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March 05, 2021
I remember when I was weaning my daughters, I read somewhere that you have to introduce a food 20 million times (actually, I think it is about 20, but I lost the will by approximately 5) in order for the child to like it, if they aren’t immediately enamored. This always seemed like a step too far for me, as a frazzled parent with 4 young children. There was only ever so much spitting and throwing and puking it back up that I could take. I would soon give up. Hence, perhaps the reason why my 21 year old still hates fish. But then again, so does my 52 year old sister. Aren’t there just some foods that we will never like, no matter how many times we try to?
Or are there? Did I just give up too early? Should I have persevered?
The thing is, teaching Taekwon-do as I do has made me realise a thing or two. Not so much about food, although doing the training means I don't need to worry too much about how much I eat, but actually more about how we learn.
You see, as teachers we have a whole load of knowledge that we want to impart. Some of it is quite basic and some of it is bloody complicated. When we first show a Taekwon-do student a new move, we expect them to struggle with it: where to put the hands, which hand on top…there are a few issues going on that they need to grasp and we have the patience to let them try and to keep trying until they begin to master it. Once they get it, we feel pleased, for both of us. For them, because they have achieved something new and for us because we can enjoy watching them progress.
However, this is where the food comes in. Usually when we learn something new, we don’t get it straight away. Often it takes many, many attempts to master the technique and during all this time, we need to be reminded of how to perform it over and over again. It is so important for all of us to understand that we do not learn things on that first attempt. In fact, it can actually take far more attempts than any of us may feel we have got the patience for. It is imperative however, that we do not give up – unlike my abandonment of foods. My lack of perseverance of reintroducing them until my children ‘got them’. We must never feel that the mountain is too high to climb and so to make do with what we already are comfortable with. How limiting is this view!
I know as an Instructor that if it takes 5 demonstrations of a technique or 5000…hell, even 50,000, eventually that student will get it. And actually, the fruits of their efforts will taste all the sweeter for persevering.
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