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Taking a hit...

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Taking a hit Taking a hit

Before B1 was born, I joined a local Tae Kwon Do club to build my fitness and work on my self-confidence. While I was training for my Blue belt, I found out I was pregnant with B1. Against the well-meaning "advice" of others, I kept training until I was six months pregnant and achieved my blue belt. Even then, before even meeting our bubba, I hoped that one day I'd be back in that grading room.

This morning I was, but not for myself. I spent a couple of proud hours watching my B1 complete her first gup – grading from white to yellow belt. Whether she achieves her yellow belt or not, I am immensely proud of the fact she was out there having a go.

When B1, who is now eight, decided she would like to try Tae Kwon Do I was rapt. As much as I wanted her to do it, I had to wait until she was ready. I needed to be satisfied that she wanted to be there, and was aware of the commitment she was making. It wasn't going to be another "pie in the sky" activity that was going to be given up as soon as it was too hard. I expect her to be doing TKD for at least 12 months, and hopefully longer. I am not being a hard-ass, or overbearing forceful parent. I want to instill in her the need, even at eight, to think about the decision to commit, and really understand what that means.

I believe in the benefits that TKD can teach and help to develop. Self-confidence, self-esteem, self-disciple and self-defence – all extremely important skills to learn. Respect, loyalty, personal integrity, friendship and fitness – these words are all contained within the club's code, and I hope that B1 will truly learn to understand and appreciate the importance of these words as she continues her journey.

While the grading was underway, I could see B1's focus fading and attention waning at times. A bit of a stare out the window, glancing around at what everyone else is doing, flicking her hair, and as she was doing this, I could feel myself tensing and I became aware of my own feeling of annoyance. I was making mental notes to myself about how I needed to tell her off after the grading for not paying attention. How I should remind her to concentrate. How I should make her practice more so that she can do it better. I was sitting there, thinking of ways I needed to impress on her things to make myself feel better...

And then I caught myself and remembered that she is out there. She has made the decision to put herself out there and learn a new skill, to try something new and probably a bit scary. And I must admit I felt a tear or two well up. I am proud of my girl. Not for being the best. Or doing it "right". Or even for passing the grading. I am proud of my girl for being out there and just that.

Kids make mistakes, it's one of the givens in life. But so do "grown-ups". Sometimes you need to take a hit, or make a mistake to learn how to avoid the same thing next time. Or maybe not next time – it may take quite a few hits or mistakes to really learn. It happened today in grading. One kid had  complete blank on how to do a particular move and you could see the tears coming. Instead of making him feel like a failure, the instructor, Rob, talked him through it. And on the next move, Rob chose a move that he knew J was able to do, and let him demonstrate it. J demonstrated it well and Rob thanked him. So instead of this boy feeling belittled and silly, he was then proud that he was able to help out. His smile was back and he was straight into it again.

Another girl took a bit of a hit and started crying. Rob let her sit down and gather herself, and then asked her to help in the grading of a higher level belt. Again, instead of feeling like she had failed, she had a beaming smile that she was chosen to help out. Instead of treating their mistakes like failures, Rob allowed them to find a way to gain back their confidence quickly and just get on with it.

No doubt that B1 will make mistakes and struggle at time, whether in Tae Kwon Do or otherwise. I know I need to stop pushing my expectations and wishes for success onto her, but it's really hard to remember that all the time. I just need to be there for her and make myself available to help her if she asks. I don't want to force her to be a black belt. I will encourage her and help her as much as I can to get there, but I am not going to force her to do it. It may mean helping her to overcome some tears and some fears, but I will do my best to support her in her journey.

It's not about the colour of the belt she earns, it is about the commitment and learning along the way. As a parent, sometimes the hardest thing to do is to sit back and let them do it themselves. To let them fall, make mistakes. Sometimes we will need to drag them up or help them up, but they also need to learn how to get back up themselves.

Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012 21:59

Quigs is awesome. She doesn't often admit it, but she is.

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1 Comment

  • Comment Link Michael Sunday, 16 December 2012 10:43 posted by Michael

    Great work Quigs. Putting Bucky and Chubba to shame. As a teacher, I often see how kids self-confidence can take a hit and am proud of the fact that the work I do provides those kids who often don't get the opportunity - to show the world how successful and talented they are.
    Sorry I won't be there this afternoon for the Christmas party.


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