In today’s age of immediate information from the press, the public’s ability to video and post everything, and social media’s platform giving everyone a voice, we are witnessing people from all walks of life express what they stand for. There is a saying: “With great freedom comes great responsibility.” Let’s think about this for a moment… We all have the freedom to say what we want and, to a certain extent, do what we want. But anything you do and anything you say is very likely being stored on the ever-present internet. The hard part about technology these days is that it is a running record; we see this when FaceBook reminds us of a post we posted ten years ago. This happened to me just the other day. A picture from ten years ago showed up in my FaceBook newsfeed. Luckily it was something I fondly looked back upon, so it was nice that FaceBook sent the picture. But what if FaceBook brought back a ten-year-old memory that I did NOT enjoy?
I have worked with children my whole adult life starting out in the days of my Jujutsu training. Our training hall was very traditional. We learned awareness, self-defense, how to be a well-rounded and caring person, and how to contribute to society to make our community a better place. I remember teaching the youth students lessons like how to handle bullies on the playground, what if someone calls you a name, and going out of your way to do a good deed daily. When I look at reports in the news and see comments on social media, I always wonder to myself: If I were still teaching these students, how would I explain to them what is going on? The big issues I could explain – both sides I might add – but the way people are behaving… I would have trouble. The things adults are doing and saying lately are the opposite of what we would teach these students.
Taking a stand for what you believe in does not need to come with hate, hostility, tearing down of others, exaggerating truths, or destruction. If we all look at ourselves and the way we are behaving to express our beliefs, we should consider: (1) If my children saw me behave in this way or say these things would they be proud? (2) If FaceBook re-posted my messages and pictures from now, ten years later, would I want to remember and share the memory? (3) Do I know what I stand for, do I actively take a stand for my beliefs even when they are not enthralled in controversy, and am I treating others the way I would want to be treated? Again, “With great freedom comes great responsibility.” Responsibility to ourselves, responsibility to the next generation, and responsibility to our community whether it be our home, our town, our state, or our country. Our actions contribute to creating our world.
On the Sabakiball field, we instill in our players through example the concepts of fair play, safety, equality, teamwork and healthy competition to name a few. Why do we take such care to do this? Because these are values that youth Sabakiball players will see cultivates a supportive environment even when they are “against” the other team. WOW! What a lesson to learn: That you can be trying to beat the other side yet you come away from a game with a mutual respect and understanding for the opposing team! This is how the sport is played. This is what keeps players wanting to come back even if they were defeated the week before. If we can take these lessons from the Sabakiball field and practice them at home, at school or work, and in our society, the way we take a stand for our beliefs would be much more effective… we would want to come back and play again.