Character Chats

How can we contribute to the team?

What can we contribute to the team?

Here at True Balance Karate in Downers Grove, Illinois, we have a social-emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, chief instructor and owner here at the studio. I was a special education teacher for 15 years and I have two master’s degrees in education. I’ve taken everything I’ve learned in the classroom and applied it to the mat so that we can best meet the needs of all of our students as young as three, and as old as 83.


And this month we’re talking about teamwork.

And earlier in the month we defined what teamwork meant, working together, achieving everything together basically setting the foundation of what it means to be on a team.

And then we talked about sportsmanship and effort, and all the things that go into that and how it raises us up and shows that positive attitude within our team.

What do we contribute?

And this week, we are talking about how we can contribute when we contribute to a team, we’re demonstrating our strengths and we all have strengths. And yes, we all have weaknesses.

And if we’re on a really good team, whatever that weakness is, somebody else has it as their strength.

Here at the studio, we have myself and my husband Master Helsdon. We have Ms. Loula and Mrs. Busch. We have Mrs. Valadez and Ms. Gabba at the desk.

And we all have different strengths that we bring to the mat.

Mrs. Busch is our den mom. She takes care of all of the families. She walks around and talks with the parents. She’s a second mom to everybody in the studio.

Ms. Loula, she’s young, energetic. She brings excitement to the floor. She’s a great instructor.

Master Helsdon and myself, he would tell you, one of my strengths is being organized. I would tell you one of his strengths is his ability to talk to everybody, remember their stories, share what’s happening, that kind of thing.

And Mrs Valadez and Ms. Gabba at our desk, both are very organized, able to answer questions very, very knowledgeable as to what’s going on and able to offer some insight because they don’t train on the mat. So they can come at it from a different viewpoint of somebody who’s not training, but still be able to answer those questions in a way for parents who don’t train with their kids to understand.

So we all have our strengths and recognizing those strengths helps us understand how we can contribute to the team.

When we share ideas, having those different strengths, having those different viewpoints really helps to bring out the best brainstorming sessions, the best solutions to the situations and problems.

And having those strengths really helps make the team stronger.

Everyday teams

And we all have those strengths even in the classroom.

I have seen it with teachers and their students and they can tell you one student is really strong in math and they’ll pair that student up with somebody who needs a little bit more help, but that person who might need help with math is a really great reader and comprehend things really well.

And so they can pair them up with somebody who needs a little help with reading.

And so recognizing those strengths really does lift the team around them.

You’ll see it on a football field or on a soccer field. Not everybody can be the quarterback. Not everybody can be the goalie. Some people those are their strengths. Other people their strengths are offense. Other people their strengths are defense.

So when we recognize how we can contribute to the team, we’re recognizing our value, our strengths, our worth, our positive attitudes and energies that we bring to the group.

And that’s a really important aspect of teamwork, especially when we go back to what we talked about when it came to what effort did you put forth and what was your sportsmanship like?

Positive outlook

When you are looking for those positive things rather than the “I can’t do that” part of it, then everybody gets to grow and everybody gets to see.

And oftentimes you’ll hear, “Who do you want on your team or what kind of person would you be looking for?”

And a lot of people are looking for somebody to be a leader. A lot of people are looking for somebody to be organized. A lot of people are looking for somebody who’s got great ideas or quick on their feet or something like that.

And so having that idea of what kind of a team are we putting together is important.

If we were putting together a baseball team, I don’t think I’m going to want the player that can do the best three-point shots because that’s basketball, but we’ll be looking for other strengths, other skills that that person has.

So as we are talking about what we can contribute to the team, we have to know what are the goals? What are we hoping to accomplish? What are we working towards together?

Because when we work together, we all get to achieve more.

Thanks and I’ll see you on the mat.

True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here.