I had a mom recently say, “We know you want dedicated students and we just don’t think he is dedicated, so we are not going to renew his program.” I had a dad last year tell me the same thing.
I have to be honest with you; I really don’t care if your kid is all that dedicated. You and I know that he is going to change his mind the minute that class starts and he is going to love it just like he did yesterday. You and I know that on their next belt graduation they’re going to be super excited all over again. You and I know that when they get their Black Belt it will be worth every ounce of struggle. It’s simple, everyone, adults and kids, dread working out, but no one regrets it afterwards. The pain of discipline weighs ounces, but the pain of regret weighs tons. The biggest benefits in our life come from the things we find the greatest challenge in.
At home he may whine and complain about coming to class because you are dragging him away from doing something fun or easier, like playing video games. Make sure he is doing some chores before class and the struggle will lessen. Look, we are not here to entertain your kid, that’s Chuck E Cheese. You enrolled here in this ‘academy’ for us to accomplish certain goals for you or for your child, to solve certain problems or to help with a certain path. I can still accomplish those goals if he is here, but not if you don’t bring him. Is he going to have fun once he’s here? Sure, we go through intense training on how to keep the kids having fun and to disguise the repetition, but repetition is still required and even fun things are boring if you do them enough. Riding a roller coaster is fun, but doing so 1000 times in a row will get old sooner or later.
The problem is that somewhere along the way he got the crazy idea that he has a choice about attending. Perhaps you gave him that impression. Then the problem isn’t him, it’s you. Does he get a choice about eating vegetables? How about brushing his teeth? Can he choose to not study, or go to school? Can he pick his own bedtime? When our kids were born we were immediately and automatically given the immense responsibility to be great role models, and to make the right decisions for them when they couldn’t or wouldn’t make the right one themselves. Many times we have to do so in spite of what the children really want. You enrolled him with us because this is good for him. By all means, let him quit things that are just entertaining, but why in the world would you let him quit things that you know are beneficial for him?
His dedication is going to feed off of yours. There are parents who train in class as students, you’ve seen them. They are guaranteeing their child will make Black Belt. There are parents who watch class and support their child by being in our lobby, showing interest in their child. They have a great chance to see their child make Black Belt. There are parents who drop them off and go to do “who knows what.” They are pretty much guaranteeing their child will want to quit. If you complain about the drive, the cost, waiting for him in class, etc, he is going to want to please you and try to get you to let him quit. You spent all that time and money only to sabotage us, yourself and your child. We see it all the time.
I even overheard one teenage girl tell her dad, “Papa, it costs too much, I don’t want you to pay that much.”
Her dad replied, “Honey, I’ve got the money, it’s just a few dollars per week, and you are worth much, much more than that to me.” Our kids want to please us. Give them the chance by supporting their growth and being strong when they can’t be.
Yes, we love dedicated students, but the fact of the matter is that all students are going to run hot and cold at times in their training. Even our top Black Belts contemplated quitting at one point or another. If you ask them what got them re-engaged, they will undoubtedly give credit to their parents. Be dedicated for your child.