For the instructors

One of my instructors talks about 20/60/20 rule in martial arts. 20% of the people are highly committed and motivated and will excel with little encouragement. 60% of the people could do martial arts at some level but you have to reach out to them in a different way and hold their hands a bit along the way. 20% of the people can’t be reached because they don’t want to be. They don’t want to learn about personal protection, put the time in to learn how to do for themselves, they like things just the way they are: someone else being responsible.

So what about the bottom 20%. I’ve been told not to even waste my time on them. They are unreachable and effort spend there would be better applied to the other 80%. This is hard to accept. It is hard to accept as a Christian because Christians are taught to reach out to that same 20%; that all people are worth saving. It is hard to accept as an instructor because it makes me feel like a failure. A good instructor should be able to reach anyone right?

This weekend I went on a 2 day float trip down a river with a bunch of teenage boys. A few of the boys were headstrong and reckless, but still at least could and would take care of themselves. Most of the boys needed to be pushed and prodded and told every little thing to do, but would do it since it involved keeping them from dying or would result in getting them fed. But I saw something on that trip that here two days later I still can’t believe I witnessed. Two boys who would literally do nothing to help themselves. Not where they would sleep or what they would eat even. If it wasn’t carried for them or done for them they wouldn’t have it. One boy would not paddle his canoe at all, the other would only do it for show. Their canoe dumped so many times I can’t even count. Twice this put them in a potentially life threatening situation requiring rescue. But that isn’t what I saw that left me in disbelief.

As far as I know, these boys all came on this trip willingly; I don’t think anyone was forced. This river was in the middle of nowhere. The only way out of the trip was to make it to the next landing point in your boat. The kids at one time when I pointed this out said, “We could be airlifted out!”. Their master plan was to have a rescue crew and a thousand dollar per hour helicopter lift their asses out of the river trip. By the way, this river is in the middle of nowhere and most of it is surrounded by high cliffs. At the top of the high cliffs there were tons of trees. Most of the time a canopy of trees covered the entire area, river and shore alike. The only way this trip ended was at the take-out point. The airlift me out comment still wasn’t what I am having trouble coming to grips with.

At one stop, the last one before we made it to our take-out point, the boys boat had taken on water and needed to be bailed out before they could get in. The trip leader gave one of the boys a bucket to bail the water out. You’ll think I’m making this up, but trust me I am not. The boy didn’t want to bail the boat out, he wanted someone else to do it for him. I watched for several minutes while he bailed the boat out. He would scoop up the water and slowly pour it out…. back into the boat. Read that again. What does that mean for this kid? Not that he wouldn’t bail out the boat, if he just said “hell, no, I ain’t doin’ it,” I would understand that. He scooped up the water and poured it back into the boat. Then I watched him intentionally swamp the boat. He got what he wanted, several of the boys came over to get it out of the water, for him.

20/60/20… 20% of the people you just can’t reach because they don’t want you to.

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  • mupedalpusher  On May 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I work with a big group of teenage youth at our church and most of them are wonderful. However, there are a couple kids going on our summer trip that are much like you described and they get on my nerves in a hurry. I pray often to have the patience to deal with them in a God-like manner.

    Many parents enable their children from an early age and the behavior you saw is the result. My kids will both tell you that unless they are bleeding profusely or have a bone sticking out somewhere they learned to “suck it up” at an early age. They know I love them but at the same time they know I won’t baby them. Consequently, when one of them tells me they are sick or hurt, I know they are telling me the truth and I can then deal with it appropriately.

    I like the 20-60-20 analogy, really is true about many things we do. Great story, thanks for sharing, it will give me strength when dealing with my 20% in life!

  • The Epps  On May 31, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Expel the immoral borther- that’s how you come to grips with what we are called to do. Teach them to fish- then let them starve!

  • trackerk  On May 31, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    I love “Teach them to fish- then let them starve!” I will be using that.

    I told this story in class tonight because I’m really trying to figure out how you scoop up water and pour it right back in your own boat. But I felt bad about telling it, because I didn’t have a moral and I didn’t have a survival lesson (wish I had read The Epps’ retort before class). But Dr. H. summed it up for me this way:

    “Jesus was the greatest teacher on Earth, and he couldn’t reach everybody.”

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