The whole world is all about the “World Cup “madness right now. In the United States we call it soccer. In the rest of the world it is called “football”. To me the biggest story out of Rio is not about a winner but about a loser. Japan lost its opening game to the Ivory Coast. What has hit the heart of the world is not so much the outcome of this game as the aftermath of this match. When most nations lose a match, the fans go ballistic. We only have to look at some of the debacles occurring after college team’s loss to one of their rivals. I am quickly reminded at what happened at Duke University after a lost and the entire campus was turned into a war zone with bon fires and destruction of property. The University’s response was one of acceptance and expectations.   At the World Cup, Britain is especially known for its rowdiness after a loss……its football fans taking to the street, overturning cars, burning tires, breaking windows. But when a Japanese team loses, the tradition is for the fans to take to the stands and clean them up.   That’s right, Japanese fans show honor and respect to the winner by cleaning the stadium. Check out http://mic.com/articles/91279/japan-fans-did-what-no-other-soccer-fans-would-after-their-world-cup-team-lost.

In Japanese culture it is extremely rude not to pick up after oneself. Japan is a small island with lots of people, so they pick it up! It is also a matter of showing respect to your elders and your teachers to pick up after them. That is why Japanese schools don’t have janitors. It’s a joy and honor of the students to clean the school, which they do on weekends. In cleaning up the school Japanese learners show honor and respect to their mentors. The practice not only applies to schools, but to all public places. After leaving a public park they always leave pristine public space. Part of coming to party or going to the park includes bringing a couple of garbage bags with you. Part of the Japanese traditions is that you bring your own trash bags and you clean up after yourself.

In my tenure as Headmaster of a large school in Charlotte, North Carolina we initiated the program for secondary students to be responsible for cleaning the buildings, clean-up after athletic events and in general be responsible for their own actions. Students were assigned to work teams with specific responsibilities. Seniors became the leaders of teams and were trained in leadership. Almost overnight the culture of the school took on air of pride and ownership unlike anything seen before.

Two of the greatest core values you can instill in a child is responsibility and respect. What parent is not proud when their child takes their plate from the dinner table to the kitchen after a meal? Certainly a display of both respect for their parent and responsibility. Equally important at the end of a busy day children placing all of their toys back in the proper place reinforcing the adage ‘everything has a place and everything is in its place.’ Certainly the idea for every child making sure their bed is made and room in proper order is a display of respect and responsibility.

Discipleship is, by definition, something that is ‘learned’. Let’s make ourselves proud by training a generation of disciples of whom we can be proud.




About dgcoker.wordpress.com

Retired in 2008 after 40+ years in education/psychology as researcher, teacher, administrator and college professor.
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