By far and away, the most common question I get from parents who want to sign their children up for Tae Kwon-Do is: What happens if my child wants to quit?
I find it interesting that parents are more worried about their child quitting than anything else. Now, I understand that children aren’t experienced at seeing things through. They’re children after all, and part of growing up is learning to focus and finish a task, even when you have little interest in it. More importantly, though, is learning to follow through in the face of adversity. This, perhaps, is why I have such a strong response when parents ask the “quitting question.” I wonder what sort of message it sends to your child, about your child? Especially when sometimes the child is sitting right there while they’re asking me the question.
This doesn’t make you a bad parent. Every parent that sits down in front of me is wanting to do their best for their child. It’s partly why they’ve come to me. They know what’s best for their child but, like many, are looking for support to help them raise a remarkable person.
So, my response to their question is usually a simple one: “What happens if they want to quit math? Would you let them?”
This is usually met with, “Of course not!” or, sometimes, silence. They see the point that there are many things that children (and adults!) would prefer not to do but we still encourage (and mandate in some cases) that they do them successfully. This is because we know the consequences if they give up.
So, when a child expresses an interest in leaving Tae Kwon-Do, it’s natural to want to concede to them if you don’t consider the consequences. Yes, by allowing them to quit you may have purchased peace in your home, but it will be temporary. What’s more permanent will be the message being ingrained that when things get challenging it’s okay to give up.
I believe this contributes to a child growing up with a quitting mentality.
Tae Kwon-Do is the antidote to that mentality.
We teach people not to quit. We teach people how to become leaders and winners; not in the sense of winners and losers, but rather winners in life. To be someone who sets goals for themselves, and achieves them. Someone who gets into the school they want to attend, gets the job they want to master, marries the person they want to dedicate themselves to, etc.
Like anything worthwhile, these things take work. And we make that work fun and exciting. Tae Kwon-Do is a fun way to teach children the qualities that very often brings parents to the dojang in the first place: self-confidence, discipline, focus, etc.
We do it through our martial arts discipline, through our martial arts exercises. Train the body, and you train the mind. Train the mind, and you train the body. It works together harmoniously.
I tell parents that we don’t open the door to quitting. I am up front in the beginning, and I have said it in this blog numerous times: there will be at least four points throughout your training when you will want to quit.
It’s my job to push you that far. It’s my job to put obstacles in front of you that make you want to quit. Because it’s also my job to equip you with the physical and mental ability to overcome those obstacles and elevate yourself.
Those who allow me to teach them always overcome. They move on and become even stronger than they, or their parents, even hoped they could be.
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!