Enjoy the Silence

It’s the first day of school for my girls.  Em is starting Jr. High and it was her first time ever having to take a school bus.  Unfortunately for all of us, she has to be there by 7:10.  We are not morning people in this house and waking up at 6 am was downright painful.  Both girls set out their clothes the night before and this morning both of them were showered, fed and dressed with plenty of time to spare.  Em had a smile all morning and was actually more excited that nervous about starting at a new school and having a new routine.  It felt very strange sending her off to the bus stop on her own.  My first instinct was to walk her there, but I suspect that she would have been mortified if I had even suggested the idea.  Beck is growing up as well.  I walked with her to school and as soon as she found where she had to line up, she sent me home.  I guess 3rd grade is the age where it is so not cool to have your mom hanging around on the first day of school.  She even informed me that she wants to walk home by herself, this being the first year that she is allowed to do so by the school.  When I got back home, my husband was ready to leave so I drove him to the train station.  After swinging by Starbucks (for Chai, no more coffee for me), I came home and just sat for a few minutes soaking in the silence.  It has been so long since I have had time during the day to myself that just knowing that I will be uninterrupted for 6+ hours was enough to fill me with joy.

And the spirit of productivity.  At noon, I am already on my 4th load of laundry after having neglected it for the better part of a week.  Dishes were done, sink was cleaned, dry cleaning was collected, beds were made.

The past week or so has been so hectic with Tae Kwon Do and getting ready for the school year that this day of silence is such a treat.

My instructorship training seems to have ratcheted up a notch and I should be starting to lead classes in the very near future.  I will start out with lining everyone up, calling them to attention, and leading them through warm-ups.  Eventually, after mastering that, I will start to lead some of the training.  It’s still very uncomfortable being in front of class, and being the only non-Black Belt in instructorship has led to a bit of self-doubt.  The biggest obstacle I’m finding is shifting my mindset from student to teacher/leader.  I have been a follower my entire life.  I also find that I have a tendency to want direction instead of giving it.  At 37 years old, this is the first time I have ever been in a leadership position and it has shoved me right out of my comfort zone.  That is not a bad thing.  Nothing big or important is ever accomplished by staying in one’s comfort zone.

I brought up some of my concerns to one of the instructors and she reassured me that I’m a good candidate for instructorship.  She pointed out that I take direction well, and take critiques and suggestions without excuses or becoming defensive.  She also said that I need to embrace feeling silly or awkward while learning, and that when I do learning to teach becomes much easier.  That for me is my biggest challenge.  Like a lot of people, I have perfectionist tendencies, and I don’t often find something that I can’t learn to do well in a short amount of time.  Instructing is one of those things that isn’t coming very easily to me.  While I’ve had a couple students tell me I’m a natural in class, I can’t help but feel as though I’m shouting at them when issuing commands.  I suspect part of that is my aversion to conflict.  Deep down, I think a raised voice=bad and scary.  She also advised me to emulate her or another instructor until I find a style that I’m comfortable with and is more my own.

What I am enjoying is some of the newer experiences I’m having.  Thursday I get to observe the White Belt test and do my best to think like an instructor and test judge.  The other instructors are feeling more comfortable about leaving me alone with the class for a few minutes if they need to leave the training floor for any reason.  And best is that I am getting to know the instructors on a more personal level and I’m finding that I really, really like them as people.

All this is happening on top of the push towards my Black Belt test in October.  For the next three months I have something test related to do at the dojang.  This month, it’s verification, which is basically to give me feedback on what I’m learning at my current belt level.  Next month is my pre-test, which for all intents and purposes, is my Black Belt test.  I need to know all 8 lower belt poomsaes and all the board breaking kicks we have learned, not to mention all the stuff I need to know for verification.  My actual Black Belt test will be the info from my verification, plus one-to-one and sparring.  I also have a fairly long essay to write and a community service project to complete before my test.  And I still need to assist in lower belt classes in order to test.  In the past week I have been taking part in almost every class.  It’s a fantastic feeling knowing that I have the strength and energy to get through 3 classes on Saturday, and one on Monday (along with a fitness class), Tuesday and Thursday, not to mention a private lesson Tuesday afternoon.  Unfortunately though, I’m gone quite a few evenings a week and my family suffers because there is a definite reduction in home cooked meals, laundry being done, and housecleaning.

It’s all worth it though, if I can now make up for all that with the time I have during the day, without the distraction of having to drive the kids everywhere, break up fights, and feeding them (I swear, it’s like they eat constantly).

While the contents of my gym bag and the bag itself airs out after a Febreeze treatment (the whole bag smelled like feet), I’m off to Play It Again Sports to find a hogoo for Beck.  She seems to have lost hers.  I would totally understand losing a glove or forearm guard, but an entire hogoo?  They aren’t that small, so I can’t imagine where it wound up considering it never appeared in the dojang’s lost and found.



  1. I am so ready for school to start! I am ready for the routine. My daughter starts school at the end of August.

    It was interesting to read about your black belt testing process.

    • I hear you on the return to routine. That was the hardest part for me this summer, not having a built in structured routine.

  2. My boys start back to school Wednesday. I’m more than ready emotionally for them to go back, but due to scheduling, we have bought none of their stuff (supplies, clothes, new shoes) yet. So tomorrow and Tues. will be filled with frantic running around.

    Good luck with your black belt test! I just finished mine on Friday (hence the scheduling problem). And don’t worry about the teaching. Like anything else, it gets easier with time and practice. As long as you’re willing to listen, learn and improve, you’ll do fine.

    • Congrats on completing your Black Belt test!

      I know what you mean about the last minute shopping. With my youngest, I was able to pre-order supply kits last year, so that helped. But my oldest, just starting jr. high, we needed to do some good old fashioned school supply shopping. I went earlier than usual for me, and still things were picked over.

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