It’s Tiny Tiger testing, or whatever you call it–advancement, graduation, rank promotion. This one little 4-year-old boy is slightly distracted by all the activity, and just stands there, still. He’s been an average student, never really disruptive, but also never super enthusiastic either. But he’s been in class twice a week and has been doing his punching and kicking.
Now, unexpectedly, while all the other TIGERS are kicking and blocking and answering, he has shut down and stands still. His mother, in all innocence, sees his plight and begins a few encouraging gestures. He still does not move. His mother continues her efforts, at this point actually speaking to him since she is just a few feet away. He still does not move. One more word of encouragement from Mom and then it happens. The tiger looks at her, and in the most rude manner, speaks out, “Shut up!” Everyone, including you and his Mom, hears it.
Let’s look at another example, similar situation. It’s graduation and one of your tigers just stands there or just sits there. Regardless of your best efforts and the best efforts of your assistants, you cannot get this student to do anything, and of course, during class he usually did all of the punches and kicks. Now, for some unknown reason, he has shut down and simply does nothing while everyone else has been punching, kicking, blocking, and answering.
Now it is time to pass out belts. What do you do? Does this child get his belt along with all the other kids who actually followed directions, did punches, kicks, and blocks, went through a form or combination independently OR led by an instructor? Does this child—age 3 or 6 or 9 or 10—get the same recognition as the other children who actually did their “karate assignments”?
Please do not read anything else into these situations. Don’t worry about age or special needs or anything. Just comment on the situation as presented. The two situations are a little different. What would you do and why? What do these situations mean to you as instructor? as a business person? as a parent? Is there any connection between “parenting” in these situations and “instructing.” In what way can your decision impact all those watching the scene?
Let’s talk. Post your comments right here.
via FACEBOOK from Tammy Chavet:
“I believe we allow children to move on too easily. Even little kids quickly learn that they can do about anything and pass. I understand that we are attempting to build self-esteem; however, if children feel they didn’t really earn their belt we aren’t reaching that goal.”
via FACEBOOK from Jay Brinkmeyer:
“NC a 4 year old Tiger? Wow, that would be harsh! Maybe just retest ’em offline or anticipate and put it off until they’re more ready. Better get with mom & dad too…”
via FACEBOOK from Lori Johnson
“We have had a couple no change Tiny Tigers over the years, neither the child or the parents had issue with it in those cases. It should be noted that they never failed an exam again and they are all still training with us. All our students and parents are aware from day 1 that a test is not a free ride to the next rank.”