This Saturday, my kiddo tests for his black belt at the Austin Kung Fu Academy. Just two weeks ago he moved up to the 10-14 year-old class, even though he is just 9, and it has been going well, but it hadn’t occurred to us that he would be tested at that level. So he has had a lot to learn in a just a couple of weeks. That means practicing every day.
So, of course, I’ve been fretting. Until, that is, I got home from running an errand, and found that he had been practicing steadily for a full hour! Granted, some of it was probably trying to get out of doing his chores (too bad, he still had to do them). But most of his motivation is to not only pass the test, but to exceed his and his teachers’ expectations. This the kind of motivation that will carry him far in life.
Where does this motivation come from? Some is natural. Some is the positive feedback he receives from family and friends, but a large part is thanks to his mentors at the Kung Fu Academy, especially in his day to day instructor, Rick. (Who really does rock. Read this Statesman article by Andrea Ball for proof.)
As he’s been preparing for the big day, he has been getting sage guidance from Rick. My favorite piece of advice? To remember that achieving his black belt is not the end, but the beginning, and he should not take his natural talents or black belt for granted. Ever. The practitioners who go from good to great practice and learn every day. Even his hero Jackie Chan.
This is something we should all consider. Ultimately, when we finish something (whether it’s getting that black belt, writing that short story, or losing weight) it can lead to another beginning, if we choose.
At the Ronald McDonald House, when a family is checking out and looking forward to getting home, it may mean the end of treatment, but also means the beginning of a healthy family life. Imagine, having a premature child to care for – like Lexie. After weeks at the hospital, your darling baby has reached goals like the desired weight and healthy lungs. When you get home, you finally settle into the life you had imagined before your baby was born. It’s a beginning you will never take for granted.
It is our privilege to help these families with the beginning of their children’s lives and help ease the way to the beginning of the next chapters.
p.s. I am learning to let go and not worry about perfection, so please forgive any typos and grammar mistakes! 😉