A Lesson From My Mother: “Don’t Stand Still”

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With Mother’s Day coming, I’d like to reintroduce my mom to everyone. When she was about twenty six, her first husband went crazy, got a gun and shot her three times. My mother walked down the street in Atlanta, Georgia at a time when she was a foreigner and didn’t speak much English, and managed to hail down a car.

Walking in field http://barnimages.com/

She begged the driver to take her to the hospital, where she died on the operating table and was revived, and where she then spent an entire year convalescing. So she was shot, she died, they brought her back to life. You can imagine what it’s  like growing up in a house where a woman with that kind of power and strength runs the show.

My mother is not really sympathetic to a lot of B.S. Her constant refrain was, “Wake up every day and put one foot in front of the other.” You don’t say a thing – you just keep moving forward. And when someone like that says something to like that to you, there’s no negotiating or deal-cutting.

And there’s always a particular expectation in the room, in the conversation, when she is there. It may be hidden a little, but behind the scenes it is operating.

I share her story because it informs you through me. As her son, I have been shaped by who she has been; as students, we are shaped by who our teachers are. 

It’s important that we remember the mechanics of just putting one foot in front of the other no matter what’s going on. If you’re dealing with something at home, you still need to come to class. If class isn’t great, you still need to make sure that your stuff at home is taken care of.

So just as she has her expectations for me, I have some expectations for you. It’s very important to me as a teacher that you improve in areas that you think are important and not just come here to shoot the breeze and spin your wheels. If that’s your strategy, it’s better that you don’t.

It’s my pleasure to see when you’re doing well with your weight. Or you’re doing well with your son or daughter. Or you’re doing well with your business, or with your marriage.

On the other side, it’s really upsetting when you’re not addressing those pressing concerns in your life. And we’re not asking for miracles…we’re just asking for daily progress.

I look at some of you and I see you’ve been the same way for now three, four, five, ten years. I’m going to challenge that. It’s no longer acceptable to not address your weight, your physical fitness, your finances, your relationships.

Again, we’re not talking about when you’re trying and only making tiny amounts of progress. Progress is progress. We’re talking about when you’ve stopped trying and are using the martial arts as a cover-up for your fears or insecurities.

Examine it – whatever it is, wherever you are. Start to put one foot in front of the other. Standing still with your problems is no longer acceptable.

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