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Challenge your child with the six tasks 

by Barry Van Over, President of Premier Martial Arts International


 “Anyone who is in a leadership position knows the importance of learning how to persevere despite obstacles, to be kind on a regular basis and to be a team player.”

Most parents who involve their children in extracurricular sports and activities are looking for ways to complement or strengthen their children’s talents and abilities. It is the desire of every parent that, if they expose their children to quality role models and positive esteem building activities, then they will become well-rounded individuals.

Since time is always limited and not every activity will build esteem, sportsmanship, leadership and compassion as quickly or efficiently as one might want, there are resources that parents can use right from home. These simple exercises are a way to build character, confidence and responsibility quickly and easily. Another great feature of this program is that it can be upsized or downsized to fit the age and ability of your child. This program is called the six tasks.

The six tasks is a journaling system for children (and yes adults can do it too) that is simple and powerful. Let’s start by looking at the six tasks in their entirety:

  1. Kindness: 50 random acts of kindness

  2. Teamwork: 50 home helps

  3. Perseverance: 1000 repetitions of a skill building activity

  4. Self Discipline: 7 days of down to earth healthy eating- no junk food

  5. Knowledge: 5 letters to family members and read 2 books

  6. Leadership: teach or coach 3 session on a well known skill

To implement the six tasks in your home involves a little bit of work. You need to clearly explain why you are involving your family in the six tasks, who is accountable for what (parents of small children should journal the child’s progress on a chart or diary) and when you would like to see the task accomplished. Then set them free, but remind them of their responsibility to complete the tasks within a reasonable time. Asking your child what kind things they did today for others at the dinner table and then writing them down later is a wonderful way to track your child’s progress. It is also a great way to ‘stir the pot’ and get some kids talking and relating.

Some tasks like the random acts of kindness will flow for your child, while having the self discipline and not touching any junk food may be difficult for the entire family (you may want to break that down into chunks to make sure the whole family doesn’t rebel) it is important to note that nothing of great importance comes without cost.

The cost of perseverance may seem high when first learning a new skill such as repeating a simple scale on an instrument like a piano or flute; but if done over and over thousands of times, learning new scores will become easier. The player will gain confidence and will, in time, be better suited to perform than a player who fiddles with the scales but never builds any sense of mastery.

These tasks were designed to challenge children to work hard on themselves and to contribute. Anyone who is in a leadership position knows the importance of learning how to persevere despite obstacles, to be kind on a regular basis and to be a team player. Please email me your questions and results- I know this program works and that the results will be rock solid!

Barry Van Over is the owner and president of Premier Martial Arts International, of which there are currently over 80 location nationwide. Mr. Van Over has two locations in the West Knoxville area and been empowering families lives through the martial arts in the Knoxville community for over 20 years. Mr. Van Over and his local studios can be reached at

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