All For One and One For All

dancingalone

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We are nearing our inaugural belt examination after the beginning of the next year. In consultation with the other instructors, I am telling each student whether they are being invited to test or not at the event. If not, I'm giving them feedback on what needs improvement prior to the next opportunity.

We have elected to sit one boy for this time, but his mother and older brother who also train were given to the green light. After discussing the matter with Mom however, none of them will be testing this time. Why? She didn't want the little one to feel left out or embarrassed, and she is more than willing for the entire family to wait until next time to test.

I think she has her heart in the right place, but I do wonder if she is doing the right thing by the older boy though who I know is very excited about the chance to promote. In the end, it is her sons and thus her decision to make. I do not question that.

As a general discussion topic however, what do you all think? Keep in mind we are considered a Christian TKD program where spiritual lessons learned and taught should be as important as the physical ones.
 

Miles

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As someone who has trained families, I have seen this happen over and over again.

I applaud the mother who is going to (hopefully) promote along with her kids. She is essentially telling the sons that the journey, not the belt, is the important thing and she is okay with waiting along the road until the entire family has caught up. This is important for the one who is not ready to test too-it tells him that he has the support of his family and that he better get to work. It is likewise important for the son who otherwise is eligible to test because in the future , he might be the one holding the family up from testing.

I like the way you have the testing structured-it is an invitation, not a demand. I have a few students who have gone very long periods without testing. It is their choice.
 

jthomas1600

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Not being close to the situation it's really hard to make a judgment call, but I fear she could be doing both boys a disservice. I've always felt it was an important lesson for kids to learn that you're not always ready when you want to be ready or that you don't always get things according to your schedule. In our school we have regular testing times and you're either ready or your not. My daughter was ready on time each time for her first couple of tests and I thought it was good the first one she missed. In our case, it communicated to her that it was more than just putting your time in and then going through the routine when testing day came. I also have a daughter who only goes part time due to a soccer commitment, a son who missed time due to an injury, and I work out of the country. So we have four family members involved and we are all at different belt levels. It has been a good lesson in humility for me to be at a lower belt level than my 11 year daughter, but I guess that's a whole nother topic.
 

ATC

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Well again I can only tell you what we do. Each school will be different and have their own procedures for their own reason.

When it is time to test it is time to test. If one sibling is not ready and the others are well then that one does not test and the others do. This does two things that I have seen. It makes the one that did not test sad at first (even mad) but after some time it seems to motivate the one that did not test as well as the ones that did test. The one that did not test tries harder and now understands that he or she needs to work to keep up if he or she wants to stay at the same level as big or little bro or sis. The one that tested feel a sense of pride and accomplishment and see a clear difference in him or herself vs. their family member and in wanting to keep that difference also tries harder.

It build a healthy competition where all can benefit if handled correctly. As an instructor you now have positives that you can use to help each person grow.

You now can teach the one that tested that he or she now has a greater responsibility to teach or help the one that did not. This is a life lesson in that the student should not look at this as a I am better than you situation but a how can I help you become better also.

You are also teaching the one that did not test that there are things that they can learn from the one that did test, and that we are not all the same but with hard work and help from others they too can reach the same level of expectation.

On the other hand if you do what the Mom just allowed you also teach but in my opinion a more negative lesson. You teach the ones that worked hard that the effort was for not as they got nothing for it. You also teach the ones that are not ready that they can continue to just be soso, and that they are entitled to the same perks as the hard workers as they won't see any difference in the level of effort put out to advance in anything. They also will not learn the value of working hard as they only see that it does not matter how hard you work you still get the same rewards.

Lots of life lessons missed by doing what was done, and lots of bad habits being grown at the same time.

Again this is only my opinion.

I see these things everyday in our dojang and have learned a lot from just watching and seeing the results of each.

Competition is not a bad thing, and someone has to lose and someone has to win. It is the lessons in the winning and losing that mean anything.

But it is up to you the instructor to make sure the lessons are learned.
 

StudentCarl

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I certainly understand the parent's reasoning, and Master Miles explains it well.

Personally, I think each person should test when they are ready. If you are giving two the green light, then they are ready to learn more/new material. For one not to test is not a negative and should not be cast that way--he's just not ready yet. We all grow at different rates, so it's artificial to say we should all be on the same schedule. I suspect that the young son can understand that if it's explained and taught right. But again, it's up to the parent which lesson they wish to emphasize.
 

Gorilla

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Each Parent has the right to make decisions like this and I respect what she did.

I however agree with ATC it is not the decision that I would have made.
 

Carol

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How old are the kids?
 

seasoned

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We are nearing our inaugural belt examination after the beginning of the next year. In consultation with the other instructors, I am telling each student whether they are being invited to test or not at the event. If not, I'm giving them feedback on what needs improvement prior to the next opportunity.

We have elected to sit one boy for this time, but his mother and older brother who also train were given to the green light. After discussing the matter with Mom however, none of them will be testing this time. Why? She didn't want the little one to feel left out or embarrassed, and she is more than willing for the entire family to wait until next time to test.

I think she has her heart in the right place, but I do wonder if she is doing the right thing by the older boy though who I know is very excited about the chance to promote. In the end, it is her sons and thus her decision to make. I do not question that.

As a general discussion topic however, what do you all think? Keep in mind we are considered a Christian TKD program where spiritual lessons learned and taught should be as important as the physical ones.
I feel that her decision is correct for her and her boys. I will assume that she has prayed on this, and in the end this is what is wanted for that family unit.
 

dortiz

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And thus the huge flaw in the testing for rank system which was totally designed from a scholastic interpertation.
Prior to that you learned a system and some then were given the right to teach it, period. Kano added the belts as Judo went to schools to use a similar grading based on achievment.
Therfore is the person there or are they not. In my opinion the testing is now clouding the training and the result for all parties.

I also think she made a bad decision. the first rule my Ma taught me was life is not fair. Also as ATC commented its good to want to push harder. Either kid 1 did not work hard enough and kid 2 suffers or kid 1 is just not ready regardless and kid 2 still suffers. Either way the lesson should either and or both be, try harder or excell at your own pace when you are trying your best.
 
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Cirdan

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People test when the instructor says they are ready. Even younger kids should learn that students progress at different rates. IMHO timing gradings so that everybody can feel equal and good about themselves is complete bs. If there are potential problems, deal with it in class and explain why some are ready and what those that need more training need to focus on. Get it out in the open and don`t suger coat it. Recognizing real progress is effective in preventing belt worship and envy.
 

chrispillertkd

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We are nearing our inaugural belt examination after the beginning of the next year. In consultation with the other instructors, I am telling each student whether they are being invited to test or not at the event. If not, I'm giving them feedback on what needs improvement prior to the next opportunity.

We have elected to sit one boy for this time, but his mother and older brother who also train were given to the green light. After discussing the matter with Mom however, none of them will be testing this time. Why? She didn't want the little one to feel left out or embarrassed, and she is more than willing for the entire family to wait until next time to test.

I think she has her heart in the right place, but I do wonder if she is doing the right thing by the older boy though who I know is very excited about the chance to promote. In the end, it is her sons and thus her decision to make. I do not question that.

As a general discussion topic however, what do you all think? Keep in mind we are considered a Christian TKD program where spiritual lessons learned and taught should be as important as the physical ones.

One of the spiritual lessons people should learn is that you don't always get what you want when you want it. In other words, if the older boy deserves to test he should be allowed to test, even if his younger brother isn't ready.

The mother is well meaning, no doubt, so I hope she has at least discussed it with her older son and he is on board with waiting for his younger brother. If not there could be some issues later. (I think the mother should have the final say on if the boys don't test, of course, but it might be something she'd want to think about more.)

One thing to perhaps bring up is the possibility of the mother not testing if she thinks that would make her younger son not feel like he's being left behind but allowing ehr older son to to test so he isn't being held back through no fault of his own.

Pax,

Chris
 

Carol

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It may also be that what is motivating the mother to train at the church is an activity that the family can do together, that transcends their different ages and abilities. Belt promotions typically represent students going off to learn new material, that may not be what is motivating her to bring the family to train. IMO keeping the family at the same rank is not the end of the world, given the specific dynamics of the Christian program.
 

dortiz

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Carol, I hear you but honestly from going down this road with my kids feel that they need to break off at their pace as well. I went back to white belt to start with my son, in my case I actually had to miss a test for work. We still loved going to class and still worked on what was the same but each went at the pace that fitted us. The funny part is I later doubled but he did not care since at this point his mission was his and yet we still drove there together, trained together and enjoyed the time.
If thats her number one priority I fear its at her childrens expense.
 

texkwondo

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Do you guys have to make a Christian version of everything?

But yea, this might create animosity between the children when the other kids think the younger one is holding them back. This is counterproductive to the mother's goals of keeping the family closer. This will only make them grow apart.
 

rlobrecht

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My son (now 10 yo) and I train together. We have come close to this situation a couple of times, and each time I chose to wait with my son. The first time our Sabumnim tried to talk me out of it, but the second he did not.

In this situation, i think I would let the older boy test, and wait to test with the younger son.

Rick
 

jthomas1600

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Given the ages of the boys I feel more strongly now that she could be doing both a disservice. Of course we don't know all that is/has happened in the home or anything about extenuating circumstances.

Let me ask you a question. The way you approach martial arts and teaching is it reasonable to think the younger boy will always be able to keep up? Or might this be an ongoing issue and the older boy gets frustrated real soon?
 

Carol

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Carol, I hear you but honestly from going down this road with my kids feel that they need to break off at their pace as well. I went back to white belt to start with my son, in my case I actually had to miss a test for work. We still loved going to class and still worked on what was the same but each went at the pace that fitted us. The funny part is I later doubled but he did not care since at this point his mission was his and yet we still drove there together, trained together and enjoyed the time.
If thats her number one priority I fear its at her childrens expense.

I hear what you're saying too, and I'll defer to your experience as a parent, esp as I am not one. :) What makes me pause is that this is a church/ministry program, and the purpose of many such programs is to bring people together as a family doing activities together as a family. If this were DancingAlone's own dojang where he teaches his regular classes, I think it would be silly to hold the older boy back.
 
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