Sifu Lorna Jones, Waterloo Kung-Fu Academy

By Guest Contributor, Sifu Lorna Hayward

Parent’s Corner

Dedication, determination and perseverance are traits we work so hard to instill in our kids—and must work hard to keep going in our own lives! Enthusiasm can be such a fleeting thing for everyone, and no less so for our kids. Even as adults, we must push ourselves through to keep doing things until we find our enthusiasm again. Whether that is starting a project with great energy, only to have to push through to finish it, or starting an exercise program with immense resolve, then having to force ourselves to keep going.

How do we inspire our kids to keep going when they lose enthusiasm? Everyone hits plateaus in their training, not just the kids. As teachers, we try to spark the enthusiasm when we can see the energy and resolve lagging, but we only have them for a short time each week. There are some ways you can help us help your kids stay energized for Kung Fu.

Sometimes we hear from parents that their kids are losing interest because they aren’t progressing fast enough. We work very hard to help our students understand the concept of ‘you get out of it what you put into it’, but children definitely have a harder time grasping the responsibility of this. We try to set very clear goals in what each student needs to achieve in order to progress, but if your child doesn’t know what they need to do, they (or you) are welcome to ask! We pride ourselves on not just pushing people through the ranks, so each and every student can know that their rank was achieved through their own hard work and determination. However, we can also tell who is practicing and who is not. Perhaps marking on the calendar when the next grading is and highlighting the cut-off date to be on the grading list (2 weeks prior) will inspire your child to set some home training goals.

Watching their class to see how they are behaving could also give you some insight into their progress (but don’t stand at the top of the stairs). As a parent, I know that this can also be a very frustrating thing! I have watched my kids in classes when they were coming through the ranks, so please know that I sympathize fully. However, it did help me to be able to talk to my kids with individual examples of what they did well and what they could set as a goal to work on. I had 3 of my children come through Kung Fu, and all 3 are very different humans, with very different needs.

Unfortunately, there is no one answer to what you ‘should’ do for your child. Each person is an individual, and this journey is a lot of trial and error. If your child is fighting you every class because they don’t want to come, please feel free to talk to us. Sometimes, the answer might be that they just need to try their best in every class, but sometimes it might help us to look harder for a way to reach your child and re-ignite the spark. Together we can do great things!

If it’s grey, stay away! You will notice that the mats in the lobby do not extend all the way from the shoe rack to the bottom of the stairs. That’s intentional, because we need to keep a section of floor at the bottom of the stairs clean and dry so that dirt, salt, and water don’t get tracked into the kwoon. Please don’t reposition the mats or walk on the grey flooring with your shoes or boots.