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Old 03-22-2008, 06:54 PM   #1
"Sad Aikidoka"
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Unhappy When your family resents Aikido

I am new to Aikido, just six months, but it is the best thing I have ever done. I have been welcomed with open arms to my Aikido "family" and love every moment I am able to practice.
My problem is..... my immediate family, spouse and kids totally resent every moment of Aikido.
I get snide remarks if I am tired and want to go to bed early,
eg.("If it was Aikido night you wouldn't be tired, you would be out") and ("a seminar? are you serious???, you are getting way too involved!!")
When I get home, my spouse acts like I have commited a grave sin and my teenaged kids are starting to take the same tone.
I don't want to give it up just to sit at home like a "good wife" but if I don't get some support, I am going to have a meltdown.
Any advice?????

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Old 03-24-2008, 07:02 PM   #2
Angela Dunn
Dojo: Hartlepool/Peterlee/Billingham
Location: Hartlepool,UK
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

Hum sounds familiar Only its parents, grandparents and extended family with me! If all else fails then if they get to out of line you have some nifty moves under your belt to put them back in place. Worked for me :P

Okay being serious now, (because seriously would not recommend that unless you seriously think it would help!)

Have they been along to a class with you to watch and maybe join in? Maybe there getting snarky about it because they do not understand what its about.

Or is it an ego thing with them, they can not grasp the concept that a woman is capable enough to succeed in martial arts.

Either way maybe sit down and have a talk to them , try and get them to explain what they have against you training, then explain why you enjoy training. See if you can reach a mutual understanding that way.

If your enjoying it then all I can really advise is to try and ignore them and keep on training. I would suggest telling them to sod off but that may make the situation worse.
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:13 PM   #3
dps
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

I would go to my family doctor and explain that your are taking a martial art called Aikido and discuss the physical benefits that Aikido offers ( stretching, aerobics, cardiovascular, etc) and how much better you are feeling since taking classes. Then ask if this is a good thing for you to do and would she/he recommend that you continue practicing. No doubt your doctor will say yes then tell the family that the doctor recommends that for your health you continue your practice.

David
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:17 PM   #4
Randy Sexton
Dojo: Aikido of Lake Keowee
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Cool Re: When your family resents Aikido

First of all, enjoy your training. Secondly, one of the best things you can model for your children is to find something to be excited about and work hard to excel in because their worst enemy is boredom and complacency. Show them a better way to live. Thirdly, reassure your husband you love him and respect and support him in his endeavors and hobbies and you expect him to reciprocate. Discuss your feelings and concerns in private and ask him to be careful what he says around the kids. He needs to model support and appreciation for his spouse and her hobbies even if it is something he does not want to do. Fourthly, enjoy your training but keep a balance between family and Aikido. Is twice a week work for you and them but three times is too much? Remember that our art is all about balance and dealing with confrontations on and off the mat. Lasly, let everyone know you love them and want their support and don't take the "Aikido Mom" jokes or yourself too seriously. One of my favorite quotes from O Sensei is "practice with fierce joy." Now go and have fun.
Doc

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will"
Gandhi
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:59 PM   #5
d2l
 
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

Why not involve them? I know, stupid question. Maybe you need to sit down and explain that we all need "me" time, and that getting away for a couple of hours will make it so you're not so "bitchy" . Know what I mean? My girlfriend and I used to go round and round with this same issue. I was practicing long before I met her. After awhile I just flat out said either go with me and see why I like it so much, or have a Coke and a smile, and shut the **** up! Now she loves it to the point of where if I'm not paying attention, she'll throw me around the house like a rag doll. Use the reverse psychology on them.
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Old 03-24-2008, 09:50 PM   #6
"Jeep"
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

How many times per week do you go training ? If it is quite a lot then it is understandable for your spouse to complain. If it only a couple of nights per week then he is probably just feeling a bit left out, and some reassurance is required. But if he is one of those guys that is very controlling and doesn't wants you not to have a life of your own, you could always file for a divorce.
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Old 03-24-2008, 10:02 PM   #7
Erick Mead
 
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
I am new to Aikido, just six months, but it is the best thing I have ever done. I have been welcomed with open arms to my Aikido "family" and love every moment I am able to practice.
My problem is..... my immediate family, spouse and kids totally resent every moment of Aikido.... if I don't get some support, I am going to have a meltdown.
Cheer up. Could be worse. It could be golf, and then all you'd have to show for it would be a little white ball. If that -- I usually lose four or five.

More seriously, the most important thing is aikido is balance. Balance is not always established all at once, but in small stages. Don't rush or your balance escapes you.

True of life also.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-25-2008, 01:34 AM   #8
Aristeia
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

getting your family involved is *not* the answer imo. If they see you not only spending all your time doing it, but also wanting to "suck them" into it, they may become even more resentful.

Ask yourself what's the message underneath the message. Likely they resent the time you spend away, or the fact that it's all you talk about when you are home, and they tire of the invitations to "grab my wrist" (speaking from my own experience here).

Rather than manufacturing a "dr says it's good for me" you need to show them why it's good for you in a way that's relelvent to your family. Which means demonstrating how much more energy you have by giving that energy to them. Being present in the moment and maintaining connection with which ever family member you're with. Leave aikido talk in the dojo unless asked about it. If you're going to a seminar make sure that time is balanced by a special family activity in close proximity. You may even need to trade seminar time for normal training time. If they come to watch a class it should be because they are saying "wow look what happened to you, how can I get me some of that" rather than because you're saying "no really it's great you'll love it come and watch, no really just once, give it a try..."

This issue is likey not about you doing aikido so much as what you're now not doing with them.

MTCW

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 03-25-2008, 06:46 AM   #9
Marc Abrams
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

I am an advocate of starting a direct conversation with your spouse (in absence of your children) and then with your children. They are upset and seem to find the "path of least resistance" by acting in a passive-aggressive manner with you. "Irimi"- explain to them what the Aikido practice means to you and does for you. Ask them if they can understand your experience. "Tenkan" - ask them to explain to you what their experience is of you spending time training so that you can understand their experience. "Ai" - When all sides have an understanding of what the other is experiencing, is their common ground that everyone can share (give & take, compromises, understandings, ....)? "Ki"- Approach their negativity with positive energy- caring and understanding of yourself and them. "Do"- Our life is our path. We are solely accountable for our life path. We share that journey with our friends and family. The sharing of the journeys are the relationships in our lives. Sometimes, the sharing is easier than others!

Best of Luck!

Marc Abrams
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:59 AM   #10
"toomanythings"
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

It's NOT aikido. That's an easy scapegoat, and it's NOT the message. It's too easy to turn yourself into a martyr by thinking your spouse hates anything that you find enjoyable, and by golly you'll keep doing it because you have rights as an individual. That's a lousy way to have a relationship.

The real point is that your spouse and children are feeling that you have not met your obligations to them. Basically, they are feeling neglected. You need to figure out exactly what areas are they feeling it and start doing high-payoff activities with them, e.g. if emotional needs are not fulfilled, consider setting aside special days for dates and outings; if domestic tasks are not getting done, consider hiring help; if you have financial troubles, make a plan for work and spending. This kind of strategic planning is crucial for any serious modern budoka.

I've always felt that the hardest technical part of martial arts by far is not technique or conditioning but having it all organised enough so that there is time for the best possible performance in family and career.
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:28 AM   #11
barron
Dojo: Calgary Aikikai
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When your family resents Aikido

When I first started Aikido I asked my wife to grab my wrist and that was the last time !!!

As was mentioned in previous comments, balance is important. I am lucky that my wife and children all have their own sports and activities. The trick is to achieve balance and I am thankful that my dojo offers 5 sessions per week so I can pick and choose when I practice and work my way around the families schedule.

When the children were younger I practiced 2 times a week and as they got older and more independent have up it to 3 or 4 times.
If I miss a practice I just remind myself that I will be doing Aikido for the rest of my life and missing a planned practice for a family activity (planned or not) is not the end of the world.

Now eight years later the only anti-aikido feedback I get is on the occasions she sees me folding my hakama when I get the " you take more care of that skirt than you do with your own laundry and that pile of clothes in the corner!"

My son jokes about my "Japanese dancing" and my 15 year old daughter just find me generally embarrassing as any girl of that age usually does.

The other thing I've learned is not to talk too much about it unless asked. There is nothing more irritating than a " Born Again Aikidoka".

Good luck with your practice

Andrew Barron
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:17 AM   #12
SeiserL
 
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

IMHO, its probably not that the family resents AIkido, it more than likely that they don't feel loved, appreciated, or a priority in your life. Usually if people feel loved and appreciated, they know that they are your first priority, then they are much better at accepting those thing that help us take better care of them.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:20 AM   #13
Larry Cuvin
 
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

Sad Aikidoka,
You need to calm down. I get this almost every time I go training from both my wife and my two daughters- mostly from my wife though and I'm going on my 5th year. As long as you don't forget your responsibilities at home as this is the most important one, they should come to realize that you need some time for your self. I don't know about you but in our house, when the queen is not happy---no body is happy ;-)
I think that if you drastically change your life style so much so that it throws-off the rest of the family, the family won't like it. So just keep it calm and get a grip of the situation and hopefully you'll get the right balance between your family and your training.

Hey, if you get good enough to do multiple attacks, let them see what you can do, may be they will realize that it is not good to piss you off :-)

Plus Ki
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:22 AM   #14
"Sad Aikidoka"
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Red face Re: When your family resents Aikido

Thank you all so much for your insight. I am beginning to see that maybe my family is feeling abandoned; I did start this rather suddenly. I was at home with my kids until they went to highschool then got a job and started Aikido all within a short period of time. I am trying to spend extra time with them but usually they all like to do their own things and have me just be there somewhere.
On the other hand my doctor thinks it is great that I am doing Aikido and so do my parents and siblings, so I am going to continue and hopefully I can find a balance that we can all live with.
Thank you again for all your support!!
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:07 PM   #15
MikeLogan
 
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

Quote:
Sad wrote:
I am trying to spend extra time with them but usually they all like to do their own things and have me just be there somewhere.
You're in a tough spot. You put your life on hold, more or less, always there for everybody, and now they're uncomfortable that you want something for yourself. No one to make their sandwiches anymore. Fold their laundry. Wash the bathroom.

Hand them a broom, and give them a choice. Attack the kitchen floor, or attack you. Then show them that housework is not as painful as they once thought. They need to learn to not expect someone else to handle tasks they consider beneath them, this is a matter of respect of self and fellow. They also need to let you evolve beyond the role of Mommy, the role of Food-Lady. They need to get over wanting you there, just because they, uh, want you there. Tell them aikido helps you become more you, that it is actually giving you better skills as a person, and therefore as a Mother.

I am blessed, as my girlfriend trains in aikido, so no issue there. As for Hubby, I can imagine a couple of reasons he might feel alienated or left out. If I didn't train, and it was introduced to me through a seemingly over-enthusiastic girlfriend I would likely feel somewhat left out, confused, a little anxious.

1) we would be apart
2) you would apparently be greatly enjoying yourself outside of my presence (meaning you enjoy my absence)
3) The comparison angle; how do I compare to the dojo guys, can I compete, can I show that I can protect the family
4) Traditional roles; (similar to # 3) I should be enough to protect you, and I certainly don't need you to protect me.
5) general martial arts inspired uncertainty; what is it, can't I protect myself without it, what if I should be doing this?
6) a genuinely fair-share of home duties.

Anyhow, I hope it works out for you. Bring lots of assurance, and lots of gentle understanding of husband and kids perspectives, which may be delicate even if they are also a little on the selfish side. Even if all you get out of aikido is increased fitness, it is ultimately a benefit to them.

good luck!

michael.

If way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst.

- Thomas Hardy
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Old 03-26-2008, 09:49 AM   #16
"Encouraged Aikidoka"
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

Quote:
Mike Logan wrote: View Post
You're in a tough spot. You put your life on hold, more or less, always there for everybody, and now they're uncomfortable that you want something for yourself. No one to make their sandwiches anymore. Fold their laundry. Wash the bathroom.

1) we would be apart
2) you would apparently be greatly enjoying yourself outside of my presence (meaning you enjoy my absence)
3) The comparison angle; how do I compare to the dojo guys, can I compete, can I show that I can protect the family
4) Traditional roles; (similar to # 3) I should be enough to protect you, and I certainly don't need you to protect me.

Even if all you get out of aikido is increased fitness, it is ultimately a benefit to them.
Thanks Mike,
The above sounds just about right on!! I think maybe especially #2 and #3.

(note: I do still do the housework and the laundry, just not as efficiently as I used to) LOL I need to delegate more
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:22 AM   #17
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

Onegaishimasu. Going to aikido once or twice a week will keep you busy enough. Seminars are something much further down the road. You only need to build up your own practice the first three years. By attending class once a week no matter what, and no more than three times a week no matter what, testing once a year, aikido should fit nicely into your life. Good luck, you've earned it.

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:25 AM   #18
NagaBaba
 
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

I don't understand your problem. Have you learned how to use bokken an jo? - if not, ask your instructor. Then the family members will be more enthusiastic about aikido.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 03-26-2008, 12:19 PM   #19
Al Gutierrez
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

Show (more than tell) your family how your aikido practice is positively improving your personality and activities around the home - be careful to illustrate how your aikido practice makes you more pleasant/fun to be around.

Aikido is in the words of Ueshiba the art of "loving protection" it's practice is also based upon and rooted in respect. I think the sincere practice of REI (formal etiquette) is as important if not more important outside the dojo as it is before, during and after practice. If you want your aikido training to benefit you the most, then be sure to see your practice as something that is for the benefit of your family. Your practice should first of all raise your level of respect and appreciation for your family, they are in many ways the best teachers and training partners you can have. Try to think of your aikido practice as personally making you a better mom and wife at home and not simply be an excuse to get out of the house and to escape whatever may be uncomfortable, unsatisfying or lacking there.

For your spouse, as someone else pointed out, "reassure him that you love him and respect and support him in his endeavors and hobbies". If you really want his support, show him how aikido is improving your desire to frequently receive and harmonize with him. That will surely fix his opposition.

Don't forget that your kids are your kids, and you're the mom, until they are of age they must abide by your rules - insist upon their help around the house because it will teach them responsibility, and will better prepare them for adulthood, but don't neglect your own responsibilities either as you go off to practice several times a week. If you have to go to the dojo one less day a week or forego some seminars for your family, do it. Consistently show them they are more important, and they won't need to resent your aikido.

In the dojo we learn to relax, and we learn to calmly and attentively face challenges and deal with them in mutually beneficial ways. Take those lessons home and make them your own private seminar/practice - your home is your dojo and your family members are your absolute best training partners whether they are cooperative or not. If you're going to practice aikido don't do it half heartedly. Make a commitment to use your practice as a means to lovingly protect and nourish your family relationships and to build your home into strong castle, a refreshing retreat and a sacred shine. There is no competition in aikido - so don't let your aikido practice compete with or against your family, and your home, it's not worth it.

YOUR family is far more important than your dojo family! You still have to lead by example. Your own chores and activities at home, whether cooking, cleaning, decorating, gardening, or whatever are all opportunities to practice aikido! Who would've thought that sweeping, dusting, laundry, ironing, rearranging furniture, tending to the kids, and the like could become joyful activities for practicing aikido? You can integrate whole-body movement from your center with everything you do, you can smile at every challenging chore & situation, drop your center, breath deeply and infuse your approach with a creative positive spirit. You can learn to do things more efficiently, more elegantly, and you can find ways to express your loving care, awareness & attention (zanshin) around the house, and often do much more, with less. You will find that you can actually train at home, and that you will probably learn more (internally) than your dojo mates will at class anyway. Aikido as Ueshiba envisioned it is not about "techniques" as much as it is a "WAY". The way that you make it your own and internalize the lessons learned on the mat, is by integrating the principles into your daily life.

These ideas are not so much my own, but were impressed upon me by one of my instructors.

A.G.

Last edited by Al Gutierrez : 03-26-2008 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 03-26-2008, 12:42 PM   #20
"Encouraged"
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

Quote:
Al Gutierrez wrote: View Post
YOUR family is far more important than your dojo family! You still have to lead by example. Your own chores and activities at home, whether cooking, cleaning, decorating, gardening, or whatever are all opportunities to practice aikido! Who would've thought that sweeping, dusting, laundry, ironing, rearranging furniture, tending to the kids, and the like could become joyful activities for practicing aikido? You can integrate whole-body movement from your center with everything you do, you can smile at every challenging chore & situation, drop your center, breath deeply and infuse your approach with a creative positive spirit. You can learn to do things more efficiently, more elegantly, and you can find ways to express your loving care, awareness & attention (zanshin) around the house, and often do much more, with less. You will find that you can actually train at home, and that you will probably learn more (internally) than your dojo mates will at class anyway. Aikido as Ueshiba envisioned it is not about "techniques" as much as it is a "WAY". The way that you make it your own and internalize the lessons learned on the mat, is by integrating the principles into your daily life.

These ideas are not so much my own, but were impressed upon me by one of my instructors.

A.G.
Al,
Thanks so much for the reminder. I need to read it over a few more times and let it sink in.
I do need to put my family first, I have been so intent on "becoming myself" that I may have forgotten what is really important.
"but I really really really want to practice!!!!"

"receive and harmonize " LOL
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Old 03-26-2008, 03:23 PM   #21
heathererandolph
Dojo: Kokikai Aikido Boston
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

Maybe just ask them for their support during this time. It could be they've had to take on extra chores and don't have you around as much as they are used to. Remind them of how you supported them for all those years.

Maybe you can give them a reward. For example you could add some new family tradition, Friday night make pizza or do something special with each family member..talk to your family for ideas. Create a new family tradition!

When they want to start a new activity, promise you will support them in it. I think it is a good lesson for them. Sometimes mom becomes such a doormat, they don't appreciate all you do. I think they're starting to, now. I think they'll get used to it after awhile, once they realize you are committed to Aikido.
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:26 PM   #22
Al Gutierrez
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

Quote:
Thanks so much for the reminder. I need to read it over a few more times and let it sink in.
I do need to put my family first, I have been so intent on "becoming myself" that I may have forgotten what is really important.
"but I really really really want to practice!!!!"
Keep on practicing, but remember what's really important!

Keep the balance and if it's a struggle, always err on the side of favoring your family. So what if you manage to find yourself, but lose any one member of your family or simply drift apart emotionally if not physically?

What good is it to gain the world and lose your soul? The point I tried to make is that your practice is not limited to the dojo, your house is your real dojo. It is where your lessons and your new found skills ought to be "sinking in" most. It's where you really discover who you are and where your integrity matters most.

If Ueshiba's vision for aikido was to somehow bring peace into the world by transforming the way we interact and relate to each other, then ours should be first and foremost to bring that kind of thinking home into our own little world, where we really can make a difference.

Gambatte, ne!

A.G.
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:42 PM   #23
Bronson
 
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

I think back to my mother and how she might have handled it. I think it would have gone something like this...

To Husband:
Grow up and stop whining.

To Kids:
Because I'm your mother and I said so.



Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 03-27-2008, 06:32 AM   #24
phitruong
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Re: When your family resents Aikido

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote: View Post
I think back to my mother and how she might have handled it. I think it would have gone something like this...

To Husband:
Grow up and stop whining.

To Kids:
Because I'm your mother and I said so.



Bronson
No no that is not it. It would be something like this.

To Husband:
Grow up and stop whining. now go take out the garbage and do the yard.

To Kids:
because I'm your mother and I said so (accompany with a smack upside-of-the-head) and go clean your rooms.

Which remind me I need to do the yard. *yes, dear! will work on the yard right away, dear! right after I hit the submit button on aikiweb, dear!* See! now you all got me into trouble!
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:52 AM   #25
"Encouraged Aikidoka"
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Talking Re: When your family resents Aikido

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
No no that is not it. It would be something like this.

To Husband:
Grow up and stop whining. now go take out the garbage and do the yard.

To Kids:
because I'm your mother and I said so (accompany with a smack upside-of-the-head) and go clean your rooms.

Which remind me I need to do the yard. *yes, dear! will work on the yard right away, dear! right after I hit the submit button on aikiweb, dear!* See! now you all got me into trouble!
ROFL
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