Character Chats

Purpose of Our Family

What is the purpose of our family?

Here at True Balance Karate in Downers Grove, Illinois, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, owner and chief instructor here at the studio, and we’ve developed this curriculum to best meet the needs of our youngest students of three and four, and our oldest students of 84.

Month Recap

And this month we’ve been talking about purpose. We started off by defining purpose. I have goals and motivations. I have reasons and tensions and motivations. Both of those are a great definition. The first was for the younger kids. The second is for our older students and adult students.

And then we talked about our purpose in training to black belt, giving us the opportunity to practice things we’ve already learned and helping us when we might hit an unmotivated moment in time.

Last week we talked about the purpose of going to school, and how it’s not just reading, writing, and math, but so many other things that you wind up learning and growing from. And that becomes the purpose of going to school, is to make yourself better.

Meaning of Family

This week we’re talking about what’s the purpose of our family. And the purpose of our family is to provide for us, give us that healthy environment, provide shelter, keep us safe, give us love, help us grow into fabulous, wonderful grownups, give us a positive example of how we should be. So there’s lots of purpose behind having our family, and it goes in both directions.

And as we’re talking about purpose this week, we’re going to be talking about it from the idea of what do we get from our family and what should we give to our family? Because the purpose of it is not just, I get, I get, I get. The purpose of our family is also to make sure we give.

It’s also to make sure we’re part of that team. It’s also to make sure that we have our eyes open to see what needs to be done so that we can help clean up, so that we can hear the directions the first time and follow them, so that we know what needs to be done and we can all help each other to make the environment positive and loving and engaging and helpful and respectful so that everybody’s working together.

Team Responsibility

Because at the end of the day, the purpose of our family is not to mean that one person takes care of everybody. It means that everybody takes care of everybody. And when you’re little, like two, three, I understand you’re little, you can’t work the stove yet, but you can go and get a spoon out of the drawer while dinner’s being made. You can play quietly. You can help by reading a book, building Legos, doing things that keep yourself engaged, sitting at the table, coloring and drawing and talking about the day.

As kids get older, then responsibilities become more. When my two students finally became of the age where they were staying home alone, they had small tasks that they needed to complete while they were home alone.

And that was part of the idea of teamwork. And that was part of the idea of the purpose of you being allowed to stay home alone had to do with we all worked together. And it was easy things like take out the garbage or things like that.

But it gave them a reason for being part of the group, being part of the family, being part of the, we all work together to make sure that this house functions in the way that it should be able to function.

And then as it gets even older, all my parents and adults know a lot of us shoulder the responsibility. A lot of us take care of things. We pay the bills, we go to work, we clean up, we take care of the laundry, all those things. And one of the things that I recognized a little late in parenting, but all of the sudden, it’s one of those eye-opening moments.

Evaluate and Communicate

My son was seven, eight, and we had always taught the kids to put their plates next to the sink. And now he’s seven or eight, and he puts the plate next to the sink, but he’s now big enough to actually put it in the sink. So it was one of those eye-opening moments of why are you still putting it there? Why aren’t you putting it in the sink? And he’s like, “Because that’s where it goes.” So we had to retrain, reiterate, work on more of the teamwork aspect of our family so that he would then put the dishes in the sink because he got bigger.

And it’s one of those things that as parents, you don’t realize, and all of a sudden you’re like, what is going on? And we need to take a moment and constantly reevaluate, how can I help them be more responsible, be more respectful, be able to grow into self-sufficient adults? And for us, it was as simple as getting him to go from putting it next to the sink, which was the win, to then putting it in the sink.

So the purpose of our family is as parents, it’s to raise our kids to be those fabulous, self-sufficient adults. As kids, it’s a matter of being part of the team, being part of helping out, taking care of, loving, responsible, respectful people within our home.

And as we go along, sometimes we get into arguments, yes, sometimes we have disagreements, yes. But again, last month we talked about optimism. So if we can address those moments with some optimistic kinds of thoughts or responses, we can work through them.

Vision Helping Purpose

And then next month, we’re talking about vision. So if we all have our eyes open and we are aware of things and we see what we wish to accomplish, it helps our family move forward. This past summer, speaking of vision, my husband and I had offered our kids a vacation idea, and they did not want that particular vacation idea, but they had a different vision of where they wanted to go for vacation.

And so we sat down and they said, “We didn’t like your idea, but we would rather go here.” And it wound up being a good, fabulous vacation because of the conversation that took place, because of how we talked about it. Because they had an idea in their head and they had a purpose behind what they were sharing. And we had a long good conversation that way.

Growing Together

So the purpose of our family is to help all of us grow, do better, be healthy, be safe, be loving, be respectful, be responsible, all of those good, positive types of behaviors.

And that’s purpose for this month. What is it? Why are we training that way? Why do we go to school? What’s the purpose of our family? That is purpose this month.

And I hope that as you continue watching these videos, going about your life, that you stop for a moment and say, okay, what is the purpose behind this? What is the goal? What is the motivation? What can I get out of it? And don’t just stay on the surface. Dig a little deeper. Ask the harder questions. Feel like you can go into the what and the why, and find the reason and intent behind what you’re doing right now.

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