The Spirit of the Tiger: Sensei Mom

                                                         The Spirit of the Tiger:  Sensei Mom                                                       

                             (Copyright c. 2001 Paul Turse.  All rights reserved.)  

        Do you think your mom is cool?  Does she wear shades?  Well, moms are not cool because they may wear sunglasses.  Moms are cool because they are moms and because they have the spirit of the tiger within them.  Have you ever watched the Discovery Channel or the Animal Planet?  If so, you may have seen a show where the world of the tiger was explored.  You must have noticed that it is the tigress, or the female tiger, that looks out for the cubs and teaches them all that they need to know in order to survive in the jungle.  And sometimes when a cub does not pay attention or wanders off to a dangerous location, she may have to go after it and take the cub by the scruff of the neck and carry it back to the safety of the den.  Now the cub does not cry or have a hissy fit because it has been punished and has been “grounded” for a while.  All cubs take their licks like real tigers.  And when they are threatened by a larger predator, they are not too proud to call mom for help, and they have no problems with letting her fight their battles for them.  That is why they eventually survive to one day become strong enough to fight their own battles.

        Now,  it would seem to me that if tiger cubs are that intelligent, then young humans should be at least smart enough to understand and appreciate the guidance that their moms have to offer.  All the insurmountable problems you may be facing now are nothing new to your mom.  Believe it or not, your mom has been there and back dozens of times in her lifetime.  She has been out in the human jungle and has survived and has been successful.  In fact, you are living proof of her accomplishments.  Your mom is just as much a teacher as the tigress.  When she roars, you need to listen.       

           In fact, your mom is a sensei.  “What!” you say.  “But my mom doesn’t know judo or karate,” you protest.  Well, the word sensei does not necessarily mean a martial arts teacher.  The word comes from two “characters,” or symbols that form the Japanese language:  sen (before) and sei (life); thus, the word means “before life.”  In other words, anyone who has lived longer than someone else and who passes on all the knowledge (and not just martial arts) that he or she has acquired to a younger person is a sensei.         

        Your martial arts sensei may only be able to help you to become good at judo or karate, but your mom will be able to teach you how to achieve success as a person in life.  And if you are a guy, don’t be ashamed to develop a close relationship with your mom.  Some of the greatest and strongest men in the world have had close ties with their moms.  There is nothing sissy about that.  In fact, the fifth football player to be drafted into the NFL back in 1999, LaDainian Tomlinson from Texas Christian University (and now playing for the NY Jets), has a tattoo of his inspiration, his mom, whose face he proudly displays on his shoulder for all to see.  I also know, from my own personal experience, that my mom was my best buddy, and I am not afraid to proudly admit it.       

        Some of you are no doubt impressed when you see some of your super-star sports figures play in a game when they are injured or hurt.  But don’t forget many of them are so filled with painkillers that they may not feel any pain.  Besides, they are playing in front of millions of fans and making as many dollars in the process.  You may not know the pain that your mom may be experiencing as she goes through her daily chores, not with a field goal in mind, but with your well-being as her prime objective.  Moreover, she does all of this for you, her one and only fan, very often unrecognized and un-rewarded.  While she may not be famous, it takes more courage to be just a plain ole mom, one without sunglasses.  Besides, if she were wearing sunglasses, you would not be able to see the love and pride shining in her eyes when she looks at you.        

        One day when you are successful and you look back upon your life, you may come to realize that the correct choices you have made and the courage you have found within to cope in the human jungle may not have come from your martial arts teacher but really from Sensei Mom.

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