Saturday, February 07, 2009


I am so sleepy but there's something that I've been wanting to write about.

This has been a tough year in many ways. The transition from daycare to public school was tough for the boys and for me. I am inundated with information coming from emails, handouts and canned phone messages on a daily basis either giving information about school or asking for money or asking for volunteers. It is constant. I have a strong desire to please and I often get myself in over my head. I became the holder of all the information and the stress was making me crazy. I had to back out of my commitment to the twin club because I was barely keeping my head above water as it was. I have also been extremely busy at work, even busier now that Bolt has released in theaters, and getting busier all the time. Obviously there's still the daily household stuff to manage like packing lunches, making dinner, keeping the house cleaned up and making sure the boys' homework is done. Weekends are spent doing the laundry, grocery shopping and cleaning the house - very little "fun" time manages to squeeze in. To add Tae Kwon Do to my schedule, I get up at 5:00am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, shower and get ready for work, pack my work clothes, wear my TKD uniform, pack the boys' lunches, get their breakfast ready and make sure they're awake and getting dressed before I leave at 6:25. Then I work through lunch to make up for being almost an hour late on those days.

With all that in my life, I was surprised to discover another benefit to doing Tae Kwon Do besides the obvious physical benefit. Each class begins and ends with meditation. I know how beneficial it is to my mind and spirit when I take that time to meditate - I just don't usually do it on my own. The most surprising thing though is my use of "sir" and "ma'am" outside of the studio. In the studio, we address our master as 'sir' and any other higher belt is addressed with the same level of respect. We lower belts are treated with the same level of respect, as well. It seeped into my everyday life too and it has been an amazing experiment and experience. Just the other day as I walked into the grocery store, there was a man standing at the entrance trying to get donations for some charity. As I walked past him I looked him in the eye and said cheerily, "Good morning Sir!" He looked at me so strangely and asked me what I said to him. I repeated my greeting and he laughed and said, "Good morning ma'am! I don't get very many people greeting me like that. I'm not used to it."

Isn't that sad? He's a human being and he's just trying to do his part, whether it's a cause I want to support or not. He was still there when I left the store and I said "have a good day sir!" and he wished me the same. And for the first time ever, I didn't feel guilty for not donating. Usually I was avert my eyes and mumble "sorry". And that day I decided that I would greet everyone with the same level of respect that I show my master in the studio. Whether they're the checker at the grocery store, a passerby in the commissary, or the kid behind the counter at starbucks. The result has been remarkable. The service improves and I generally get eye contact and a smile. I thought that saying sir or ma'am would make me feel like I'm giving up my power. But the opposite happens. It makes me feel better, stronger and it makes the other person feel important. It takes absolutely nothing away from me. It's amazing.

So, that's my little lesson for the day. Look people in the eye, show respect, smile - you will be a better person for it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love your post. I do this as well, not as much as I should, but when I do you can see people stand taller, look better and it is all because you show them a little respect. I am going to share your story in my TKD class tonight. I think it will be great for people to hear it.