Teaching Children About Honor

“Honor” is a word that we hear today primarily in relation to the brave men and women of our armed forces, and perhaps occasionally in our personal lives. With notable exceptions, it’s far more common to observe “dishonor” from many politicians, business people, celebrities, and fellow citizens on a daily basis. Honor can either mean (1) respectability (e.g. “street cred”) that one has earned/won and deserves, or (2) the act of showing respect to those of high virtue or achievement. Both definitions of the word “honor” hold great value as a continual goal throughout our lives, as they are essential to having healthy self-image, self- confidence, and self-respect. Demonstrating and discussing honor with children is important, because the first step to earning honor is seeing it in action from the leaders closest to them. That’s why martial arts instructors are typically very fit and personable representatives of their schools and styles – they are terrific role models!

Practice what you preach

In order to teach our children about honor, we must learn to honor them first. Treat your children with dignity and respect so that they will reciprocate the same with you and with others. When you make your children feel important, they are motivated to do the same with you.

Tell your children that they are valuable to you. In a world filled with insecurity, children can sometimes feel lost. A little attention, genuine listening and engagement in their work and play, can do wonders for their self-worth. It inspires children to do the same with you. Teach your children to honor their commitments. Tell them to treat other people with respect and to not make false promises. Teach them to value other people and their time. Children learn from observing us, therefore, we must “practice what we preach” and behave honorably toward each other and everyone else. If you promised to play football with your son or basketball with your daughter on Saturday, make sure you honor them by keeping that promise. One day they will do the same for you.

Teach your children to do the right thing even in the face of criticism. Teach them to be strong and stand up for what they believe in. When they do this, they are honoring themselves, which is just as important as honoring others.

Karate is a sport of honor

Learning martial arts such as karate is a good way for your children to explore and adopt
the values of honor and respect. Honor was of tantamount importance in the cultures and philosophies of ancient societies in the Far East and Middle East where martial arts are believed to have originated. It is as relevant today as then, though far more rare a thing for kids to deliberately learn from their parents and other teachers. Karate teaches children and adults to have honor through discipline, patience, self-control, and mutual respect. One of the main philosophies of karate is to improve the individual’s character. This is exactly what students of all fitness levels experience in karate for kids.