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Earn Your Keep

A few weeks back I was talking to a very frustrated employee in one of my Karate schools. He told me that he had spoken to a very irate mother that evening. The subject of the conversation was about her son not being able to test for his next belt. I told my employee to tell me about the conversation. He said that he made a decision to not test the person for their next belt because the young man did not know the material. I asked why he didn't know the material.

Did we do our best to teach it to him? I asked if we had invited the young person to come to special extra help classes before the testing. The answer was that we had but the child did not come. I can understand the frustration of the child and parent in this situation.

Expecting to be able to do something and then being told that your reward will have to wait is a hard thing. At the same time I also believe that we should not be rewarded for simply showing up. Rewards Require Work. The part of our jobs that no instructor likes is when we have to tell a student that they will have to wait because they're not quite ready yet. At that point the student and parent have to make a decision.

That decision involves either blaming someone else because they may not be ready or accepting the fact that maybe waiting a while and working just a bit harder will actually help make them stronger in the long run. All of us have a natural tendency to blame others or make excuses when things don't work out the way that we want. We would be well served to realize that this is an experience that will most likely happen again, us not getting what we thought we deserved. Quitting after frustration only causes more frustration because it develops a quitting habit in the long run.

Waiting may be frustrating and it may be hard to stomach at the moment, but aren't we more concerned for the future then the moment. Developing the drive to overcome frustration and the willingness to persevere can only serve children well over the long haul. We already have enough young people today who feel that they should be given the top spot just because they stumbled into the room. As parents, it's important that we do the right thing. Our kids will thank us for it.

Fred Nicklaus.

For tips on raising Rock Solid Kids visit for free tips on raising your child to be a leader, and for the fitness training that will sky rocket your core body strength, check out

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