Character Chats

How do we apologize when we have acted impulsively?

Here at True Balance Karate in Downers Grove, Illinois we have a social emotional learning program called True Character.

And this month we’re talking about controlling our impulses, our impulse control.

I’m Master H, head instructor and one of the owners here at the studio. I have been a classroom teacher for 15 years, with two master’s degrees in education. I have taught anything from kindergarten to eighth grade special education, and we have built a program here that’ll meet the needs of all of our students from 3 to 93.


And we’re talking about impulse control this week.

When we started impulse control, we talked about having a “P.E.P.P” talk. Pausing, examining, and evaluating what we needed to do, picking and proceeding instead of just reacting to something.

We also likened it to a stop light. We need to stop, take a minute, breathe. Yellow light examine things around you. Green, continue on after you’ve made a safe and fair choice.

And last week we talked about how do we interrupt correctly or positively? How do we ask for things in a positive way? Do we demand? Do we whine? Do we just run up to somebody and start talking? Or do we use positive words like, excuse me?

Positive gestures, like my children who put their hands on my arm and wait for me to pause in the conversation to ask them how things are going.

Building those kinds of relationships. Controlling our impulses goes a long way to creating that positive peer group that we’re all working towards.

Positive Apologies

And this week we’re talking about how do we apologize in a positive manner.

We’re all going to mess up. That is what happens. Just like with our patience, we have to practice controlling our impulses.

There will be times that we will be so excited that we will interrupt somebody. There will be times that we’ll be so angry that we will say hurtful words.

We will all mess up. It doesn’t matter how old you are. You’re going to mess up.

And apologizing in a positive manner goes a long way to rebuilding those relationships when we have made those mistakes.

So we start with the two hardest words in the English language to say. I’m sorry.

Nobody likes to admit they’ve made a mistake. Nobody likes to admit that they’ve done something wrong, but when we say “I’m sorry,” it goes a long way to rebuilding some of that trust and respect when we admit what we’ve done is wrong.

Now let’s take, for example, a four year old, because well, who can not picture a four year old being so excited over something in their house that they lose control and their arms are moving everywhere and they knock over the glass of milk.

We’re teaching how to do a positive apology. I’m sorry.

What are you sorry for? Make sure you acknowledge what you’ve done wrong. I’m sorry for knocking over the glass of milk.

Then how do we make amends? Can I get some paper towels to clean it up? Can I help clean it up? How do I to make it better? Some type of question to show that you are willing to address the error that you have made.

Having those three things in our apology goes a long way to rebuilding those relationships.

Not making excuses, not jumping in with reasons why we’ve done something. Simply stating our apology.

I’m sorry, for what, and what will we do to make it better?

Thanks. And we’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.