Make Hard Choices to Have an Easy Life
Hey, parents. Denny Strecker here from Skills Dynamic Martial Arts, and over the past 30 years now, I’ve had the honor and the privilege of teaching kids’ karate classes to our community and helping children develop socially, emotionally, intellectually, and physically.
Today, we’ve got our winter vortex, so it is well below zero. The wind chill included, we’re pushing about negative 25 degrees, so the schools closed down. And we were prepared for this, so we started talking about it in classes last night, making sure that everybody stays home, stays warm, and stays safe. And it was interesting. Some things came up in the conversation when we were talking about … Now that you know, right, schools are closed for the next two days. Karate’s going to be closed. What are you going to do with your time to make sure that, you know, you’re using the best of it and not just wasting time?
And that got me thinking this morning about one of the old sayings that I learned from a coach decades ago, which was, “Easy choices lead to a hard life, but hard choices lead to an easy life.” And so with that in today’s thinking, that a lot of the kids were saying, and this is what kind of caught my ear last night … “Well, I don’t have school tomorrow, so I can stay up super late tonight because I don’t have to get up.” Or “I can sleep in extra hours and hours because I don’t have school, so I don’t have to get up.” And that’s not really a successful mindset.
What you want to be able to do is create good habits, and habits that are going to last a lifetime. And so, the easy choice is to stay up late and/or go to bed … Or not to go to bed early, but to sleep in late. And that’s the easy choice, but if you do that too many times, you’re going to create that habit, and it’s going to lead to a hard life. But, a good choice, even though I don’t have school tomorrow, I need to go to bed at my normal bedtime, so that I’m in the same routine, and I create the good habit, so when I do go to school, then I know that that habit’s going to continue.
And, unfortunately, not everybody is seeing it that way, and you know, that’s kind of the great thing about America. You can make the choices, but again, easy choices are going to lead to a harder life. If you sleep in too often, right? If you end up missing work because you don’t feel like getting out of bed, one day your boss is going to decide, you know what? You don’t have to come in anymore. And so, my goal with our ninjas is to be able to create those good, good habits.
And so, kind of give you a little bit of insight into my history. When I was in middle school, I realized that I wanted to purchase the newest video game, and to kind of date myself, the newest game system was the Odyssey video game, so today, there’s the Xbox and PlayStation 4, all those things. Well, Odyssey was the new hot thing out. So I asked my parents if I, if they would buy it for me, and you know, being responsible parents, it wasn’t cheap. They said, you know, “No, it costs too much money.” So I knew at that point that I wanted it, so I ended up finding a house that I was going to be able to mow their lawn for the summer. It was about a mile away from my house, so I had to push the mower a mile in order to cut the lawn, and then push the lawnmower a mile back.
Well, by the end of the summer, I had saved enough money that I was able to purchase the game system on my own. And so that basically started teaching me a lot of lessons young about discipline and the rewards of delayed gratification. So what we want to be able to do at that point then is when I got into high school, I knew I would want a car. So I ended up working and delivering pizzas and some other odd jobs that ended up making money so that I was able to purchase my own car by the time that I was a sophomore in high school and I got my driver’s license. Then, in college, I worked midnights at a gas station so that I could study the subjects I was taking during the day and earn money because in college, I knew that I wanted to buy a house.
And by the age of 24, I was able to purchase my first house on my own, with no co-signer, with basically good credit and the money that I had set aside from working all that time through college. So again, easy choices throughout life … I didn’t need the game system when I was young. I could’ve just gone out and played and not mowed lawns. In high school, I didn’t have to deliver pizzas. I could’ve just partied and hung out with my friends. And in college, I didn’t have to work midnights. I could’ve just gone to school. I was fortunate enough to stay home with my parents and living in the house at the time with them, so I didn’t have any expenses. I didn’t have to work. But each of those choices, while easy, would certainly lead to a much harder life in the long-run.
So by making hard choices throughout my life, I’ve been able to make my life a little bit easier. You know, depending on perspectives. There’s always been some bumps in the road, and nobody has a perfect lifestyle, but compared to just about everybody else, I would say I’m pretty well set. So what are you teaching your ninja now? What decisions are you putting in front of them that are hard so that they can lead an easier life?
I would love to hear some of your thoughts and some of the things that you’re working on. So, do me a favor. Leave a comment in the section below. What are some challenges and some things that you would like your ninja to know and learn, so that they can have a much easier life? If you haven’t checked out our Facebook page, it’s a great idea to do so. We’ve got a free birthday party. We have an open Saturday in February, so we’re offering a free birthday party to anybody. There’s going to be a random draw on Friday. We have all of these videos listed. They’re also listed, if you are on Facebook right now, also on our YouTube channel, so that way we are trying to cross-reference each of our formats so that everybody can get the benefits.
Do me a favor. Leave your comment below. What challenge are you leaving your ninja? What do you want them to learn to have an easier life? And like this video. And please, as always, share it with any other parents that you think that they would find the information useful. Have a great day. Make sure you stay warm. Looking forward to the weather break here in the next couple days so that we can get back to regular classes. We’ve got belt testing in four weeks, and it’s going to be a super awesome one. So, see you guys soon. Take care.
This is also available on my You Tube Channel: https://youtu.be/ZegL3j-ZOcE
Black Belt Parenting Podcast: http://dennystrecker.libsyn.com/making-hard-choices-leads-to-easy-life-episode-29