Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Potty Training as the First Step in the Thousand-Mile Journey

Tiny Texans is our entry-level class for students ages 3-6.

You read that right: 3 years old.

They are an eager, excited, and gut-busting, hilarious group. Honestly, at that age, it’s downright impossible to teach them true Taekwondo. And while I do teach these students a little kicking and punching (always emphasizing that they don’t kick and punch ANYONE ANYWHERE unless they’re in uniform at the Dojang with a paddle in front of them), I mostly focus on developing body awareness and listening skills, and improving balance, body coordination, and respect for others. The kids love it and we have a lot of fun together.

Their parents love the class, too – not only because I wear out their children (who after class are tired and don’t fuss so much when it’s time for bed), but also because I introduce and reinforce basic yet important rules to follow at home:

• Say “yes, ma’am” to Mommy and “yes, sir” to Daddy
• Brush your teeth when you’re told
• Don’t argue about taking baths
• Be nice to your baby sister and brother
• Never lie

From the wooden benches in our spectator section, toddlers of past and current Tiny Texans watch and eagerly wait for the day they’ll get the chance to get out on the mat and kick and punch. But just because they turn 3 doesn’t mean they automatically gain admission to Tiny Texans. They also know that before they can join my class, they must be able to:

1. Follow instructions
2. Pay attention during the entire class
3. Not pee on my mat

No. 3 is non-negotiable.

So I had to smile and chuckle this morning when I received the following email from an excited parent whose pistol of a child had a recent breakthrough:

“Guess who’s potty trained? That’s right! As soon as he got it 100%, he said, ‘Now I can do martial arts!’ He is 3 (years old) now, so can we try it out for September?”

God, I love my job….

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