By now you realize that TaeKwonDo is more than a sport… It's a way of discipline, exercise, self-defense, and so much more. It aides greatly in building self-confidence, respect, integrity, courage, and "hard work". These qualities are, like basic education, worth a lifetime commitment.
So how do we help our children stay enthusiastic and committed to becoming the best they can be, in a society that tends to desire intant gratification and rewards for little effort and allows children to quit activities way too easily?
The best way to influence children is, of course, by example… Become a TaeKwonDo student yourself! Regardless, it's your attitude to which they will respond to the surest. Be positive and committed to their TaeKwonDo training yourself. Treat TKD classes and home-workouts just as the way you do them going to school and them doing their homework… simply as a natural & important part of life, where you help, support, and praise them along the way. Please do not use negative motivation or threats like "If you dont go to TaeKwonDo today then you will not be aloud to play with your friends tomorrow" or even "If you do not do better in school you will have to stop TaeKwonDo!" Instead use TaeKwonDo as a way to help children learn and practice the life skills that will assist them to do better in school and their other activities. Also please avoid allowing your children to play video games or watch TV right before they go to TKD class as these types of mindless activities are hard to compete with for your childs attention. Instead have them do their homework before TKD, and if they are going to play video games, then allow them to do so after class.
Usually if parents just assume children want to go to school or taekwondo lessons, even on "bad" days, they will find that their children find strong comfort in the habit of "commitment" because it doesn't require a new decision every day. (we do not ask every morning if they want to go to school or not!) Not offering our children a way out is sometimes the greatest habit for success we can teach them.
However, it is important to not overdo or push too hard. Make sure your goals are child-center…truly in your children's best interest & trust their TaeKwonDo instructors. It is wise to stay in touch and even ask if there is someway you can improve your "taekwondo parenting skills". Obviously getting your children to lessons and special events on time and in the least rushed manner possible is a great asset. Work, dinner preparations, laundry, cleaning, homework… an endless list of demands on our time around TKD class time is typical. Children often pair up feelings unknowingly, so the negative feelings caused by the stress of being rushed and the potential of being late can make attending classes seem unpleasant. Allow your children to take some responsibility for helping you prepare to get to events and lessons on time. They can make sure all their gear is ready, offer you help, even load up the car! This should be a fun part, not a drag!!!
There will be times that your children will "burn down" in enthusiasm, so how do you prevent them from "burning out?" The person pictured below has been a student in martial arts for more than 80% of his life. At those few "down" times, he attended one class a week or missed no more than one week entirely: that was his parents strict requirement. Tournaments & Testings were always attended without parental pressure…his pride in "doing". He's never been allowed to overtrain, and he's been aided in participating in other sports and activities 1 at a time in addittion to his martial arts training...such as soccer, baseball, basketball, Boy Scouts, Camp Fire & church activities. His TaeKwonDo instructor has always been very supportive. His parents have considered this training a part of their responsibility providing him with the skills necessary for adulthood. When he made 4th° black belt as a young adult, his words to his father were "thank you for never letting me quit"! When we show maturity of thought for the future of our children, the rewards will make all sacrifices worthwhile!