One of the benefits of training in a number of dojos with some truly incredible senseis, creates an opportunity to pay attention to similarities between people and across dojos.
One of the crucial and frequent comments I've heard over the years: "Aikido makes me a better and more present parent". It almost seems antithetical to think that spending 2-3 hours a week away from your family could actually have a positive effect. In fact, what we sometimes think as simple math, "more time with family, naturally equals better", just isn't true; it's the quality of the time spent that creates and delivers value and helps us cherish the love of those closest to us.
"I remember one of my kids came home with a bad grade and my husband was visibly upset - it was then I remembered a lesson Aikido teaches us: 'watch your distance, don't crowd your kid, he'll lash out, instead wait for the right timing, move off the line and off balance him by asking questions like what led to the bad grade; finish by setting up a plan together that will help them not only exit this situation safely, but feeling supported and energized to try again positively." Is that worth the cost of child care while you train? Game changer.
So many of us approach life assuming we already know or have the answers - and quite frankly, we might be right on a lot of counts. However, we've all had that experience of listening to something we've heard 100x before, only to realize some small detail that unlocks a new perspective or feeling that creates massive change in the end result.
It's not easy to admit when we're wrong - but thankfully Aikido creates an environment where we can be confidently wrong without fear of admonishment. Thus, we're able to spend our time working through challenges while minimizing our fear of failure - which Aikidoists very quickly realize, was a silly fear to have all along.
See you on the mat,
P.S. As always, if you find something in these writings that speaks to you, please, feel free to use it in your training and/or daily life. If you don't - feel free to discard and know that I love you all and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.
P.P.S. If you are a parent who wants to explore Aikido, but there is something limiting you from starting (finances, distance, prioritizing time, etc...) - know that like me, all senseis (teachers) "worth their salt" will go to whatever lengths necessary to share the gift of Aikido with you. Consider this the first hand reaching out to you - take the next step and reach back.