In a day and age where there seems to be a sea of self-help and parenting books on the market, many of these books can often be boiled down to “try harder” or ”do better” and you will be successful. This could not be farther from the truth. With a higher number of children and parents facing post-pandemic depression and other mental illnesses, the old school mantra of trying harder is not the solution. In “The Parents Guide to the Black Belt Way”, Mr. Konich does not re-invent what it means to parent, but he instead lays out a foundation that provides guidance and direction much like our roads direct us with using signs and painted lines. Every person must admit that when it comes to parenting there is not a silver bullet, but with a solid underpinning in how we raise our children, we can begin to see leadership behaviors being formed and even put into practice over time. In a microwave society where people want results instantly with little or no effort on their part, several parents have incorrect expectations around parenting because they misunderstand that it takes work and dedication to raise not only kids, but ones that can become leaders. The majority of parents today were not raised by their parents to be leaders, so they have a difficult time instilling these values when raising their own children. Although the term “black belt” if often used only in reference to the martial arts, Mr. Konich take it out of this narrow context and instead defines it as one who masters a subject or skill. If you are looking for a quick primer on how to raise up leaders (not only children but adults as well), I highly recommend you give this book a read. It is only the first of many that will be released in a series which dive deeply into each of the secrets.
“The Black Belt Way” is written in a fashion that bits of wisdom or secrets, learned from personal parenting and experiences gained from working with children over many years, are reveled in short chapter format. Each chapter contains real-world examples where the names have been changed to ensure privacy for the individuals. A number of these examples resonated with me on multiple levels. Some reflected my own childhood upbringing while others were seen in how I raised my own child. What I found is that this program is geared towards any individual regardless of age or ability. The author includes a famous quote at the start of each chapter giving some insight and wisdom as to what the secret contained will be. From these quotes alone, people could meditate quite a while and learn something. One key take-a-way was that learning is not a one-way street where the parent is not involved, not at all. Here the author is clear that learning and leadership is a team and community endeavor, including that of the parents. No leader can be successful on their own, and neither can your child. Mr. Konich focuses his program outlined in this book, on building character and learning over what is often taught in other sports such as competition and pride. It is no surprise that when parents are looking for outlets to build confidence and focus in their children, many turn to, or are referred to, martial arts programs. Every moment in a child’s life is a teachable moment, and this is something that even as adults we should not grow out of.
Instilling confidence, goal setting, and focus is the outcome from this program. Each of these are wonderful traits that some of the world’s leaders have in common. It focuses on how to make your child successful by way of repetition, lifting up, and positive reinforcement. Engraining these traits will help to make your child more resilient to the many negative aspects of our world and help those who struggle by coming along side, which all great leaders do. Here as well is where parents as well need to come alongside the children by leading by example and leveraging teaching moments to build up and not tear down others. As the author states in the book, confidence is a key motivator in growing leaders at any skill level.
For parents and younger readers, I can recommend this book at all audiences. The writing is not academic heavy, and the author uses many examples that young and old would be able to understand. Yes, this book if more directed at adults who want to raise up leadership qualities in their children, I think even younger reader can glean some good nuggets of wisdom from it.
In summary, if you are looking for a quick read with ample examples on helping your child grow to become a leader; now or in the future, this is the book for you. However, if you are an adult and would like some direction on growing your existing leader skillset, this book will also help in this area. It is a good read for both child growth and self-help. It really shows what a leader is, what is required and the best ways of achieving this knowing that none of this can be accomplished alone, it requires people to make a great leader.