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Taekwondo and the Parent of a Gifted Child

April 21, 2008

By Roda Farrell

Over the past five years my three children (and recently, my husband) have been studying Taekwondo. I too studied briefly until ankle surgeries sidelined me.

Aside from the physical and mental discipline, what I took away from Taekwondo is its five tenets — Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, and Indomitable Spirit.

After listening to Todd Kettler, CISD Director of Advanced Academics, speak on the state of GT education in Coppell, I spent several days brooding. Yes, we are “good,” but we’re not yet “great.” I found it difficult to reconcile the grand visions we have for GT education and the seemingly snail’s pace at which we are progressing.

After many deep cleansing breaths and contemplation, I have adapted the tenets to help me cope with my frustration.

  • Courtesy – How I may feel about certain people/procedures/programs will not justify bad behavior towards teachers or administrators.
  • Integrity – I will be honest in my evaluations; I will not exaggerate the weaknesses and downplay the strengths.
  • Perseverance – Yes, the changes may not happen quickly enough to benefit my own children, but I will still persist in helping to bring about these changes. I will look at alternatives (summer enrichment, distance learning, private schools) to ensure my children have what they need to thrive.
  • Self-Control – I wanted to march into the Administration Building and demand that my children be challenged to meet their full potential and not just the minimum acceptable standard. Realizing that what I’d likely get are polite stares and perhaps a police escort out, what I’m doing instead is research – combing the TEA’s Education Code and Administrative Rules for specific, practical items that I can bring to the table.  (See “TEA’s Expectations for AP and Pre-AP” in this newsletter).
  • Indomitable Spirit – We’ve heard time and again we should encourage our children to pursue their passions. This shouldn’t change as we become adults although the voices that say “You can’t” or “We can’t possibly make that accommodation” seem louder. I will continue to advocate for my children, patiently and persistently, so they see that my passion is in helping them to achieve theirs.

You bet I’m still frustrated, but I hope these tenets allow other parents to look beyond “where we are” and focus on “where we’re going.”

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