Mae tested for her first belt in Tae Kwon Do this week. She was so proud of herself for passing. I am too.
It was a bit scary to watch. The instructors are hard on the kids. As the students sat waiting for the testing to begin, the Master Teacher called out some students by name to ask where were their parents. One little girl, maybe six years old, said, “I think my mom and dad forgot or maybe they’re at work.” Why make children answer for their parents? The kids had probably already noticed that their parents were missing from the audience and felt some kind of way about it.
Then, one little boy didn’t break a board with his foot after a few tries. Master.Teacher.was.not.happy. He told the kid to get serious and take the smile off of his face. The smile was probably more from nerves than playfulness. The boy still didn’t break the board after a few more tries. Master Teacher told him he’d failed the test, made him do 50 push ups, and sent him to the side! The boy started to cry. Master Teacher asked him his age, and he said six. Master Teacher told him that he’s not a baby anymore. What does a six-year-old do when he’s told to stop crying? Cry some more. At the end, the little guy was given another chance and he chopped the board and earned his belt and got a mini-lecture from Master Teacher.
An older kid was not so lucky and he failed his test, even after Master Teacher gave him a final try at the end. As a teenager, he cried as hard as the six-year-old. I can imagine that if my child had failed, we probably would have needed a straight jacket and a stretcher.
I didn’t grow up in a sports or martial arts family, nor a Tiger Mom or military family or any of the environments where discipline and competition thicken the skin. I’m learning that that makes me quite a wuss when it comes to watching my kids participate in activities that involve physical contact and competition. Tonight, when I picked up Mae, there were kids sparring and – my goodness! – they were kicking and hitting each other HARD. I thought they were supposed to just sort of simulate martial arts.
Soccer season has ended and that wasn’t so bad because at the kindergarten level, the emphasis was on having fun and learning the rules and skills of the game. Jay really enjoyed himself.
Mae is lukewarm about fencing and doesn’t want to continue beyond this beginner’s class. (I’m somewhat relieved because I lost interest in it after the first lesson I watched.) She says she wants to do more Tae Kwon Do instead. I’ll have to work on my ability to watch without wincing and learn how to handle failing or losing, if it comes to that.
Hubby, of course, is like, “ah, no big deal. It’s life.” Except, he quickly backtracked this week on canceling our Netflix subscription. Mae and Jay are hooked on the service for their favorite TV shows. When Hubby told me last night that he’d canceled, I said, “I don’t want to be in the house when you tell the kids.” This morning, he told me that he re-activated the service after I went to bed. We both laughed. So, he’s not so tough all the time either.