Burkhardt says you, as a parent, have a responsibility to “increase life exposures and experiences so the child can develop confidence in coping with a larger world.” Exposing children to new things teaches them that no matter how scary and different something seems, they can conquer it.
There are a set of skills that children need to develop in order to become successful in learning and in life. These include being involved and willing to have a go in something new, showing a can do attitude where if at first you don’t succeed you try again and enjoying the feeling of achieving in something that initially felt difficult or scary.
In a technological age where anything is possible on a computer screen with just a swipe of the fingers with no risk at all involved, children are struggling to build these characteristics. Likewise in a world where it’s no longer safe to let children play with as much freedom as we may have had ourselves they’re encountering real world challenges less and less.
We as parents face a constant battle between protecting and pushing our children, it’s a balancing act that often swings too far one way or the other.
The best way to set our children up to take on the world is to give them the skills they need to face challenge, to rise to it and to overcome or recover from it.
As a parent you can help to seek out new experiences and try new things, be the voice in their head that tells them “I can do it”, reassure them that you’ll be there afterwards whatever the result and celebrate their achievements when they’ve persevered.
Practicing martial art is a constant life lesson in these skills, whether that’s finding that with enough repetition I can master that drill, that if I get knocked down in sparring I will get back up again or that the world may not be the safest place but I can take actions to help myself feel secure when I’m out there.