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There goes the fear

12/14/2009

Because it’s Monday, because it’s nearly Christmas and because I can do what I damned well want, I fancy a slight change from the norm today and want to tell you about my family.

I don’t normally write about my family because,

a) I’m sure you don’t come here to read about them, and

b) I’m not a mommy blogger (and Christ know the last thing the world needs is another one of those)

In fact I’m not even entirely sure I qualify as a blogger, although I do blog, but then I cook but that doesn’t make me a chef. Anyway, I digress…………

I got a call on Friday afternoon telling me my daughter was sick and she needed to be picked up from school. In itself this is highly unusual and in fact this is the first time in her seven and a half years she has missed a single hour of school. She had a headache and a tummy upset and to quote, had turned a “whiter shade of pale”.

On a Friday night, both of my kids practice Taekwondo, they train twice a week and then grade on a regular basis. The next grading was the following day. Because my daughter was ill, we agreed that she didn’t have to go training, but that we would see how she was in the morning for the grading.

That evening went well, she rested, ate like a horse and then slept soundly through the night. In the morning she came downstairs and the look on her face told me something was up. “How are you I asked?” she just cuddled me. “Did you sleep well?” she held me tighter. “I don’t feel very well” she replied, “my tummy hurts and I couldn’t sleep because of the grading”. Now I’m no Doctor, but I was ready to practice a little home diagnosis….

I sat her down and we went through the questions that she was likely to be asked (they need to be familiar with Korean which for a 7-year-old is kinda tough). We went through her pattern and stances. We talked about the sparring. All of it was perfect. She could do it without question. Except there was a question. A big elephant of a question. The question was inside her head.

I guess, normally in a scenario like this, you’d have time to coach, to influence, to build confidence. But there wasn’t time. There wasn’t breathing space. So I told her she had to go and there was to be no discussion. She knew what she needed to do; she was able to do everything that she needed to do. All that was lacking was confidence. I told her the fear wasn’t real, that it was all in her head, that she had the power to control it.

I’m ashamed to say that she went to the grading in tears. Every part of me was screaming to pick her up, to hug her and tell her that she didn’t need to go. To protect her and make her never worry about anything every again. But I didn’t. And she went. And I felt bad. Really bad.

So what happened? She passed her grading and got her new belt. Her instructor praised the brave ones that had overcome their fears. She even managed to smile at one point. Later I asked her how it had been. She told me one of the other girls, a black belt at 14, had come to talk to her and told her that she was nervous too. And that had kind of helped. I pointed out that in three years she would also be a black belt if she carried on and then maybe she would find a little girl who needed a helping hand. She thought for a minute and then a broad smile broke out across her face.

And at that moment I knew I had done the right thing.  Because fears? We all have them. We all need to face them. But sometimes we just need a helping hand…….even if it’s not as gentle as we would have liked that hand to have been.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 12/14/2009 17:13

    I’m sure you don’t come here to read about them

    I come here because I am a fan of good writing. I will read about almost any subject if the writing is good. I’m not even in the corporate world any more and, barring disaster, probably won’t be, but I like how you write. So unless you start writing exclusively about soccer and I might even make an exception for that, I will continue to read what you have to say.

    And yes — it is your job as a dad* to push your kids pat their fears. Well done.

    * Now I am thinking, He said, “mommy blogger.” But I thought he was a guy. He is a guy, isn’t he? Maybe he’s not. Oh crap have I got this all wrong? If I have, please forgive my faux pas.

  2. 12/15/2009 10:19

    @class factotum – Thanks for your kind comments. And don’t worry I have no plans to introduce sport into the equation! But yes, I am of the male variety….mommy blogger was just a turn of phrase!

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