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七転び八起き – What Happens When Students Fall Down in PE Class

Fall Down & Get Back Up

Chinese Wisdom Meets Japanese Meets Jewish Meets American

In a previous newsletter (post if you are reading this online) I mentioned a Chinese proverb that has seeped into my thinking as I serve as physical education instructor for the children at Canterbury Christian School each Thursday.

I have also mentioned previously that at one point as an adult I had spent more of my life in Japan than I had in the US. As may be expected, there’s a Japanese proverb that also influences me as well. Surprisingly, this Japanese proverb may have Bible roots.

Japanese Proverb with Bible Roots?

The proverb is 七転び八起き. It is pronounced – nah nah koh roh bee yah oh key. Ask your child, they may be able to say it for you. We practiced saying it during class.

The proverb means – fall down seven times, get up eight times.

I may be too old school for some, but I am what I am … though I do try to learn still. Really.

4 Steps When a Child Falls Down During Physical Education Class

First off, I have moved PE class to the grass yard behind the school. This is important because I

Fall Down & Get Back Up

Fall Down & Get Back Up

know kids will fall down, I expect them to fall down. Gosh, adults fall down, too, though we don’t generally expect that. The difference is kids fall more often. Good news for kids is they don’t have to fall as far. I think that’s why God made kids smaller.

I ask kids to run, crawl, hop, throw, jump, spin, twirl, chase, roll. Sure enough sometimes they fall.

Second off, let me tell you what I taught the kids is the first thing they do when they do fall down.

Answer – Look around to see who saw you fall down. It’s embarrassing sometimes to fall down. You want to be sure nobody is laughing at you. If they are, smile!

Third off, I tell them to check to make sure they are not dying, nothing is broken and there is no blood. Thankfully, nobody has come remotely close to dying by tumbling over in the grass in the back of the school … yet. Whew!

Lastly, I tell them to get back up. Pretty simple.

Falling Down and Getting Back Up Equals Trying

If our kids aren’t falling sometimes, they are not trying hard enough. Been there done. The goal is for kids to not fall so hard that they hurt themselves permanently or can’t get back up.

True story – We were playing a game in PE a couple of weeks ago.

Sure enough, down went one of our kids. No, I won’t tell you his/her name here. I fear the wrath of a parent or perhaps a tribe of parents.

I checked to make sure the child was okay … from a distance. The child laid there, rolled a bit, looked up, then around. The other children kept on playing. I watched. The child stayed on the ground. I asked, “You okay?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Nobody is coming to rescue you. Get back up.”

The child got up and continued playing. No drama. Just a lesson learned. 七転び八起き

Proverbs 24:16 – “… for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again …”

Indeed I want our children to be safe, try hard, take safe risks, know it’s okay to fall down, not be afraid, know someone is watching over them, and they need to get back up and back in the game … the game of life.

PE Teacher Email

PE Teacher Email

Aren’t we glad falling is NOT like forgiveness?

“How many times shall we fall Jesus? Seven times?”

“No, you need to fall seventy times seven times.”

Please join us for PE class sometime.

If you fall, I will make sure you are okay … from a distance. Then expect you to get back up.

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