Over the weekend Harry and I went to watch some of his classmates test for their black belts in tae kwon do. I think I’ve learned more about learning and discipline and self-confidence in watching Harry’s tae kwon do class than in 12 plus four years of school. Who knew there could be such amazing benefits from doing the same thing over and over and over? Who knew that what feels like a treadmill is actually an entire landscape of progression? Part of the test involved writing (and reading in front of an audience) an essay about what you like about martial arts, what got you interested, what you don’t like about it and how you incorporate it into your every day life. At the end of each essay, the student thanked all those who supported them in their training: parents, friends, siblings and teachers.
It made me think that it would be a good idea to have a special ceremony for every big decision, commitment or project in your life. First you would skillfully demonstrate all that you have learned in making the decision, walking the audience through each stage of the process, and culminating in a miraculous trick, one you would never be asked to use every day, but something you could be confident was up your sleeve, like breaking two inch thick boards with your elbow, and two more with your foot. Finally you would stand up in front of your family and friends and tell them why you did what you did, what you’ve learned and whom you’d like to thank. And after everyone had finished applauding and wiping away tears, you would be presented with a medal or a trophy and photographed for your hometown newspaper.