pride and passion

Recently, my son tested for his brown belt in karate.

For those of you who know, this is a major accomplishment for a 9 year-old boy. While not unheard of, it is a very arduous and intense. He accomplished this belt in a matter of months – record speed at his age while attending 4th grade, playing guitar and going to soccer practice 2 days a week. There are katas to learn and techniques to know – 40 to be exact. It is rigorous and serious. You have to be committed and focused on your goal…which in this instance was a brown fabric belt wrapped twice around his small waist and knotted just so.

As I sat there watching him test for this belt (which is more of a rehearsal than a test, really), I couldn’t help but swell with some serious pride. You see, at 9, kids are just becoming little people. They have defined personalities and habits that would take years of unraveling…if need be. But somehow, even though I have been proud of him my whole life for the sweet, thoughtful, caring, empathetic person he is, I realized what it was like to feel a real sense of pride in your child. To watch him accomplish something only he set out to do. No nagging to practice. No bribery after lessons. No dangling carrots in front of him to make get through it all.

As we guide our little ones through life, we expect them to become kind and considerate. We push them to find intellect and be well-read. But we can only hope they find a passion that drives them towards a commitment in their life. And for a moment, I really saw it in his face. I saw it in his determination when he broke through 3 boards. I saw it in the bow to his sensei. I saw it in his face when he performed his hardest, most elusive kata. He did it. All on his own.

And for me, as a mother guiding her little man on this adventure called life, that is all I ever hoped for myself.

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