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Drop the Cell Phone, Pick up the Karate Class

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

by Barbara Haney

Team Ascension Martial Arts Owner, Homeschooling Mom of 6

For a moment, honesty. How hard is it to put your cell phone down?

I said honest.

As a parent, I have officially had it with screens. I thought I only had to worry about teaching them to stay away from drinking, smoking, drugs, and things or behaviors that might kill them. I thought I just had to teach them critical thinking as opposed to me doing all the decision making for them. And, as a parent who believes that virtual learning is the way of the future (and it is), I embraced the iPads, the laptops, the desktops, and eventually the iPhones and all these other iGadgets. The end result? I found that my kids and I had a really, really hard time putting them down. Why?

First, it starts with the constant text messages. The phone dings and you are in a middle of a conversation. But, don't want to be rude, so we pick up the phone to quickly respond. What's the big deal? It just takes a second. It could be we need a short fact. Pick up the iPad. We want to read a book. Pick up the Kindle. We want each other's attention? Wait a second, my screen needs my attention.

This is my manifesto of...I'm sick of it. How about you? My solution? Awhile back, I found that productive play starts in a karate school. I don't even have to schedule play dates or lunches with Moms. The karate school is a central meeting point for the kids to learn and play together. Food and other refreshments are within reach--Moms hang out with me as we try the latest snack and talk.

I personally think karate schools are great meeting places for homeschool co-ops with education courses associated with them. Joining a homeschool co-op is a great way to keep summer bridge activities going, and the karate school can provide structure to those frequently empty summer days.

Screens. A necessary evil. But, maybe they aren't all that evil. Maybe they are just necessary now in the 21st century. But for me, so is the karate school. It just makes sense. As the screens stay in the bag, community takes over, and interpersonal communication skills get built in a real life format. And isn't that the key that we are missing?

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