The act of ‘giving’ and how it works with others can be tough to understand for a child. Sometimes the best way to explain something is through story and illustration. Here is a story we use for our group talk before class begins to help our younger martial arts students understand what giving means and how it might work.
A wise person once said, “Give without remembering – Receive without forgetting.”
A gift with conditions – with strings attached,” is not really a gift.
Suzie spent a lot of time making a toy out of clay for her friend. As she was making it she imagined how good it would look on their desk. When she gave it to her friend, they said thank you and immediately took it out to their favorite play area and played with it in the dirt along with their other favorite toys. They really liked their new toy so they placed it on top of a mound of dirt – because they imagined it to be the most important- above all their other toys.
Now Suzie was excited, anticipating seeing it placed on their desk – and was horrified to see it in the dirt! She could hardly hold back her tears of disappointment.
When Suzie told her mother about the awful thing that their friend did. Suzie’s mom explained that the joy of giving is really in selecting and/or making the gift – and finally in the act of giving the gift. A true gift, once it has been given and received has no further obligation, and that her friend was free to do with the gift as they chose. If there are any obligations or “strings” attached to the gift – then it really wasn’t really a gift.
Later that day the friend, once again, thanked Suzie for the toy and explained to her that it was their most important toy of all the other toys and they had placed it above all the others! Suzie remembered what her mom said; she remembered how much fun she had making the gift and while it wasn’t being used like she had hoped, she was glad that they liked it.
Our instructors tell stories like this one as a part of each martial arts class taught at Kovar’s Satori Academy. We love being a part of the positive development and character growth of each student, not just as a martial artist, but as a key member of their community.