Parent: “Hi, I want my child to do Muay Thai.”
Me: “Hello, thats great, thanks for coming our way we’d be happy to help. Can I ask why you chose Muay Thai or Martial Art for your child to get involved with?”
Parent: “My child needs discipline. He/She is too loose and needs some toughness. So pls be tough on my child.”
Me: “Ok. I think you may have come to the wrong place. Toughness is not an approach that I take. In fact I find it to be on the whole quite detrimental to a childs development, from a scheduling perspective.”
Parent: “Is that so? What do you mean?”
Me: “Your child is here, 2-3x/week. Martial Art, or in this case Muay Thai is an extra curricular activity. Most of their time is spent at school, fulfilling those obligations, and being at home. As a teacher, I have to ask myself, ‘what is the best thing I can give the kids, given their lives, and the time that I have them?’ So from that perspective the hard skills are obvious and don’t require much thought: Physical Fitness, and Technical ability. But the child doesn’t care about that, do they? That is what we, the adults want for them. So therefore Physical Fitness and Self Defense is not my focus. My focus, is teaching in such a way where the child cares about physicality and technicality. If I can get them to care about that, they will do it on their own volition.
The key, is care. Though children are young, they are still human and therefore aware. We as humans tend to only care, when we know we are cared for first. You know that saying? “People care about what you know only when they know you care about them first?”
Parent: Yes, I do…
Me: I bet you experience that at work. Ever had a boss/colleague who only interacted with you insofar as their interests/initiatives are concerned?
Parent: Absolutely (Depressing tone).
Me: Lemme guess, it does more to demotivate than to activate you right?
Parent: <nods in definite confirmation>
Me: The dynamic is the same with children. I don’t get tough with my kids, I actually get loose with them. Because thats what they need. They have teachers evaluating them, grades that score them, teams to try out for, and social circles judging them. All in a school day. And unfortunately they do not possess the communication ability to articulate their thoughts and feelings to us adults. We are responsible for our kids lives, and this is obvious. What is often misunderstood that in trusting us to care for their lives that it is also our duty to manage it accordingly: Their thoughts, feelings, and accomplishments.
Put simply, in order for me to get through to their child I simply have to project myself into what they are going through in life. I find that when I do that, taking a tough approach tends to break them more than it builds them.
A stronger means of motivation to train hard is happiness. Thats what I use. You ever seen a child get bored of video games? have you ever needed to yell at them to play for hours? Absolutely not. Why? because your child is engaged, interested and having fun. Thats why. And theres not reason why training can’t be the same way.
Theres a time for toughness, and a time for softness is my point. Toughness is simply one tool in the box to get your child to develop.
And I think you’d agree that development, not toughness is the goal yes?
Me: Yes. Absolutely.
Me: I’ll see you in class this week, let’s chat later :)