Today it’s my children’s karate exam. I said back on day 5 of my June Journals that I didn’t know how I was going to get my daughter to do the exam when she was adamant she wasn’t.
In the comments I suggested a cunning plan of inviting Granddad to watch. It worked. Eventually.
To begin with, she cried and wailed when I said she had to do the exam because Granddad was coming. It felt like walking a tightrope. I hung in there through the tears and eventually we got to the bottom of her fear.
In the last exam, Sensei – the head of their particular club – came and ran through the bit of the exam my daughter finds hardest, the kata. It’s a sequence of moves (20 for hers) that have to be done in order. For the adults, it has to be done completely from memory, but the juniors have a ‘count’ and an indication of what comes next.
But Sensei was a little disappointed with their group and wasn’t afraid to show it. And if there’s one thing my daughter hates, it’s disapproval.
I’m afraid to admit (in case anyone who knows our karate club reads this!) that I put an image in my daughter’s head to ease her fear. An image of Sensei in a pink tutu and red heels – because for their last exam their examiner was a woman in high heels, who kicked butt doing the moves despite her footwear. And my daughter loves shoes!
I managed to get her laughing (rickety rope bridge across crocodile infested waters conquered!) and she admitted that she did really want to do the exam she was just scared.
That was a revelation for my husband and me. After the tears had passed, it seemed she wanted the push, she wanted to be made to do it: to have the decision taken from her. So, Miss Fanny P, you were right – sometimes you do have to shove them out their comfort zone.
It reminds me of when I did a tandem skydive in New Zealand. I’m terrified of heights and was palpitating long before we reached 15,000 ft. If I hadn’t been strapped to the front of a person who had every intention of jumping from that plane, whether I wanted to or not, I would never have done it.
I was only in the plane in the first place because I’d met an 80-year-old granny who’d done it the day before.
It was amazing. I couldn’t breathe by the time we came out of free-fall, and I wouldn’t do it ever again if you paid me millions of pounds (well, possibly then), but when I landed I felt like I could conquer the world.
Fear. It’s a funny thing.
Perhaps my daughter and I need to read ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’.