As I have mentioned, my son often has issues with standing in front of a group or being the center of attention. We enrolled him in taekwondo to help him overcome his stage fright. He still gets nervous going into class most days, but he goes in and does great. Even when he has to stand in front of his class and show something he’s learned, he does perfectly fine. This past Saturday, however, was a whole new step and for a moment, I thought we might not make it.
He has been working hard and learning a great deal and he had earned all his white belt stripes; yay right?! Yes and no, because that meant that he was ready for testing to move up to a yellow belt, but was he really ready? I was afraid he was not emotionally ready to stand up in front of, not only his peers, but also his instructor, his peers’ family members, and a few students from other classes and go through his form. I was almost right.
When he walked in and realized how many people were there, he panicked. He immediately started crying and didn’t want to walk into the group. It broke my heart because I knew he could do the steps and that the physical aspect of this test was going to be a breeze for him, but the worry of getting in front of an audience, I feared, was too much. Thankfully, his instructor understands and is always willing to do what he needs, which oddly enough, is just physically placing him where he needs to be. His instructor came over and told him he was going to do great and just toted him to his place to stand with his peers. He immediately stopped crying and got in line like nothing was wrong. When the time came for him to test, his instructor got two of his peers to stand on either side of him so he wasn’t completely alone and he did great! I couldn’t have been more relieved and happy for him.
He is growing so much and I am very hopeful that he will overcome his lack of confidence and the worry that weighs on him about what other people think. I can say who cares what other people think until I am blue, but he does care and instead of trying to make him feel different, I am trying to show him that he is good enough even when he may think he isn’t. I have tried, and am still trying, to instill the idea that we aren’t always perfect and that is okay. Watching the testing was a great help to him because even one of the higher ranking kids paused for a bit because he forgot his steps, but he got himself together and completed his form. Grayson noticed and commented to me the next day about him and that he didn’t quit.
We learn more from our struggles than we do our successes. He is struggling now, but one day, he will look back on this and be so proud that he didn’t quit; that he persevered.