I am a very intentional parent (some would call it overbearing but I don’t let that distress me).
I am intentional about what I feed my daughter’s body. We eat a very wholesome diet with very little processed foods. I breastfed her for five and half years (no, that is not a typo I do mean years). She’s never had candy. She eats sweets (from an approved list of wholesome ingredients) only on Sundays. It is not unusual for us to go to a birthday party and not eat the birthday cake. On Halloween night, she gets a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and dried fruits packaged in bat motif baggies. In case you are wondering, my daughter willingly abides by these rules (so far) and it is not as hard as one might imagine. She understands why we choose to limit sugar and it is not unusual for her to tell me: “Mommy you are the best mommy in the world. You DON’T let me eat candy”.
I am intentional about what I feed my daughter’s mind. We read good books every day. We listen to motivational speakers. We memorize inspiring quotes. We watch pre-screened movies and use VidAngel to filter out any inappropriate content. We are careful about the words we use in our every day life, choosing to say “Please remember” instead of “Don’t forget” for example. I love the concept of “precision of language” in The Giver by Lois Lowry.
It should come as no big surprise that I would be very intentional about whom I allow to be an influence on my daughter. I homeschool for that very reason.
Although her dad and I have the biggest impact on the development of her habits and character, we can’t (and shouldn’t) do it alone. I do believe it takes a village. But I also believe in a careful selection process to determine who can move into our village.
My daughter has always been a big ball of energy. She was squirmy in utero and hasn’t stopped moving since. She was into so many stunts as a toddler that it was clear we needed some organized activity to channel her energy. Gymnastics didn’t appeal to me so I looked for the closest thing I knew of, Capoeira: a mix of dance, martial arts moves and acrobatics. Luck had it that there was a school walking distance from our house and they took students as young as two. We scheduled an introductory class. She loved it. The day after her third birthday we signed her up, hopeful but unsure of whether it would be a long term fit. Here we are three and half years later and as long as we are in Hawaii and she’s healthy, she’s in class. If it’s Saturday, we’re going to Capoeira and she is always excited to.
I am so thankful to have found this school. I could not have picked a more nurturing environment. Everyone there deeply cares about the kids. They encourage them to step outside their comfort zone. They treat them respectfully and honor their individuality while teaching them to work well in groups.
Mestre Kinha,The head coach, my daughter’s first male role model besides her father, exudes such kindness, patience and passion for teaching. He is now for her another example of what a good man looks like.
In this class, my daughter learns to defy gravity and master her body. She learns that practice is key to improvement. She learns to push her limits. All on her own terms and on her own time. She is never forced to do anything.
In this class, she learns to sing. She gets exposure to yet another language since most songs are in Brazilian Portuguese.
In this class, she learns to be brave. Each child gets to perform solo in the middle of the “roda” (circle of other children) every single time. A chance to shine in the spotlight. A real boost to her self confidence.
She learns to be gracious and humble as the other children cheer her on.
She also learns to be encouraging to her classmates when it’s their turn.
In this class, she learns to play real instruments: drums, tambourine, berimbau.
She also learns to dance. Samba is a favorite.
Capoeira is a great activity but this particular school, Capoeira Besouro Hawaii, is simply exceptional.
After each class, my child is a little better yet. A better student. A better athlete. A better friend. A better daughter. A better person. Only one hour a week and yet such a positive impact on all aspects of her life and ours.
I am blessed to count Mestre Kinha, his wife Professora Globeleza and his children as members of our village. Thank you for what you do. Muito Obrigada!
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