Buying Self-Confidence (and Belts) at Taekwondo

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Illustration by Abigail Gray Swartz

My 5-year-old son bounced toward me with his new trophy and his bright-white taekwondo belt that he had just received from his master. “Mama, look, I did it,” he said, beaming, as we embraced. “We are so proud of you,” my husband said as he took a turn hugging him.

Just a little over two months ago, during his first taekwondo class, my son sat on my lap and cried. “This is too hard, mama,” he said, sobbing. “I can’t do this.” But we stayed for the class, and by the end he was intrigued enough that he wanted to come back. So we did. And now here he was, taking his first test to receive his first belt.

But if I want to be honest with myself, he failed the test. He messed up his form and forgot one part completely. His master was standing right in front of him and helped him out quickly when he stumbled. He gave him an encouraging lecture about respecting his parents. And then he told him that he passed the test. Which he clearly hasn’t. Not really, not objectively.

The full story is on Motherlode

 Copyright 2014, The New York Times Company.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Michele says:

    ATA! Yes, the testing was kind of a joke but my kids had the perfect instructor. My boys are grown but Mr. J is still very much a part of our lives. If your son’s instructor values him like Mr. J valued my boys, you won’t regret hanging in there.

    1. zsmc says:

      Yep, our instructor is pretty great too and the older my son gets, the more he’ll get out of the experience. I think. I hope! Thanks for reading!

  2. You are an incredible writer, and I just got here 🙂 I think your son is very lucky to have you as his mother and will learn a great deal of valuable lessons in his life.

    1. zsmc says:

      Thank you so much! I am trying! 🙂

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