In my opinion, ironing clothes is pointless. You just end up having to wash them all over again at the end of the day, and once again, they’re wrinkled. But, if we don’t iron our clothes, we take the risk of others thinking we have a personality flaw. I’m just as guilty as the next when I see someone donning something wrinkled. “Why’d she wear that? It’s all wrinkled! She must be a little wacko!”
As a result, I now have a closet full of brand new shirts that I’ve worn only once. They went from being neatly starched and pressed in the store to crumpled up in a ball in my dryer. I tell myself I’ll get around to doing my ironing the next chance I get. That chance never seems to come. So I decided to send these annoying shirts to the cleaners and pay the ungodly fee per shirt, just so I’d have a chance to wear them again. The next day, they were returned with a note stating that they don’t do women’s shirts because they’re too time consuming, and they don’t make a profit from them.
Finally, after a good six months went by, I begrudgingly pulled the ironing board out after a long evening at work. I tell myself that I can go to bed after ironing just two shirts. Then the most incredible discovery happens for me. I actually have time to think about things, something I’m rarely afforded. This is beautiful. I’m thinking about the past, I’m thinking about the present. Before I knew it, every single shirt had been ironed and I emerged full of thought and beautiful memories.
Life is full of things we don’t want to do. Kids don’t want to go to school. Parents don’t want to go to work. Sometimes we don’t particularly feel like teaching that next karate class either. But we do what we’ve got to do, because we made a commitment to be this way. What gets my goat is the lack of commitment we so often experience from the other side of the classroom.
Have you heard this one before? “Johnny doesn’t want to do it anymore, so we’re going to try something else.”
I’ve got news for you. Johnny will never be good at anything because mom and dad aren’t teaching him how to stay committed to anything. Hey, I understand that not everyone is cut out to be a martial artist. If it were so, we’d all be walking around with a black belt or two. But you can’t give it a heave ho after training for only a few months. That thing that sets in…that thing that makes it go from just training to a way of life is not instantaneous.
Feeling good about yourself can’t be accomplished somewhere between hockey and soccer season. The martial arts are different. It’s a heck of a commitment on both the student and the parent’s part, and it takes time to experience. Over the course of years, and for some of us, even decades, we’ve all come to the crossroads of whether or not to continue our training, probably for a thousand different reasons. But we didn’t quit. Aren’t you glad you didn’t?
I honestly can’t imagine the woman I’d be today without my four black belts. Needless to say, my confidence level certainly wouldn’t be the same. Neither would my level of tolerance. I probably would have lost a couple of jobs from telling off a couple of bosses, and most certainly would have ended a few relationships. I don’t care how expensive karate lessons can be, you can’t put a price on the things I’ve just mentioned.
So, for all the moms and dads who may find this column in their hands, barring any kind of abusive behavior or misconduct, I’m saying that sometimes you’ve got to make the kids go to karate class. They are learning skills that will take them through the rest of their lives, even if you don’t think they’re learning anything.
They’re also discovering that there are great accomplishments waiting to happen when you make even the slightest of efforts. If it weren’t true, I’d probably still have a closet full of unironed shirts right now.