Monday, June 8, 2009

My Teen, The Ninja

It’s official: My teenager can now kick my butt. (And it seems like just yesterday that I was swatting and swaddling hers.)

On Saturday, my 15 1/2-year-old daughter earned her Black Belt in Taekwondo. What a relief! I will no longer have to worry about her dating or meeting up with the wrong kind of guys. This girl is now fully capable of protecting herself. Believe me, I saw her free-sparring and I feel sorry for anyone who gets in her way!

After the Black-Belt ceremony, I asked her how she felt about this tremendous accomplishment. “I feel empowered,” she replied. Feeling empowered is a marvelous way for any young woman to start her life’s journey, don’t you think? The way that I see it, she is way ahead of the game. It takes some women all their lives to feel that kind of inner strength. And she already does at 15.

I am over-the-top proud of her!

This ceremony marked a real turning point for my teen, the ninja. She had been taking Taekwondo for more than two years, earning a rainbow of belts along the way, always with her eye on the top prize: Her first-degree Black Belt. About midway through her journey to black, somewhere around the Purple-Belt stage, she wanted to quit. She had lost her motivation and said it just wasn’t fun anymore.

I did the mom thing, and talked her into persevering and seeing this pursuit through to the end. I told her that when they tie that black belt around her, she is going to be so incredibly proud of herself. She will have climbed a mountain and will be standing in a spot that not too many people can stand in.

Besides, I told her, it will look great on the college application.

As mothers, we teach our children so much. But there’s bound to be gaps in their education since we’re still learning valuable life lessons ourselves. Disciplined sports, such as Taekwondo, can help fill in those spaces that we aren’t always able to reach, as well as reinforce the lessons we’ve already taught them.

To be honest, I encouraged my teenager to pursue Taekwondo so that she would be able to defend herself someday if she ever had to. Something I believe all women should be able to do. But in the process, she became a disciplined, confident, strong and respectful young woman.

Again . . . I am SO proud of her!

The Black Belt Creed:

As a dedicated student of Taekwondo, I shall live by the principles of the Black Belt Creed:

* Courtesy
* Modesty
* Integrity
* Perseverance
* Self-Control
* Indomitable Spirit

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