Character Chats

Confidence in Trying New Things

Confidence when we’re trying something new.

Here at True Balance Karate, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, owner and chief instructor here at the studio, and I have two master’s degrees in education. And we have developed this curriculum to best meet the needs of our youngest students who are 3, to our oldest student who is 85.

Trying New Foods

And this month we’re talking about confidence. Today we’re talking about what that looks like when we’re trying something new. And anybody who is ever sat with a young person, and by young, I mean under 10, who is trying a new food can understand the phrase, “I don’t want it because I don’t like it.” And they’ve never, ever tried it.

So, it kind of reminds me of when I was 8, 9, 10, somewhere in that range, and we went to one of those places where they cooked the food right in front of you and my mom wanted me to try shrimp. And of course, I gave the same line that any 8, 9, 10 year old, 6 year old, whatever age it was, I won’t like it and I’ve never even tried it. And she told me that the shrimp was chicken. So of course I knew I liked chicken. So of course I was more than willing to try it. I took a bite. I found out that I did like it actually, but it was a matter of getting over that hurdle.

Trying Different Things

How do we instill the confidence to try those new things? And it’s not always easy.

I’ll be fully honest with you. I have a 17 and a 14 year old and as we were going through trying different things, it was a difficult road. However, it’s one that we all have to go along.

As an adult, maybe you’re going to switch careers and you’re not sure if you’re going to like the new one that you’re thinking about. As a teenager, you decide that you’re going to try a new sport or you’re going to go and join a club for the first time at school and you’re not sure if you’re going to enjoy what you’re doing or what’s happening or those kinds of things.

And it’s a matter of having the confidence to try and having the confidence to know which direction you want to go and which direction you don’t want to go.

Looking Deeper

As we build these things, we want to incorporate good questions. What do I know that I do like? What do I know that I don’t like? Is this the kind of people that will help me? Am I allergic? If it’s a new food. What foods am I allergic to? Is this in my food?

We want to incorporate some of those good questions to help build confidence. I found that being able to fully answer students’ questions, my own kids’ questions, my questions, helped me go into different situations with more knowledge, which gave me the confidence of what was about to happen. It gave me a good base of what to expect, which grows my own confidence.

I spent three weeks studying the educational systems in China when I was in college. It was a pretty fantastic experience. And I was willing to try any of the foods in front of us knowing that I could have one bite and if I didn’t like it, I was okay. Now, I don’t have many food allergies, so I didn’t have to worry about that. But some things, super great. Other things, not so good. But I was willing to try at least everything once knowing that I could walk away if I didn’t like that particular dish because there would be something else in front of me.

Taking Safe Risks

And that’s the kind of confidence that we want to build. That’s the kind of questions we want to ask. That’s the kind of safe risks that we want to take. Being able to walk into that situation, really knowing what’s happening around us.

We don’t want to engage in any of those unhealthy risks. We don’t want to go into a situation without knowing anything about any of it. If you have a peanut allergy, obviously trying new foods you really need to make sure that that’s okay. It’s one of those, how do I navigate this safely, effectively, healthy, knowledgeably so that I can gain that confidence, so I can keep that belief in myself and in my surroundings? And as we’re going along, we want to make sure that we encourage those questions.

So, if you’re faced with a student or your own child who’s anxious, nervous, unsure, ask those good probing questions. What is it that’s making you nervous? What can I do to help you? Where can we go? I’m not saying trick them the way my mom tricked me by telling me it was chicken when it was actually shrimp. But, pointing out you like this kind of food, it’s like that. You like this kind of activity, this is like that. So that they can draw some comparisons and some correlations that way and build their confidence in what they’re doing, knowing that they can accomplish things.

So, thanks, and I’ll see you on the mat!

True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here