We just returned from taking 60 Martial Arts Students to see the new Kung Fu Panda Movie starring Jack Black, Angelina Jolie and many others. There were many life lessons that were incorporated into the movie, a very distinct difference from many of the movies today. As the President and Chief Instrutor of Peak Performance Martial Arts, I work daily with children, adults and families that could learn a very valuable lesson from the story this movie portreys.
The first lesson is about the origins of our families and the affect it has on us as adults. No one was or is being raised by the Brady Bunch or the Clever family. Frankly, we are all disfunctional and for most parents, they are just trying to exist, let alone parent at an effective level. The movie also discusses the relationship between step parents and children. With most of our families being of the blended type, there are many children who have a hard time fitting in and finding their identity. Being a step parent myself, I understand the conflict that I see my own children go through. They do not want to hurt their biological parents feelings by showing affectiong or loyalty to their step parents. It leaves them very confused and many times second guessing their relationships with both families.
As a parent, it doesn’t make any difference if your DNA is part of that child or not. They did not ask for the situations that we as parents put them in and they should not be treated differently because they are not biologically connected. It is our responsibility as parents to love, guide, mentor, discipline and lead the children that are part of our lives. In the movie, the message rings clear that regardless of how different Po and his “father” are, they still love each other and were there to support each other regardless of the challenges and obstacles they were facing.
The other lesson that was taught in the movie is the aspect of team work. There is a success trait called the “Circle of Influence”. The concept is that we are the sum of the 5 most influential people in our lives. If we were to hang around 5 billionaires, we would become very rich. However, if we hung around 5 drug dealers, that would soon become our reality. Po was surrounded by friends that had common interest and goals, they had to work together to achieve maximum success. Ultimately, they were stronger together then they were apart.
The lesson that we need to teach to our children is how important this lesson is. The first step to achieving this goal of surrouding ourselves with the correct people is we as parents need to set the example. We must first remove the people in our lives that are not supporting us as we do them. I call them “LIFE VAMPIRES”. They literally suck the life out of you, always wanting you to do something for them, bringing their problems to you everytime they get into trouble. It always seems to be something. The problem is, your children are watching this relationship and they will think that this is normal behavior. We need to work hard to provide our children with proper examples of relationships so they can form proper loving, nurturing, supportive relationships of their own.