As a parent, you are supposed to be the teacher. The one who guides. shows wisdom and inspires. But this weekend, the tables were turned for me.
My oldest old hated sport! He hated football, really hated rugby, and we came to the conclusion that sport was just ‘not his thing’. He is super smart at Maths (no idea where he gets that from but it’s not me!), loves history, being outdoors, loves to read, play his computer, build Lego…and not forgetting Star Wars, and we figured that sport was simply not for him. That he would do what he had to at school, but that would be about it. And then, we took him to a Karate class.
Two of his school friends had started and so he agreed to give it go. That first class was the start of something I never could have imagined. 4 years later, Dalton passed his Black belt grading this weekend at the age of just 9.
On Saturday, he undertook a 2 hour long test. We were not allowed to watch most of it but were permitted in to watch the last few minutes and when I entered the room- already feeling sick with nerves for him, I saw my son, white as sheet, blotchy red in places and very sweaty! I knew straight he was he was exhausted, and my maternal instinct to go and scoop him up, and throw a pint of water and some pasta down him kicked into high gear immediately.
He was presented with a board and asked to break it with a spinning back kick of his foot. Shattered, and with his coordination and balance clearly having also taken a hit from the effort already exuded, he tried, again and again, to hit the board with enough power for it to break, only for it not to. But you know what, he kept on trying. Every time he hit that board and it didn’t break put an extra bit of fight in him until sure enough, he broke it in two.
This post is not about my son and how proud of him I am – albeit, I won’t deny, I am fit to burst. But his achievement on Saturday and his Karate journey has taught me as a parent so much.
Number 1 – Don’t write them off! We just hadn’t found the right thing – our belief that sport was not for him was based on the odd game played at school and a couple of weekend clubs. He still hates football and rugby but Karate means so much to him.
Number 2 – Keep on fighting – with enough determination and spirit - you will break that board.
And perhaps the biggest one for me - respect. I have always thought that this is earned and not given, but Dalton’s Karate journey has taught me this is indeed true. Starting out as a 5 year old treating Karate as a hobby, Dalton now has the respect of his peers, Seniors and Instructors, many of whom are adults who have many years of experience and exceptionally high gradings.
They no longer see him as a child playing a game, but as someone who has put in the dedication, hard work and commitment required to secure such an achievement. He has learnt to respect others and in turn has earned their respect back.
From here on in, it just gets harder.
His journey has only just started and two progress Dalton will need to maintain the commitment he has shown to this point and not falter in his dedication to his sport. And who knows what the future may hold and whether he will go on and achieve 2nd or 3rd Dan. But his achievements to date can never be taken away from him. And neither can the things that both he, and I have learnt as a result of this amazing journey he has taken us on.