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Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
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December 15, 2012

"First we must cultivate the self. Then we must put our own homes in order. Next we must build our nation
and finally enter into harmony with the Universe."

Ueshiba Morihei O Sensei

Once, while sitting waiting for the light to change at a very busy intersection on a highway, out of curiosity I asked my children if they would actually duck if I suddenly shouted "Duck!" because a vehicle was hurtling airborne towards us, or would they be asking "Why?"; which may be the last living thought in their minds.

The first three months of basic military training includes punishments should soldiers not function, work or move together with urgency and immediacy as a team. When the command to "Fall In!" is given, everything is dropped in a rush to form up in the Parade Square. Sections and platoons would repeatedly "Fall In" again if there were stragglers. Commands to charge, evacuate or take-cover have to be executed in zero-time. The whole relies on each individual to be accountable for themselves and their responsibilities to enable the unit to function more efficiently and purposefully.

The importance of personal responsibility, accountability, respect for authority and a sense of altruism can be gently reinforced from a child's early years from one to six. Making one's bed, cleaning one's room, putting clothes and belongings in their proper places, being thoughtful and sharing begins as small routines that eventually becomes a habit. This requires the commitment of parents, a child's first teachers and role models, to consistently reinforce those qualities and to do and say what they mean. To ensure consistency, it is best that contradictions or discussions between parents be in the absence of the child so that the child will always receive unified messages, requests and instructions from either or both parents. The challenge is when the child discovers his/her individuality and attempts to exercise that. The first occurrence being dubbed the "terrible twos", then at six, and then the teen years; testing the boundaries of what is acceptable. If no guidance was given in the early years, guidance through the child's teen years will be a challenge.

There are many ways of conveying the importance of personal responsibility and accountability. However, ultimately it is a personal journey and realisation, only then will it be infused in one's being; for example going to school without homework because a bag was not properly packed the night before. As parents, it is always difficult to sit back to watch lessons and consequences unfolding for our children, but necessary because there will be a time when we won't be around to assist or guide.

In this season of Advent, of waiting expectantly for an arrival at Christmas, this sense of preparation and expectation of a promising future is what drives us to mould and nurture our children. As with all the classes that we attend week after week and year after year, we keep ourselves in constant practice to improve ourselves mentally, spiritually and physically so that should the need arise, we will be able to function optimally in the face of whatever challenges us.

A nation's heart and soul is molded one individual at a time; as is a family, one generation at a time.

Have a most blessed and meaningful Christmas, and a successful and prosperous New Year!

See you in the Dojo.

In peace and harmony,
Rafael Oei Sensei.

(© Copyright December 2012: Rafael Oei)

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©™ 2003 - 2012: OWH Industries - Ueshiba Aikido : All Rights Reserved