Take a moment and step into your child
I think sometimes we forget what it’s like to be a child. While new things can be fun and exciting, sometime unknown situations can be overwhelming and even scary.
As a parent, we’re focused on encouraging our children to be confident and secure in who they are and what they are capable of doing. When our child is anxious or nervous, we give them an encouraging nudge and sometimes we have to pry fingers and arms from our legs and give them a firm push. Sometimes we need to enlist the help of a coach or teacher to step in to help encourage them to try something new. We try not to coddle. We try not to let them see us tear up because we’re sympathetic to their anxiety. And we try to exude confidence, even when all we want to do is scoop them up and comfort them.
Belt testing in Tae Kwon Do is a perfect example. Not only are you being physically judged, you’re also the centre of attention for the whole time. I’ve watched my daughter several times as she’s undergone belt testing. Each time she gets a little nervous and I encourage her to try her best. Recently I had one of those parenting AHA moments – when I was reminded that observing is an entirely different experience than doing.
I started taking combat cardio classes when my daughter started Tae kwon Do. At the time I was looking for something new to mix up my exercise routine since my gym routine was getting stale. I was hooked after the first class – there is something therapeutic about kicking and punching a heavy bag that is empowering. Like many others, I followed the natural progression and began taking full contact kick boxing classes, which then led me to my first belt evaluation.
Of course I knew what to expect from watching my daughter, but this time I was the participant instead of the observer. And here is my AHA moment. Standing by myself in the front of the room, looking at my reflection and waiting for the instructor to commence the evaluation suddenly brought back a wave of anxious childhood moments – butterflies fluttered in my stomach as I was reminded of memories long forgotten.
Once my belt evaluation began, all the anxiety and trepidation left, but for the rest of the day that feeling lingered – I remembered my childhood angst more clearly than I had in years. As a parent, this experience has provided me with new insight