As a mother I can assure you that there is an actual physical pain you feel in the moment when you watch your child work so very hard for something and not succeed. I know this more than most parents – I’ve watched my three children not pass their testing over 15 times all together. In that moment what you feel as a parent has absolutely nothing to do with how your child performed – it’s based purely on all of those years you spent child-proofing cabinet doors, covering up outlets, and trying to figure out how to work those child doorknob covers. For so long your main job in life has been to make sure nothing bad could possibly happen to your kids, and now all of a sudden someone expects you to stop?
I am in a very unique position when it comes to watching my kids no change. Most parents have two options – to encourage their kids to keep going or to allow them to quit. After the first or second no change I could have asked all of the school owners to sit down and have a conversation about removing the obstacles in the way – making board breaking easier or removing it altogether, or relaxing the standards for forms or sparring. I can honestly say that I didn’t even consider it. See, I would never dream of limiting my children in that way.
A famous American inventor once said, “High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation”. You are not a famous inventor though. You are a parent whose child is most likely looking to you to see how they should handle this set-back. Where are you going to set your expectations?
Think back to when your son or daughter first learned to walk. How many times did they fall down? You could have decided that walking was too hard, or that they weren’t ready yet, but you wanted them to reach their full potential, so you let them keep falling down and keep getting back up. Wasn’t it worth it the first time they teetered across the room and looked back at you over their shoulder with a giant grin on their face?
Now that my children are older I realize that I cannot protect them from anything bad ever happening. Eventually they will fail a test, struggle in school, or have a hard time at work. As it turns out, my children all needed a no change to help prepare them to face life, and I needed to let it happen.
You will have a hard time finding a place where other people are almost as upset when your child doesn’t succeed as you are, but you’ve found that in our school. When my son Bobby tested for his black belt I was so proud that I wrote an article about it to submit to the local paper as soon as testing was over. He didn’t pass that time. In the car on the way to lunch afterwards he said, “Well, it’s official – I’m a Lacy. I didn’t pass my testing”. Now you are a part of our family too, so I’ll share a family secret. At the end of each testing I remind all of the students how hard taekwondo is, but the hardest part sometimes falls on the parents. See, you have to watch your child fall down and do nothing but sit and wait for them to get back up. I know they can do this, and together we will help them reach their full potential. I promise that when they finally succeed the smile on their face will make everything worth it.