In recent weeks, I have seen the eyes of many of my students go from bright and alert, to distant and confused.
I can see it on screen while they’re training virtually. One day, they’re present and trying their hardest. Then, all of a sudden, they’re anywhere else. I believe the reason is that during the extended quarantine there has been very little structure to their days, their routines have been upended. It’s hard for them to know what they should expect day to day.
In the beginning weeks of the quarantine, they embraced online training because it seemed “cool” or “different.” They were under the impression that they would be able to return to school, and to their lives as they knew them, relatively soon.
To be honest, I think we all did.
But, not far into the shutdown they were informed that they wouldn’t be returning to their routines this school year. And in turn, their structure dissolved, and that’s when I saw them starting to get depressed.
Let’s say that everything goes as planned, phase four comes in, and everything opens back up during the summer.
In my experience, summer in and of itself, quarantine or not, has always brought about a lack of structure. I have always told my students to have their parents get them books to work through each day throughout the summer. I also encourage them to practice Tae Kwon-Do every day, even for just a little while.
Naturally, they hate that idea. I firmly believe though that doing so helps them for all of the reasons Tae Kwon-Do helps students who come here to learn discipline.
Tae Kwon-Do is an extremely structured art form. It is almost militaristic in that regard, for lack of a better term. I have seen even the most troubled and problematic children fall in line through Tae Kwon-Do training. In school, they’re used to getting praise for being a class clown and calling attention to themselves. But, at our dojang, they’re being praised for doing the right thing, setting goals and achieving them, doing their homework, etc.
The things that Tae Kwon-Do demands of its students are what brings the structure to their lives that even though they might not think they want it, is so crucial to their development. And, they love it!
When a student gets a new patch for achieving something and they get to sew that onto their uniform, they are proud of the structure, discipline, and hard work that patch symbolizes.
When you set up parameters, boundaries, and deadlines for kids, you’re helping them feel secure in what they need to do. They’re not just running around aimlessly. You’re teaching them to complete a cycle of something, or to achieve a goal once they have begun. And that gives them feelings of satisfaction, importance, and self-worth.
I believe that the negative effects of all of this uncertainty are going to reach far beyond what doctors and politicians realized when they first imposed this quarantine.
So, the more structure that we can provide them now by holding consistent classes, delivering on the things that they count on (and frankly, that they deserve), and continuing to set them up for successes will do wonders to mitigate these negative effects.
Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, register online or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!f