Green index
  molly Molly

I had an essay written about respect to submit for my green belt. While showing respect to people of all ages, races, genders, religions and cultures both inside and outside the classroom is a fundamental tenet by which I govern my life, I recently discovered the true meaning of my oath last week.

Allow me to digress momentarily with a story about my daughter Ella that will make my recent discovery a bittersweet tale. Two weeks ago, Ella was teasing Lauren, her sister. While this is nothing new to report, the way I reprimanded Ella was. A recent enrollee of Kicks 4 Women, Ella practiced reciting her tenets and student oath daily to commit them to memory. So at the moment I intervened on Lauren's behalf, I reminded Ella that the oath was more than just words, these statements were principles that should guide her actions. Her momentary effrontery, hands on her hips, face screwed up into a scowl, quickly changed to a comprehending nod and disgruntled acceptance. She had never considered that what she recited in class was anything more than a rote requirement. I reveled in my creative parenting and even gloated to my husband that night.

So imagine my surprise when I, a 35 year old woman, came to the same realization not more than two weeks later.

I came in to class early this past Thursday to sweep the floor and quickly review my forms, eager to perfect my skills for my test Tuesday. I was unexpectedly confronted with a decision to practice as planned, or attend a meeting to discuss a lewd invitation sent by a Bucknell fraternity portraying women in a less than acceptable way. I could tell Sabum Nim really wanted to attend the meeting and I began to mourn my lost opportunity. I also thought of the floor I just swept in preparation for class, the inconvenience of finding parking, and the frustration of another meeting plagued with inactivity and inundated with ego. The next moment a little voice inside my head, the same one that pulled the oath out of thin air to reprimand Ella said, "this is what it means to be a champion of freedom and justice." Doing the right thing is not always easy, convenient or planned. It is about seizing every opportunity to make a difference, to fight for those who don't have the heart, nerve or sinew to speak out and to build a more peaceful world with your own two hands. This was not a time to hide behind my busy schedule; it was a time to live my oath as a student of Tae Kwon Do. And I did.

Now I revel, not at my creativity, but at my courage to take a stand. Look out world!

04-20-04