As my daughter got into bed, we shared a few last words. To give her a mental boost for the remaining busy week, I raved how proud I felt for her keeping up and again, dangled the reward of a mellow Friday night approaching in 48 hours. I asked if she felt proud of herself for her report card and upcoming belt test. [Cue: Rolling eyes] “YeeEEESS Mom!” Then I turned her attention to her Tae Kwon Do belt rack containing only one last empty spot and the excitement and the pride washed across her face as she replayed the last 18 months in her head measuring how far she’d come!
I love that in eighteen months, they earn the achievement of a black belt – but more, feel the confidence of the journey. They celebrate individual victories progressing through each belt, earning a special “Best Student” stripe in class, or most-improved for that belt! I love that they share this journey with each other! On the mat, they respect each other, because they empathize and learn together.
True, the initial motivation came from me. When first considering Tae Kwon Do, the primary goals I saw were for self-preservation for my son on the Middle School black top, and for my daughter on dates! I wanted them to develop innate skills and confidence to take someone down but, equally as important, have the self-control to stop. My son’s going to be a tall kid, and I’ll admit, we have passionate blood in the family. Thus far, he’s a gentle giant who doesn’t recognize his own power, but that attracts its own bullies. If ever facing a bully, I want him to respect that boundaries exist.
I’ll admit that part of my motivation came from my own childhood of dabbling, never sticking with one thing longer than a few years. We can evaluate my Gemini tendencies or childhood patterns some other post. When I saw a three-year plan yielding so many things I hoped for my kids, I couldn’t see reasons why not to.
Had the kids hated it, we’d have stopped after the first belt. Fortunately they love it and that, too, grows with each belt!