Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Won't You Be My Neighbor

For forty years Fred Rogers produced television programing that offered children (and their grateful parents) simple talk and stories about life.  One of his trademark cardigan sweaters now hangs in the Smithsonian museum.  If you did not watch Mr. Roger's Neighborhood yourself, or with your children, you missed one of the great communicators, guiding his young audience to explore and delight in themselves and their neighbors.  Last Sunday I delighted in my neighbors.  I sat in our local Middle School gymnasium and watched 31 children, teens and adults receive Black Belts, signifying their accomplishments in the Korean martial art form, TaeKwonDo.  I was proud to be associated  with this group.  We come from many different backgrounds to our shared love of martial arts.  Listen to some of the the surnames from Sunday's program: Cismowski, Carbonel, Bookter, Baek, De Jesus, Kwak, Ryckman, Stewart, Uon, Willis, Young, Vasisht, Yi.  I work out with these fine athletes.  I will test for my Black Belt soon.  On the wall of our dojang (training hall) are these words: Courtesy; Integrity, Perseverance; Self-Control; Indomitable Spirit.  We have a Student Creed.
  1. I must develop myself in a positive manner and avoid anything that could reduce my mental growth or physical health.
  2. I must develop self-discipline in order to bring out the best in myself and others.
  3. I must use what I learn in class constructively and defensively to help myself and mankind, and never be abusive or offensive.  
The commitment to Black Belt is a choice to join a team.  Our team is made up of our neighbors who can fit classes at our dojang into their busy schedules.  We support one another as we develop our skill.  We make sure each student achieves success. Fred Rogers was right about neighborhood when he said, "When we know care is there, life can seem well worth living, even with the ups and downs of our ever-changing world".

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