The following describes some ideals that every child needs to possess to become a happy, productive adult, and how Taekwondo helps parents help their children attain them.
Children must be taught that a fit, healthy lifestyle is the accumulation of good habits. Three components make up a healthy lifestyle: exercise, nutrition, and hygiene and grooming. Taekwondo helps parents with the exercise component and may provide assistance with the other two components. Taekwondo instructors tell children how eating healthy will make them better warriors and instructors require that children have proper hygiene and grooming while in class.
Children must be taught to "self-manage" their own actions. If parents do not establish boundaries, or if they establish boundaries and are not consistent in enforcing them, they make it difficult for their children to learn self-control. Children get the idea that boundaries are flexible. Taekwondo has rules of behavior that are strictly enforced. If children want to continue training and competing with their friends, they must learn to control their behavior or pay the consequences.
Taekwondo teaches children to pay attention and block out distractions. Pattern practice demands that children block out distractions and concentrate on making perfect motions. Sparring requires a student’s undivided attention at all times or they lose the match.
A disrespectful child gets no respect, so he or she turns that attitude inward and starts to see him or herself as a person who does not deserve respect. Taekwondo teaches children to be respectful at all times to everyone, and that they earn respect in the same measure that they give respect.
Taekwondo helps children become experts at something, which then gives them more self-confidence. Everybody knows that if you are good at something, you become confident in that thing, but that confidence also spills over into other areas of a child's life.
This is a task for parents, not for Taekwondo. Help your child develop and maintain a real relationship with God. Today, many believe that absolutes—wrong and right—do not exist. Therefore, their children do not know the price they pay when they choose to disobey these absolutes. With no absolutes, we end up teaching our kids about a "gray" area between black and white where people are free to define and choose their own sense of right and wrong. However, they must be taught that they are not free to choose the consequences of their choice. Sometimes Taekwondo is taught in a religious institution or within a religious content. Under these circumstances, Taekwondo may help with a child's religious development.
Honesty is more than simply avoiding lies. It includes a belief in, and a pursuit of, the truth. Honesty is a sign of healthy self-esteem, because an honest person takes responsibility for his or her actions. A child who feels good about him or herself has no need to resort to deception. Taekwondo teaches children to be honest, even when it is not easy to do or is not the popular thing to do.
If a child is constantly afraid, he or she feels less and less able to deal with his or her surroundings. Instead of experiencing growth, the child's comfort zone shrinks and he or she withdraws from life. Courage determines how much freedom a child experiences. Fear will hold your child back and prevent him or her from trying new things, pursuing meaningful opportunities, and from living the life he or she was meant to live. Taekwondo helps children face their fears and conquer them. As they gain more courage, they are not afraid to try new things.
Children need to be taught the joy of giving so they will become persons who contribute to society. Life rewards you in direct proportion to your willingness to contribute. Taekwondo students learn to give assistance to new students or those with physical or mental challenges and they learn community service. They learn that helping others makes you feel good about yourself.
Children need to look at their lives positively, not negatively. Taekwondo instructors do not tell students they are doing a technique wrong; they praise them and tell them how to improve the technique. As a result, students have a positive outlook about their futures and feel capable of doing anything.
Taekwondo teaches children to take responsibility for their own actions, for assigned tasks, for younger children, and for other students of lower rank. As they learn responsibility, they are given more responsibilities.
Sometimes, things in life do not come easily. Some children take longer to earn rank in Taekwondo than it does for other children. Taekwondo teaches children not to give up and that they can succeed if they persist in their efforts.