The Extra-Curricular Activity That's Perfect For Every Kid

Two completely different kids, one amazingly fun activity that's helping them both grow

I have two wonderful children. One is brave but tentative, with low self confidence in new situations and shyness when she is presented with challenges she feels unsure she’ll excel at. That doesn’t mean she won’t ever try. She always eventually does. But it’s often a challenge to get her to go outside her comfort zone.

My other child is brave and has zero fear. He will try anything no matter how daunting it might appear. He is a bundle of energy and confidence from the time his eyes open in the morning until he passes out at night. He does not stop moving, and is often too focused on what he is doing to pay attention to what he should be doing.

My children couldn’t be more different from one another but I have found the perfect extra-curricular for them both. One that will serve two entirely different purposes and needs of both my children and teach them skills that speak to their individual strengths.

I’ve heard that martial arts offer a great opportunity to learn respect, discipline and confidence. But witnessing a taekwondo class first hand made me feel bad that it took until my children were 7 and 5 to give them the chance to learn all of the lessons I saw being taught in the room the day we visited.

I don’t claim to be an expert in the long term benefits. Truth be told, we’re only two weeks in. But I can say I’m an expert in my children and can already see the incredible value martial arts will have for both of them, for entirely different reasons.

My tentative child is learning self-confidence. She’s being given the opportunity learn at her speed in a room filled with children doing exacly the same, all learning at their own pace. She is learning the value of even small achievements every step of the way. She is seeing the results of her commitment and effort to improving in reassuring words from her instructors and fellow classmates, in being singled out for her successes and being given a colourful piece of tape for her belt to acknowledge them.

My son is learning to sit still, be quiet and listen. He’s learning to harness his abundance of energy and use it and his confidence and direct it to mastering the moves that he is taught. He’s learning how, in so doing, he is able achieve success in both his martial arts skills and his ability to prove he can be calm when it is required and expected of him, and in class, it always is. His successes are more than just learning skills. He is rewarded for finding inner calm.

And both my kids are learning respect and to listen. Yes, I teach them that every single day as do their teachers. But respect and discipline are at the core of everything they do, right from the time they walk into the room at taekwondo. They end each class showing respect to the Canadian flag, they pledge to not be bullies and to not use the physical skills they learn to hurt anyone.

I love what they are learning. I love the lessons they are being taught, both physically and intellectually. Taekwondo is teaching my kids life skills that will translate into every aspect of their life and will teach them inner strength and consciousness that is invaluable. I had no idea until I sat and watched a class how much of a benefit it would have for both my children, who need it for two completely different reasons. 

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