My Dad didn’t have to ask what was wrong, he knew the drill when he heard me wheezing.

We’d head to the dining room, unpack the bulky nebulizer, plug it in the wall, put the droplets in, and wait for the mask to “fog” before I strapped it on.

My Dad would sit with me with his eyelids bobbing up and down.

“Deep breaths” he’d mumble, and I’d do that on repeat until my panting slowed.

I’d often pretend to be Darth Vader as the “fog” blew from my mask.

My dad would pretend to laugh.

As a kid, I had pretty bad asthma. It got so bad one time, I was even hospitalized [pictured].

Anywhere my feet went, my inhaler went too. If I stayed at a friend’s house, my nebulizer would be in my bag.

But my parents never let me use asthma as an “excuse” not to do something.

They told me that I needed to “workout” my lungs to make them stronger.

Not sure if that’s true, but I internalized that sentiment.

Now that I’ve been working with kids professionally for over 8 years, I’ve noticed a trend.

Parents often come to us because they want their kids to build discipline or confidence…

But right when the kids give them any resistance..

karate is too hard

karate is boring

I don’t like sweating

I’m out of breath

Parents give up.. they don’t want to deal with the whining, so they let them quit.

But what they fail to realize is the best lessons aren’t learned when things are fun and easy.

Life’s greatest lessons are taught when things are DIFFICULT and HARD.

And that’s what my parents taught me by putting me into karate, and making me stick it out, even when I didn’t feel like it- even when I was wheezing and struggling to catch my breath.

I’m grateful they didn’t let me quit or use my asthma as a reason not to do things.

P.s. I’d later go on to grow out of my asthma, which I’m very grateful for, and my Dad grew out of pretending to laugh at my star wars jokes. Can’t win ‘em all.