Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rising up to the Challenge

Recently, when Rio was preparing to test for his 1st Degree Black Belt the only thing that was in his way was breaking a wood board. He had been breaking plastic boards, no problem, but in order to earn a 1st Degree Black Belt, wood was the standard.
A few weeks before testing it was announced that the rules have been changed and now children can choose between breaking wood or plastic boards. So naturally the kids that were testing were choosing plastic boards.We could have complied and pushed him through testing, I'm not going to lie...it was tempting. But it was time for my husband and I to practice what we preach.
We talked to Rio and told him that he would'nt be testing for his black belt until he could break a wood board regardless of the rule changes. If he broke a plastic board it wouldn't be any different than testing for his other belts, and we wanted this one to mean more. We didn't want to take away from the challenge. He agreed.
We were in it for the long hall, even if it took him a year to break a wood board, it would be worth it. Even if everyone passed him up and earned their belts before him, it didn't matter. This was about our child. It was about his personal achievement.
A few weeks later he was breaking wood boards consistently, two a day in our backyard. In class however, not so consistent. In class he would get so excited to show off that he would lose focus. Then he would feel defeated because he knew what he was capable of.
As the next testing opportunity approached, I was reluctant to let him test, while my husband was completely confident. But we ultimately decided that it was up to our son to succeed or fail, and he deserved the chance to try.
I have never been so nervous in my life. He had only three chances to do two board breaks. He missed his running jump side kick, succeeded with his palm heel strike, then missed his running jump side kick.
As my son fell apart, sitting on the mat staring at the board like it was his nemesis. I'm questioning, what have I done? He is only six, did we push him before he was ready, maybe we should of let him break a plastic board...etc.etc.
I understand that feeling of wanting to see your child succeed and wanting to make it easier for him. I get it! I had to check myself though. This isn't about me, it's about him. Life is not fair. Failure isn't going to kill him. He will survive this. I might not, but he will.
Then he was given one final attempt. I didn't even breathe.
He ran across the mat and flew straight through the board. He did it! He turned around, his face was lit up with pride. Running back across the mat, he jumped, punching one fist in the air. Victory!
I'm so proud that my son was willing to rise up to such a challenge. And I know that if we would of let him choose what was easy then he wouldn't of been able to show us what he is capable of.

1 comment:

  1. Well you are definitely right! Watching your child test for his black belt is much more stressful on the parent than the kid. Been there and although I survived, it was touch and go many times. Congratulations to Rio. It is a huge accomplishment!!!!