I’m a huge fan of failure. I am a firm believer that overcoming mistakes is absolutely crucial to any kind of lasting success. I’m not going to tell you that I look forward to failure. The experience sucks. But I’ve grown enough to recognize the potential that comes along with a failure experience.
My two oldest kids are involved in Tae Kwon Do. They have been at it for nearly four years now and are two tests away from a full black belt. My son is almost eleven and is the older of the two. But his sister, who is nearly nine, came into at the same time so they have progressed at the same rate throughout.
They are the highest belts in their class and, since my son is older, he is the lead belt. Things have gone very well over the years, but we didn’t participate in the last testing session. The kids just weren’t physically able to complete the board breaks required to pass the test so we opted out.
On the plus side, it gives them more time to practice before the next test. On the down side, they are in a bit of a holding pattern. They can’t move on to any new techniques until they pass the next test, so they just keep going over the old material as they keep working on the board breaks.
So my son has gotten frustrated. He’s bored and his attitude has started to deteriorate in the classes. After a rough class earlier this week, the instructor pulled him aside and basically demoted him. He called him out on his attitude and informed him that his little sister would be lead belt until further notice. He was going to have to earn it back.
He was pretty sullen on the way home. When we got in, I sat down with him and asked him how he was feeling. I expected him to break down. I figured he would be embarrassed about the reprimand and worried about letting us down.
His response? “I’m happy for (sister), she’s earned it.”
Today they had a good class. He worked hard and kept his attitude in check. It was a great learning opportunity for him and if he can learn those lessons at ten years old, his future is going to be very bright.