Character Chats

Using Eyesight to Help Visualize

Using our eyesight to help our vision.

Here at True Balance Karate in Downers Grove, Illinois, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character, and 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 about three or four years of age, to our oldest students of 84.

And this month we’re talking about vision. Last week we kind of gave an overview what we’re going to talk about, talked about vision and how we use it to set our goals and that kind of thing. And this week we’re diving in a little deeper into how our eyesight helps us with our vision.

Imagining Results

So picture it, if you will. I’ll give you an example of my kitchen counter, bowl of fruits, cutting board, debris, pile of mail, bananas, a candle, couple of plates.

It’s got stuff all over, right? Kitchen counter, that kind of thing. And at that point, some of us may throw up our hands and be like, “I’ll deal with that another day.” And others of us would be like, “Oh man, we got to fix this.” And so it kind of looks like a mess.

And for me, the kitchen counter being all nice and clean and tidy, actually is a meditative soothing moment for myself to see it somewhat empty and things are put away. Other things can be messy and it doesn’t bother me. But that for whatever reason does.

And so we’re talking about vision and we’re talking about seeing it, and I know what I would like it to look like, and I see the mess in front of me. And so I have this picture of what it needs to look like at the end.

So then we work towards putting things back, getting the dishes in the dishwasher, grabbing the cleaner and wiping off the counter, putting the fruit where it goes, taking care of the plates, putting those where it goes. And then it is clean. The counters are there, I can see them all, I take a deep breath. I have met that particular goal. Using my eyesight helps in terms of seeing where we’d like to go.

It’s like following directions on a map. It’s like getting in the car and seeing all the other cars around you. Our eyesight is pretty powerful, as is our hearing, as is our sight, sound, and smell.

Awareness and Responsibility

And so, as we’re talking about vision, basically what we want to talk about is our awareness. And I have two teenagers at home and they are not very aware when it comes to things that need to be done or things that need to be taken care of.

One of the ways that my husband and I have worked on helping them be aware is instead of giving them a list of things to do when we’re not home, because like I said, they’re teenagers, they’re home alone now, the list says, “Find three things and take care of them.” So now they have to use their awareness of the space and figure out what can they do.

I’m okay with them deciding to take out the garbage. I’m okay with them loading the dishwasher and unloading the dishwasher. I’m okay with them if they chose to sweep. I’m okay if they looked around and had awareness and went, “Oh, all the dogs’ toys are out and scattered around the house, let me put those back where they go.” I’m okay with them going, “The dogs need a walk,” and they take the dogs out and actually take them for a walk around the park.

The goal though, in the whole, “Find three things,” is to take the responsibility away from me of saying, “Please do X, Y, Z,” and giving the responsibility to them of being aware and seeing the world and taking action on things that they feel they can take action on. And then when I get home, I’ll be like, “Okay, what did you guys do?” And they’ll tell me, “I got this and this and this done.” And it’s a very big teamwork thing.

Problem-Solving with Vision

And last month we talked about purpose. And as we ended the month, we talked about the purpose of our family. And having them find those three things gives them the ability to feed more of that teamwork side of purpose of our family, healthy space, taking out the garbage, it doesn’t smell on my house anymore. Those kinds of things. And so the more we can teach them how to use their eyesight, how to be aware, the better off it is.

When they were itty bitty and they would leave something lying around, it wasn’t, “Go put that away.” It was, “Is this where this belongs?” And they would have to problem solve, “No, that’s not where that goes.” Or if that was something that they were about to take somewhere else, “Yes, because I’m going to use it here.” So it gave a chance for that conversation to occur.

The more, as adults, we can help awareness and teach that to our own students and children, the better off we are. Similarly, we would have conversations of, “What if you got lost right now.” You have to use your vision to see. What is the person wearing the red shirt at Target? Who’s the group of people that you know would be safe? Where do you go? What do you do? Having a plan that way. It was never a scary world, if you will. It was more of a, “How do we problem-solve where we are right now?” Have your eyes open. Be aware.

We do it all the time when we tell the kids to stop at the corner and look both ways. Now apply it to the next step. And when we have our vision of how we want something to look or we want something to go, we see the space like my kitchen counter. We can work towards that goal.

Visual Reminders

Last week I gave you guys the example of my post-it note with my goals written on it. And then I would look at it every day. And just having that visual reminder going in through my eyesight into my brain, helped me grab water more often, helped me be aware of moving more and that kind of thing. So that eyesight plays a huge role.

Now, if you have visual impairments, you can do a similar thing by tape recording yourself a little reminder like, “Don’t forget you need to x, y, z today.” And then you play it to yourself in the morning. There’s ways to still have the same type of benefits in a different way. So as we go through vision, we’re talking about what we see.

But next week we’re to going to talk about what we imagine, what we see in our mind’s eye and how we apply that to our goal-setting.

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