Hate, Nazis, and Curious kids

Today when I came in to the dojang, the first thing I was presented with was that some of the kids were talking about “nazi” things, playing at shooting each other, and calling each other nazis.  What follows is a summary of what I discussed with the kids 3rd grade and older.  

So, I sat down with the kids, 3rd grade and older to discuss this in terms of appropriate behavior, language, and subject matter for the dojang.   With the bottom line, first and most important lesson, that all of our training is built upon the philosophy/ideology — that Respect, is the most important concept at MIMA.

In order to cover this subject, in a way that honors it’s seriousness, and educates, we discussed the following:

  • Nazi : refers to a political and idealogical group that primarily refers to WWII in Germany.
  • Nazi ideology believed that there was one group of people who were good, and all others were not.  Specifically targeted groups were Jewish, Travelers, Disabled, LGBT, and some other groups of people.
  • As part of this, there was a systematic process in which over 6 million people, most of whom were Jewish, were killed.
    • Questions/ and topics we discussed:

Does this ideology/belief/philosophy match with MIMA’s belief that respect is the most important thing?

Does talking about, calling someone a Nazi, making light of the subject by playing at shooting/etc others or saying “i’m a Nazi” honor the millions of people who were killed their families, and descendants?  Is it being handle with the seriousness that the subject calls for?

When hearing about people making reference to a subject so serious, wouldn’t it be best to involve people who have education, and knowledge, such as teachers, parents, and martial arts instructors to help, rather than try to tackle on ones own?

This subject is highly disturbing, and upsetting, and we will not discuss it in terms of details or how the Nazi party came into power, or how the details of how people were killed, concentration camps, etc. (all of which were questions raised).  This is a subject best discussed with families, and with your parents support, and at their direction.  Our addressing it is to make sure that we are being respectful, compassionate, kind, and honoring of all people in this space. We are open to having more discussions only at the direction of their parents. 

That there are very few, a small percentage of people, who still believe these ideas.  The vast majority of people DO NOT hold these views,  

That I and the staff are available to help if hate/Nazi etc subjects are brought up or spoken about, and that in this case, it is very important to get educated and full information, from trusted and informed sources.  An example given is that is it ok to go drive, when you only know two things about driving?  Isn’t it better to learn everything, before you go and drive on the freeway?  And until you know what you need, wouldn’t it be better to let your parents do the driving?

That if someone is afraid, upset, worried (two kids referenced a recent picture taken of kids doing a Nazi salute which most of the kids knew about) — if they are bothered, to talk to their parents, their teachers, or us, and we will help them connect with their parents to continue getting support and education about this subject.

That at different ages, and stages of life, different types of education about this subject are appropriate, but that the specifics, and such are best addressed under the direction of their parents.  We, the staff, are here to support their parents in giving the kids the tools, and information they need to develop, learn, and thrive. 

If you hear people talking about it at the dojang, let us know.  If you hear about it at school, or in the community let your teachers, and parents know about it as soon as possible.

In the meantime, what we can do, and what we do have control over is what we choose to believe, and how we act.  We can practice acting with respect for all people, do kind and compassion acts, and promote peace in this way. We have the power, to act in the way, in which we want the dojang, the community, and the world to be.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”  Margaret Mead

Please do not hesitate to contact me about this conversation, or anything regarding your kids’ training, and education here. 

Respectfully,

MeLisa Turcott Strongheart

7th Dan Grand Master —MIMA

Chief Master —NKMAA

M.A. Psychology

Owner Mercer Island Martial Arts

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