Monday, January 30, 2012

What I Learned from Mr. Miyagi

For the next few Mondays I’m going back to the future. Not really. It’s a play on words. Soon it will all make sense to you. (If you could see me now I’m performing the Star Wars hand swipe the Jedi are famous for.)

What we see has immeasurable potential to root into our souls and sprout inside us, contributing to the people we become.

And this all happens discreetly. Life osmosis. Without a doubt, our 100 billion neurons and quadrillion synapses are invisibly tunneling images inside our minds at any given moment.

Enough math. Now onto my point. I watched the original Karate Kid when I was nine. Do I remember the movie well? Not so much. I recall bonsai trees, those funky leg kicks I had a blast trying to imitate, of course a little wax on, wax off, and a handful of other details about the film.

But here’s what stayed with me (at the core): Mr. Miyagi. When he taught Daniel he was teaching me. I was paying attention. From the wise karate instructor I understood the value of patience. I gleaned how imperative it is to work hard at something if you want to achieve success. Images of Daniel on the beach as the sun rose and set come to mind. Creative lessons plans (say it with me: wax on, wax off).

Know what else the man with the bonsai beard and bandana headband that made all bandana headbands cool (sorry Boss) taught me?

The power of transference (the good kind). Mr. Miyagi impressed upon me how incredibly primed we are to pass on our knowledge the minute we stand firm in that knowledge. It’s one thing to live a respected life, working hard, and daily tapping into an ocean of wisdom as we discern our way through the this maze called life. It’s quite another to willingly splash some of that water on another with the hope and intention to help.

Can you think of an example of something you saw in your youth that is contributing to the person you are now?

Some teasers on what’s to come: What I Learned from The Wonder Years & What I Learned from The Golden Girls.

*photo by flickr
**fascinating related
article (also ties in with one of my novels)
***All "I"s here today!


  1. Hmmm...this is a hard one. I guess shows like Full House and Family Matters reminded me of the importance of family. Not that my own parents didn't do it too, but it was nice to see shows that had families that respected each other. However, I was rather pained to learn that, in real life, music doesn't cue whenever you're having a heart-to-heart with others. :P

  2. What I learned from Golden Girls - I can't wait :) This is a fun series of posts!

  3. I loved the Wonder Years! Fun post today and so true. I still say wax on wax off! My kids look at me confused.

  4. I see this with some of the older women in our church who are so full of faith and Jesus and so willing to teach us.

  5. Hi Wendy - I've never met you, but I often see Beth Vogt post links to your blog posts. Which I take to mean I should be reading it. :) And I'm so glad I did today because now I'm seriously pumped to see what you learned from The Golden Girls.

    What I saw in my youth that contributed to who I am today? The way my parents love God, each other and others...yeah, they rock.

  6. I love this new series! Can't wait to hear what you've learned.

  7. Have you seen the new Karate Kid? It's set in China and the beginning is actually so realistic as far as what "foreigners" go through when they move to China. I LOVED it! Jackie Chan plays the "Mr. Miyagi" character. He's so good.

    But anyway ... I think the Cosby Show influences the way I parent: apply a good dose of humor to every situation. Also, Heathcliff had five kids -- four girls and boy and so do we. Coincidence? ;)

  8. Mr Miyagi had patience.

    I love when Daniel realizes that all that waxing on and waxing off he was doing was training.

    Dedication, hard work, patience, and living the life that God wants us to live, moves us closer to living our dreams.

  9. Mr. Miyagi definitely taught me patience although I haven't always applied it.

  10. The Karate Kid has so many great messages! If we're left with only one leg to stand on, we can still succeed :)

  11. Oohhh, Karate Kid...I used to have such a big crush on that kid. :) Loved the movie and loved your takeaways.

    (Can't wait to see what you say about The Wonder Years. I've got a fun story to go with that one. ;))

  12. What a fun series, Wendy. The Karate Kid does leave an impression doesn't it? I'm drawn to stories that show a student/teacher dynamic {ie. Batman Begins}.

    p.s. thanks for your kind prayer. I'll pass it along. :)

  13. For now, since I am drowning in word count, I will let you teach me, oh wise one.

    (And I am perfectly serious when I say this.)

    I am listening.

  14. Ok, I will date myself...I learned alot of "Happy Days" when I was a kid. I was the Ritchie Cunningham of my family: You could always count on me to do the "right" thing all the time.

    I hated that about myself when I was a kid and a teenager, but looking back I see that "doing the right thing" all the time is a very GOOD quality to have. The Lord blessed me for staying out of trouble. My parents could count on me. That meant alot to me.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!!

  15. Lindsay, Or a laugh track. Sometimes I could really use one of those few awkward moments I tell a joke and I get nothing but birds chirping.

    Julie, Yeah, that one might be my favorite when I think about it. Haven't written it, but just the idea I was a little kid intrigued by a bunch of older can that not produce dum dum (laugh track, where are you?).

    Jessica, Yes, it's fun confusing the kiddos that way, isn't it? The games we play to stay sane. Wax on, wax off, Jessica!

    Jennifer, You're not kidding. It takes a certain kind of person to pass it on.

    Melissa, Now I need to go check out if you have a blog. And that Beth! I owe her over a thousand bucks for the way she encourages and promotes! Thanks for visiting!

    Susan, It's crazy what this brain will come up with (pointing to head, not doing Jedi hand swipe).

    Amy, Yeah, I learned a ton from the Cosby Show! And Jackie Chan rocks. I'll have to see the new one. You are one to know about the authenticity too b/c of your time there.

    Loree, Yep, I love that part too. The hidden meaning behind so much that we do. Lessons in everything...all of it!

    Patti, My kids like to test me in it daily. Forget the second.

    Hope, Yes! And Amen.

    Sarah, I hope you'll share your story in the comments and yep, I confess to a wee bit of a crush on Ralph too.

    Melanie, Thanks for passing along the prayer and now that I think about it, I'm also drawn to those kind of stories. There's something to be said for those who choose to invest in others like that.

    Beth, It is you who has taught me! You refresh. You simply refresh!

    Ruth, Wow, doing the right thing all the time. I don't know whether to be impressed or exhausted reading that. ;) Glad you saw beauty in in and it kept you from trouble. All too often I had to learn the hard way, but it enabled me to understand the depth of grace.

    Thanks for checking in on this one. It was fun to reflect and take a trip back to the future. Hand swipe. Hope you all got it.

    See you Wed. when I have fun getting to know my MC.
    ~ Wendy

  16. Bummed to have just been notified some comments aren't posting. Sorry if you've tried to comment & it didn't show. Silly little Blogger. I'll try to look into things on my end.
    ~ Wendy

  17. Love the Mr. Miyagi analogy! Mike and Carol Brady probably had more influence on my life than they should have, so I'm glad they were good role models. I was so sad when I heard Sherwood Schwartz had passed away. Talk about raising a whole generation of kids!

  18. I think about Mr. Miyagi all the time, and especially how he dealt with the very frustrated Ralph Macchio (where is he now??) with a steady, firm patience. I love how those rote exercises became habit which led to art.

    I also really connected with The Breakfast Club--the essay at the end of the movie is perfection.

    And I can't wait for the Golden Girls post. Can't. Wait.


  19. I had some of the same impressions of that movie. I thought besides a good storyline, plot, characters, it also had a great moral to it, something many movies today lack. The moral undertone seemed to carry the movie along as much as the action actually did. Never thought of doing a blog post about "What a (certain movie) taught me," but what a great idea!

    I did draw from several movies in "Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks," as you probably caught. One I didn't mention but still resonates with me: "We're burning daylight." Remember the movie?

    Great post.


  20. This is so true that we absorb so much of the world around us. I had a teacher in elementary school who had a policy of never using the word CAN'T. After seeing all his signs and hearing his words all year, I somehow absorbed that. I know that I CAN do anything if I work hard enough. I'll always be thankful to him for that!

  21. Wow, I'm not sure I'm deep enough to answer this question. I do remember the Karate Kid, but mostly because he dressed up as a shower for Halloween, and I thought that was awesome. (My parents wouldn't buy us Halloween costumes. We had to come up with them ourselves. Now, I make sure my kids have a nice Halloween costume. So I guess I did learn something from the Karate Kid!)

    Anyway, I think every experience we have remains with us in some way, molding and shaping us into the kind of people we are.

  22. Glad I found your blog, Wendy! It's AWESOME! I totally remember Karate Kid. I remember reading The Counte of Monte Cristo for the first time in high school. I loved it. I reread it. I felt Edmund's rage right alongside him. I wanted revenge because of the injustice of it all. But, in the end, revenge got him nowhere. That story stuck with me! - Lo (thanks for the comment on my blog!)


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