Today, ‘A’ and Eli have Taekwondo testing. Eli will be going for his Green Belt and ‘A’ (or as I now call him, Big ‘A’) will be testing for his Camouflage Belt. This is fairly significant because after the last testing we were not sure if ‘A’ would be staying in Taekwondo.
We have always encouraged all of the kids to follow their passions. But, at the same time, we’ve encouraged them to try new things to figure out what those passions were. Our only requirement was that while they were doing it, they try as hard as they could and reached a certain goal (typically, finish the session period which can run anywhere from six to nine weeks).
The last testing, ‘A’ passed, but barely. He put no work into it, and despite the fact that we had one of the teachers come to our home and give private lessons to Eli, ‘A’ chose to opt out of those same lessons despite our encouragement to take them. We knew that this was a perfect opportunity to do an apples to apples “comparison” on fair treatment, hard work, and results. We gave both kids the exact same opportunity and allowed for them to make the exact same choices. One chose the path of taking the lessons while the other did not. After the testing there would be no, “I tried as hard as I could,” when we would be able to point to something VERY specific to show that, in fact, he didn’t.
The testing went like this: Eli was promoted as a “Decided” and ‘A’ was promoted as a “Recommended.” While I’m fairly certain that at the lower levels, people pass *almost* simply for showing up, those two words mean all the difference in the world. ALL. THE. DIFFERENCE.
‘A’ was crushed after he learned that he was not Decided. But, he also realized that it was *NOT* anyone else’ fault but his own. Only once did he say, “but I tried as hard as I could.” His first question to me after he got his result was, “Next time, can I have Mr. Omar teach me?”
He did not give up.
He did not choose to quit.
He did not call himself a failure and get down on himself.
For those of you that have met him personally, and for those of you who know us and have followed us as we’ve had to work with his struggles. For those who know him. You know this is BIG.
Since that day, he has worked hard and this week, he spent extra one on one time with the instructor. And he is going to pass to get his Camo Belt. He is going to pass with a Decided and he is going to realize the result of what it feels like to work for something and be rewarded.
The boy he was just a few months ago is not the boy he is today. Jessica and I couldn’t be more proud of him.