You Don’t Have To Want To

I had a very important discussion with my grandson this morning. He didn’t want to go brush his teeth, and was content to plop down on the floor and tell his grandma so. So we had the teachable moment where I got to explain to him that he didn’t have to want to brush his teeth; he just had to brush his teeth. I explained that, as a boy that will grow into a man, he needs to understand that there are things that we sometimes don’t want to do, but just need to because they are good for ourselves or for those we love. He understood, brushed his teeth and came out smiling (with clean teeth).

There are three important lessons I am reminded from the event:

  1. It’s both OK and important that we discipline kids. It’s one of those things that we don’t even have to want to do, but that we really must do for the good of the child. And, as long as the discipline is given in love and with the heart of a teacher, the child will actually appreciate it, and feel good once they accomplish what they were disciplined to do.
  2. This is an important lesson for all of us: kids, teens, young adults, old adults, individuals, families and organizations all need to remember that we often won’t want to do something but that, almost as often, we need to do that thing to create the result we want. While doing what we want, and what most pleases us is an important part of adult development and life too, it’s not the only thing. We need to remember that the primary difference between people that eventually live the life they want and those that don’t can often be the discipline to do the things that they need to do to get that life, even when they don’t want to and for as long as they need to.
  3. It’s not that hard. I mean, understanding the principle and making the decision to apply it in our lives is not that hard. Don’t get me wring, like so many things in life it may be simple and not easy. There are just so many things that we know we should do, but don’t want to. And, as the late great Jim Rohn used to say, “the things in life that are easy to do are also easy not to do”.

So here’s what I am going to add to my “to-do” list today, and I challenge you to do the same. I am going to identify 3 action items that I know I should do and that I am not doing or at least not doing often and consistently enough. Then I am going to make a simple plan to start doing them. And then I’m going to do the first thing, rather I want to or not.


Stephen Del Castillo

Founding Instructor, Krav Maga Martial Arts