I’ve grown to believe that each of us is born with a unique purpose, and that recognizing, working towards, achieving, and honoring that purpose is one of the most important missions we will endeavor.
I like to quote the famous football coach, Lou Holtz, who says, “Success in life comes down to three basic tenets: being someone people can trust, being committed to excellence, and genuinely caring about other people.” Lou Holtz has compressed the five tenants of Taekwondo into three that encompass the same values.
Before we can accomplish our mission, we must first discover our purpose in life. How do we do that? “You have to be a dreamer,” says Holtz. I couldn’t agree more. When I was ten years old, I knew my purpose in life—to fly jets in the US Air Force. It wasn’t unfounded; my father was a pilot in the Air Force. He was a war hero who flew 24 combat missions in a B-24 bomber during World War Two. He was shot down three times and repatriated each time to fly more bombing missions. I wanted to be an aviator and a hero, just like him—I had a big dream!
Years after I had retired from a career of flying jets in the Air Force, I was reminded by a former high school sweetheart that I had three big dreams when I was eighteen years old. The first and most obvious was to fly in the Air Force. But the second and third, I had forgotten about—to become a writer and to make a difference in the world. How could I possibly have forgotten about my other dreams and purpose? Well, I hadn’t. My unconscienced mind had stored these dreams away, and unknown to me was working all along to make them come true.
Discovering my purpose was easy; I had a role model that I wanted to emulate. But for many people, it isn’t easy to identify their life purpose, mission, or passion. A lot of kids don’t have a role model that can inspire them, and they don’t have goals or dreams. Most kids are not taught the importance of having a big dream or developing a passion for that dream and pursuing it until it comes true.
The best way I know to teach a child to dream big is to build up their self-esteem. We do this in Taekwondo by teaching life principles that help kids develop discipline, confidence, courage, and thus improve their self-esteem. We also teach them respect, self-control, persistence, integrity, and help them develop a spirit of never giving up or an indomitable spirit.
Once kids have healthy, positive self-esteem, teach them to dream big and aim for the stars! Remember, it is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful.
Steve Doherty, 2nd Dan Taekwondo