Anyone who has raised a child knows the task is enormous, all-encompassing, and often overwhelming. Children used to be raised by extended families, friends, and communities, but the job has become more isolating – particularly in American culture. The time and energy commitment is intense, and parents infamously spend the majority of their child’s youth in a sleep-deprived state. Back-up is definitely needed to maintain sanity – fitting in sleep, exercise, and personal time all contribute to mom and dad’s mental health. And healthy parents are better equipped to raise a healthy child. So, the expression “it takes a village to raise a child” resonates.
But there is a deeper need for strong community support, as well. Growing children gravitate more towards peer groups than family when making decisions about who they will become. Parents agonize over their child’s choice of friends. Will this friend lead them down an unhealthy path? Will that one pressure them to make poor decisions? Will they find friends who share our values? Kids cannot be kept in a bubble, protected from every bad decision they might make, nor can parents hold their hands all through their school days. The right village makes all the difference.
At Elite TOMA, we have cultivated a strong, close-knit community of positive role models. Our Black Belts are a powerful example of what it means to be fit, disciplined leaders. There is a lot of peer pressure here: everyone expects hard work, healthy decisions, and respectful behavior. There are not many places outside the home with so many examples of positive outcomes for good decisions. The value of an education at Elite TOMA is far more than the martial arts skills learned – it is the inclusion in a larger community where children want to make the best choices for themselves and others. Success and hard work are valued, healthy decision making is expected, and respectful behavior is required. This is a village where children can grow into healthy, effective leaders.