as well. Only when we practice this as adults we call it will power or discipline – we speak of things like commitment, etc. When we practice it with our children we label it something like “wisdom” or “life experience,” etc. I am re-raising this point because while it may be vogue in some circles to not force anything – especially upon ourselves – there is indeed a common sense and a common practice that does allow for this “forcing” under certain types of conditions, especially those that are relevant to wisdom. In other words, it is not inalienably wrong whenever we do not follow a child’s protests to the contrary and/or whenever we veer away from our whims or desires.

Second, there is this notion of “liking” and “not liking” Aikido. This notion has to be approached from two aspects. First, we have to decide whether the unsaid alternative is actually a realistic possibility before we offer the dichotomy in any kind of legitimate way. In other words, is it true that we can or could train in Aikido while liking it the whole time we are training? Liking everything about it? Etc. In my experience, this simply is not possible. In fact, for me, most of Aikido spirituality, which cannot, for me, be separated from its technical aspects, revolves around what could be called negative or purifying experiences. That is to say, for example, to develop the virtue of humility, we are going to have our notion of pride and our attachment to pride “challenged.” This is never going to be the kind of experience where any “normal” person is going to say, “Gee, I liked that! That was right up there with Disneyland.” Additionally, again for example, to cultivate wisdom, we are going to have to have our propensity for ignorance exposed, as we have our attachment to ignorance exposed. Again, this is far from pleasurable, far from being the kind of thing anyone would take a liking to.

For the uncultivated self, whether we are adult or child, what is “liked” is often that which fits nicely into our own self-delusions and our own self-attachments. As a result, we can often like things that are not at all good for us, as we will often find “disagreement” with those things that are good for us. This happens because as part of the human condition – which is pretty much internalized from around 3 or 4 years old (with it just becoming more embedded over the decades) – our self-delusions and self-attachments are thoroughly fueled by our own pride, our own fears, and our own ignorance. Anything that keeps this all in place is more often than not “liked,” and anything that attempts to reconcile these things is “not liked.” Thus, if Aikido training is truly practiced as a process of self-transformation, it will not only have to function at this level, it will thereby have to be disliked (at some point). To say this in positive terms: We are going to need a lot of discipline to see the training through, being less and less reliant on preferences and fancies as motivations for continuing our training.

I do understand that it is much more difficult to get a child into the car and off to the dojo when they are kicking and screaming about how badly they hate Aikido. However, this does not mean, for me, based upon my experience, that anyone can train in Aikido without having great moments of the same exact reaction to it. As such, hating Aikido is part of the training. It is not a reason to stop training. It is the sign that training has actually reached depth. Of course, there are a million ways for dealing with this depth being reached, and whether it is in regards to our children or ourselves, I’m not advocating a continuation of abuse (or self-abuse) to get our children or ourselves into the dojo. I am simply stating that always liking Aikido is not possible, and therefore we really should not be motivated away from having our children train like we have them eat their vegetables.

The second aspect is a bit more complex, but for me it is the most relevant. To like and to dislike is the way we often experience the world. This is to say, we experience life and loved ones, etc., via dualisms, oppositions, dichotomies (you pick the word), with us as the main defining element. This is how the egoic mind functions. The world, everything and everyone in it, is divided up into contrasts and these contrasts are given meaning according to our own delusions, self-identity, and self-attachment (e.g. hot is hotter than I/cold is colder than I). In the end, for me, Aikido is beyond all of this. As such, it makes little sense then to come to training attempting to have the dichotomy of like and dislike function unimpeded when in the end one is seeking to move beyond the body/mind that feels reliant upon such things.

When I tell my son, or my 7 year old daughter, that like or dislike has nothing to do with Aikido training, I’m not only suggesting that it is like eating vegetables (i.e. that we often do things we do not like because they are good for us). I am also attempting to impart the lessons of moving beyond the egoic mind and its reliance upon egocentric dichotomies for feeling good, worthy, meaningful, loved, happy, etc.

This is important because the flip side of moving beyond the egoic mind - i.e. not moving beyond the egoic mind - is an over-reliance upon positive conditions for any type of self-worth. Since life is never going to be only positive conditions, before we self-medicate, before we look to battle off anxiety and depression, or before our children do, we should try to train and/or have them train without liking or disliking Aikido. To be sure, this is never easy. However, some attempts made in this direction are always better than no attempts. In the column, I attempted to provide one strategy: no letting my son contrast Aikido to video games, for example. To the egoic mind, one thing means not the other. In a less egocentric world-experience, this does not have to be the case, and so it is not.

Hating Aikido does not mean we should stop training. Hating Aikido means we have just begun to train. Training because we like Aikido often suggests we have only assimilated the purifying technology of Budo into our own egoic tendencies – i.e. made it impotent. While there is no way to always only like Aikido, there is a way to train that is beyond like and dislike altogether. It is a way that is beyond the need for external positive conditions to make us feel at peace with our environment and ourselves. In my opinion, the sooner we start to quest for this, the better.

dmv

George S. Ledyard 03-22-2007 08:28 PM

Re: Eat Your Veggies
 
Quote:

Paulo Barreto wrote: (Post 171735)
Mr. Valdez,

First a little light comment on "What does that have to do with anything? We are not talking about what we like...". How long do you think you'll be able to use that line before your son develops some smart reply? ;)

Now on to more serious matters that, being a parent myself, sometimes worry me (my daughter is only two so i still have a lot of time to worry about these things ;)).

Your son being four you can, of course, put your foot down and make your son go to practice. As parents we all understand that sometimes we must make our children do something they don't wish because in the long term its better for them.
The crux of the matter is: what if by making him go train you are inadvertently making him associate Aikido practice to something he would rather not do and in the long run causes him to leave Aikido when he is able to choose?

Guess I'm a little worried that my children won't want to practice Aikido when they are older, and that by making them go to practice we're, in some way, contributing to their dislike of the art.

Thank you for your column and the change for discuss these matters. Parenting is, in my view, always about balance.

I have all sorts of friends who were made to go to music lessons, dance lessons, etiquette lessons, etc when they were young. Virtually none of them wanted to go, all of them have said that they are now glad that their parents made them do it. Kids don't normally want to do the boring foundation stuff that can later let one really do and enjoy an activity. Video games are definitely a lot more fun. But the fact is, when they get older, they have jobs, families, etc. At that point they are too busy to take up new things and give them the time they deserve. I can't count the number of times I have heard someone say that they wish that they had kept up on some activity that they had started when they were young, especially musical instruments, but dancing as well. Anyway, it won't really matter about the Aikido... Most people don't do it and that applies to the kids of parents that do. If they love it they'll stay. Making them go now or not won't change that I don't believe.

eyrie 03-23-2007 04:11 AM

Re: Eat Your Veggies
 
David... just wait till he's 8 and his only response becomes a flat "No"... That's when you'll need to bring all your negotiation skills to bear... ;)

Basia Halliop 03-23-2007 10:26 AM

Re: Eat Your Veggies
 
Quote:

I have all sorts of friends who were made to go to music lessons, dance lessons, etiquette lessons, etc when they were young. Virtually none of them wanted to go, all of them have said that they are now glad that their parents made them do it.
My experience has been pretty much the opposite. I can't think of anyone I know who still does the things they were _made_ to do when they were young, in some cases even when they really did have a talent at it. It's like if you keep telling a child something is a vegetable, they grow up to believe you deeply and implicitly (and that includes vegetables..). On the other hand, for example, the voracious readers I know, my family included, had parents who read a lot themselves for pleasure, were always seen by the kids reading, took for granted that reading was a treat, and "allowed" the children to read after they had done chores or whatever.

So I suppose it depends on the goal -- forcing a child who say, dislikes a certain school subject to learn it seems to make them dislike it even more in my own experience, BUT they do learn it (albeit not quite as well as someone who loves it), so if the goal is simply to learn a necessary skill, then it may be worthwhile.

Obviously your mileage may vary. Kids have such different presonalities.

senshincenter 03-23-2007 10:29 AM

Re: Eat Your Veggies
 
Hi Ignatius,

Well, like I said, we have a 7 year old daughter - not just a four (now almost 5) year old son. Additionally, I have two other kids that I've had under my paternal wing since they were 4 and 2, and they are now 11 and 8. They too have been and are being trained under the same perspective. So, though I have a 4 year old, a 7 year old, an 8 year old, and an 11 year old, I'm sure someone will write in and say, "Well, just wait till they are 14," or "wait till they are 16" or "just wait till they hit 17," etc. I mean, that has to be expected. However, for me, the difficulty that each age brings, and as you know each age has difficulty,does not do away with the fact that Aikido training cannot be solely based upon preference (as eating vegetables is not) and that it must ultimately, as every human being must for his/her own spiritual maturity and thus for his/her own overall wellness, move beyond dualistic thinking such as like/dislike (which in the end is required by the art - as I understand it).

For me, it is exactly as you say: I, as a father, and as a teacher, should face the difficulties of each age not with forfeiture but with all of my efforts and talents. I just tend to understand that simply as what must be done, rather than a "just wait" kind of thing. As I said, for me, this is how we should face our training as adults as well - our own training. Because if we do not, there is a "just wait" for graduating from college, finding a significant other, starting a career, getting married, moving far from the dojo, having a child, having two children, having three children, buying a house, hitting 30, hitting 40, hitting 50, our teacher dying, hurting our knee, hurting our shoulder, having hypertension, realizing we didn't know everything we thought we knew, etc.

It's how we come to contextualize the difficulties in life that determines whether we are conquered by them, whether we grow from them, or whether we have them at all. Though my 11 year old has made it through my perspective, and my 8 year old as well, and though my 7 and 4 year old seem to be doing it even better than they did through these younger ages (due to their example being an added benefit), I will of course have to wait to see what the future holds. My feeling, and my experience, is in line with Janet's however. The kids grow up being used to what they are getting used to. If a child, or us, lives a life where we judge things and people according to like and dislike (e.g. egocentrically), and thereby determine what we should and should not do, be or should not be, or if a child, and us, are used to whining, crying, and/or other forms of relating to the wold with resistance, if we are not used to the inner peace that comes from non-resistance, non-attachment, and acceptance, if we are used only to contrasting the world to us and to itself, setting it up and experiencing it according to either/or dualisms (e.g. video games or Aikido), then, yeah, getting to Aikido, for the child, for us, is surely an ordeal - just like the rest of life would be.

My thoughts,
dmv

senshincenter 03-23-2007 10:44 AM

Re: Eat Your Veggies
 
Quote:

Basia Halliop wrote: (Post 173191)
My experience has been pretty much the opposite. I can't think of anyone I know who still does the things they were _made_ to do when they were young...

Not to say that Basia is suggesting I am saying this, but I hope it is clear to readers of the article that I am not proposing "forcing" or "making" a child train. I'm proposing to move beyond forcing and not forcing, liking and disliking, etc. I'm not suggesting we MAKE our child students like Aikido - that I said is impossible. It is impossible because preference does not work like that (in that it cannot be forced externally) and because Aikido cannot always and forever be liked (and all I said in my first post).

The talk I had with my son, which is repeated in the article, which I've had in one shape or another with my other three children, is an actual conversation. I do not think it sounds like he is being forced or made to like Aikido, or at least I hope it does not. It was not supposed to. If anything, he is being led one way, to a place of mutual benefit. No doubt, he's being guided, "encouraged" more where I want him to go than where he might go without me present, but there's no more force or "making" in that than in a well-applied Aikido technique.

For me, forcing a child to train, is just like caving in for them when they cry about hating Aikido. It's the same coin - just different sides.

thanks,
dmv

Tony Wagstaffe 03-23-2007 10:53 AM

Re: Eat Your Veggies
 
This is a very interesting thread.....whether I'm just lucky and have the wife I have in the way that she has brought up our children has, I would say something to do with my insistence that she would not work in some profession whilst raising them..... she originally worked in conveyancing and was offered promotion and training to promote her status to a legal level.... I was at the time an electrician, cab driver (still am), peripatetical teacher aikido/self defence/awareness classes in which she would join when time allowed and even when pregnant! (3rd dan Tomiki aikido).... she willingly gave up her chance and we went on to raise a family... of course I helped in the way most fathers would when at home.... whilst working all hours that God sent.... we haven't done so bad and are solvent.... My boy and girl have now grown to 16 & 14 yrs respectively.... they have their ups and downs as any normal offspring but have turned out wonderful.... no problems at all! Never made them do aikido.... The boy tried out judo and wanted to try aikido at his instigation when younger but lost interest.... (dissappointed but didn't worry about it) things have moved on, both are doing really well in their studies and we made sure that they ate their veg and all the other things that are good for them. Both of them agree that I can be very strict at times but they say I am also fair.... they still eat their veg and enjoy it! the funny part is our girl wants to be a P.E. teacher. Our boy who wants to get into design and technology and has started aikido....;)
Tony


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