This past month my son started the next level up at his karate school. He has been doing karate for a while now and has come to love everything it has to offer him. From learning how to defend himself to the discipline and making new friends, it has made for a great addition to his already packed schedule.
Yesterday, he and I had a conversation about how he was worried and scared of his new class with the older kids. I asked him why and that he had no reason to be worried about anything. His main concern was not knowing any of the new moves, the longer class time, and that fear of the unknown. He already knew what to expect in his old class and was comfortable getting 30 minutes of coordinated kicks and punches in twice a week. My son is a Virgo, so he loves structure, order, rules, and staying in a rhythm; change is not his friend. Knowing this about my son, I go out of my way to make transitions known way ahead of time and have a sit down with him to explain why and how things are going to change. It usually results in less of a tantrum when the next event will occur.
Last night before class I sat down with him and really talked with him about how he was feeling, his fears, and what he thinks it will take to feel at ease this time around. He was very adamant about not wanting to go and how he doesn’t know any of the new moves so he feels embarrassed and can’t keep up. I had to remind him that most of the kids who are new in that room didn’t know exactly when to zig or zag in the beginning either. He had to remember to listen to his instructors and be patient because they would guide him when the time comes. Toward the end of class I heard another mom tell her daughter the same thing – you won’t know everything and that’s OKAY.
This made me think of how even as adults we get frustrated with ourselves because we are being dropped into a new area and don’t know our way around yet. It always will take time to adjust and sometimes we need a prep talk to remind us to slow down and stop worrying about things that are out of our control. Like my son, the fear of the unknown or what could go wrong causes tremendous stress and anxiety that could lead us to give up something we enjoy doing simply because we are scared to have a bad day or make a mistake. Mistakes should always be viewed as a learning experience, not as your ultimate failure. Just know that in the end, like my son, you will get the hang of it and feel like a seasoned pro waiting for the next practice. Don’t give up!