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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

"Patching Up" the Green Belt

Yesterday my little karate Koopa earned his green belt. I am so proud of the effort that he has put towards this accomplishment. Physical feats do not come easy for him, mainly because of some equilibrium issues from his hearing problems, but what he lacks in natural skill he makes up for with grit and determination. He isn't the most graceful, but he never gives up!

What should have been a proud moment was marred at the end of last night's belt ceremony. I knew as soon as the instructors started bestowing special patches on select students that my kiddo was going to leave the mat with hurt feelings. The pride that he felt when his belt was tied around his waist evaporated when his name was not called to receive a patch. Instead of celebrating his accomplishment, he quietly asked me why his instructors don't like him.

If the patches are necessary, I suggest that the instructors consider doing it privately. Holding up select students on a higher pedestal during a ceremony meant to honor all who have earned their belts only serves to deflate those not chosen for special recognition. Perhaps privately handing a student a patch after a particularly good skill session would be more appropriate. I need to be clear on this point: I would feel the exact same way had Robby been selected to receive a patch.

I don't believe that his not receiving a patch was a purposeful slight. In fact, I think that the feelings of all of the students was not on the radar of the instructors. We live in a prize driven society, and the patches are simply an extension of that mentality. Instead of allowing kids to feel the pride from working hard to earn something, we now try to pad the experience by creating extra awards and recognition. Unfortunately, creating awards has the opposite effect by devaluing the accomplishment for each student who worked hard and earned the belt.

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