By Stephanie Gilman, published Apr 23, 2007
When my son was five, he was diagnosed with a host of disorders, the most upsetting being ADHD. His teacher informed me that he would not be able to function in a normal classroom without medication. His doctor thought that stimulants would be best. As his mother, I strongly disagreed. I felt that a five year old was supposed to be somewhat hyper by nature and that I would be much more worried if he could pay attention for long periods of time at his age. I decided to take matters into my own hands and I enrolled him in a Tae Kwon Do program.
My first call to the Tae Kwon Do school was very reassuring. I told the headmaster my predicament and he told me that he had many students just like my son. He told me that he had been an English teacher for many years and had only recently retired. He suggested that maybe my son was actually (gasp!!) a very normal, but active five year old boy. He explained the principles of martial arts to me as I had no prior knowledge of such things. I was extremely impressed with his philosophies and enrolled my son immediately.
At our first class, my son was quite nervous. The head master was not a scary, hardcore martial arts guy like I was picturing. Instead, he was a graceful, gray-haired man with an infectious smile. He exuded a positive energy. My son willingly followed him into the dojang. He showed my son how to tie his belt and explained what was expected of him. He said that my son would be expected to do his best, no matter what his best may be. This point was especially driven home by a student in the room who was sitting in a wheelchair. He couldn’t leave his chair when he started, but by the time he had acheived his rank of blue belt, he could stand for short periods of time, and even take a few steps. Rudeness and disrespect would not be tolerated at the Tae Kwon Do school.. After that first class, my son was very excited about Tae Kwon Do, but was somewhat discouraged that he wasn’t able to perform to the level of some of the veteran students. To my amazement, instead of being overcome with frustration, he decided to stick with Tae Kwon Do, and over the course of the next five years, would actually remind me to take him to class.
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