Yesterday Jackson tested for his green belt. The last time he tested he was so nervous that it was actually painful to watch. He couldn't remember anything he was suppose to do and was getting flustered often. He kept "escaping" to the bathroom. Finally, after the third trip to the bathroom Mike went in there to see what was going on. He was just standing there near the sink terrified. He said, "I'm so scared that I won't get my yellow belt."
I woke up yesterday already nervous for him. I remember sitting there last time wishing desperately that I could take away that fear and nervousness and fill him with confidence. Wanting so badly to help him I was brainstorming on what could I do this time to help him.
Then I had an idea.
I got out my embroidery floss in his favorite colors and made him a small bracelet. I was going for the string around the finger to spark memory approach. What if I made him something that he could look at throughout testing to remind him that he is brave. That he can do this.
I gave it to him after school and told him, "You are going to do awesome today at your testing. You are brave. You can do this. Whenever you get scared or nervous look at this bracelet and remember that you are brave and you can do this."
He was still nervous and still got a little flustered but he powered through it like a champ!
It was like watching a completely different kid. I am so proud of him and his courage. And, I even saw him look at his bracelet throughout the testing.
We've still got a lot of work to do to build his confidence but I feel like he has made so much progress over the last year. The next step is going to be tough for him. Being a green belt means that he will step up to the intermediate level and will have to spar. I know this is going to be a big challenge for him because he gets embarrassed so easy but I also know that he can do it.
He is brave. He is awesome. He makes me proud.