a priest's musings on the journey

Friday, May 11, 2007

Zac, Red Belts, and Fortune Tellers

Since this is MY blog, I can use it to shamelessly brag on my son, Zac, who was promoted to Red Belt in Taekwondo today. I was exhausted just from observing the test that lasted over an hour. I have my reservations about Taekwondo; my pacifism is offended by the sparring exercises, which appear too violent for children in my opinion- although I understand the techniques are taught for self-defense. Nonetheless, I can not help but be proud to see my son execute each form flawlessly. He kicks, spins, and jumps purposefully and powerfully. He displays physical strength and endurance. At one point he stayed in the plank position for three minutes. I am thoroughly impressed with his strength and skill.

But not only does he demonstrate competence in the forms, he possesses integrity and strength of character. My son has always been a gregarious, extroverted, friendly child. He will play with any child on the playground, and he always treats others with compassion and respect. He is well liked by his teachers and peers, and he he tries to include everyone. He is responsible, courteous, and disciplined. What most impresses me is how he repays rudeness with kindness. I have most observed this at his taekwondo dojo (gym/class), where the instructor's wife routinely snaps at the children and responds to their simplest questions with asperity and acerbity. But Zac merely smiles and walks away. I wonder what he is thinking as he discounts her remarks and leaves her to her bitterness. Does he intutively realize some deeper cause of her disaffection which enables him to respond compassionately? Perhaps. Once at a All Hallow's Eve party at a parish where I was a curate, I decided it would be fun to take him to the rector's wife's fortune telling booth. (Don;t freak out; this was all in fun). She did her mojo and said, "Father Rob, I've got bad news for you. Zac is going to be a bishop." Well, who knows- he certainly seems to be developping the leadership and compassion needed for such a role. Lord Have Mercy :)

He may advance to the High Red level now, where he will remain until he turns 16. Then he can be promoted to the black belt. I prefer the harmonious techniques of Aikido, which less offend my sensibilities, and perhaps the time has come to redirect his skills to a more peaceful, non-agressive expression. We shall see.

For now, the proud father beams delightfully at his sons achievement.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 8:27 PM

11 Comments:

This is a wonderful story, and you have every reason to be proud. (I too prefer Aikido for similar reasons, but that's a sidenote.)
Blogger Peregrinato, at 5:25 AM  
This shows great tolerance on your part. It heartens me to read this post. I train at a Taekwondo school along with two of my children and we have to put up with the suggestion from other family members that what we are doing is insulting to God in some way. Congratulations to Zac - he must have worked long and hard.
Blogger Tomcat's Taekwondo, at 9:57 AM  
Congrats to Zac and a deep bow.

Jane (who is back from vacation but not "all there" ;-))
Blogger Jane R, at 8:10 PM  
tomcat, thanks for the note. I checked out your website- there's some good stuff there.
Blogger PadreRob+, at 8:37 PM  
No need for disclaimers to brag about your child. There is absolutely nothing more precious than the ability to appreciate the beauty and integrity of one's own child (except the beauty and integrity themselves!). It is true love -- what this world needs a heck of a lot more of.
Anonymous Dara, at 7:56 PM  
Jane, I hope you are all rested now :) Thanks for the note
Blogger PadreRob+, at 10:12 PM  
Dara,
You are so right. The best work I can do in the world is love my son, and accept and support him. Actually, that's all that matters, really.

Thanks for the kind note
Blogger PadreRob+, at 10:13 PM  
a beautiful story. I wish more fathers loved their sons this way.
Kudos to your Zac.

Teresa
Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:30 PM  
Don't be afraid about tae kwon do. The students are taught respect, honor, and loyalty. They are taught to never fight unless it is self defense. Your son must have worked hard to achieve a red belt. Many quit before they get there. You are right to be proud of him.
Blogger Tomas, at 11:40 PM  
And he is also a champ of weight throwing at the Highland games.

Also, he reads and draws very well.

And pinches people's cheeks. :D

He's the perfect kid.
Blogger Luiz Coelho, at 6:52 AM  
the pride you take in your son is a commendation of his 'achievements'. these achievements are a part of his growth into the person that he is being 'honed' to be.
there is no reason to feel any sense of concern because it's not really 'pride' in the negative sense, nor is there any need for concern over his learning tae-kwon-do. every form of 'martial art" is merely a tool to use, the true teaching is what is behind the forms itself. the greatest samurai, and the most skillful shaolin monk is one who never has to use such 'skills'. your son Zac seems to be developing not only the skills, but more importantly the heart and essence of what formed tae-kwon-do, ai-ki-do, tai-chi-chuan, kung-fu or any other "martial art".
from your commendation and descriptions, Zac is a good son, and seems destined to be a good, kind man. every father is naturally proud of this.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:37 PM  

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