The Nathan Effect ......
My Son Nathan had just pasted his black belt in Kick-Boxing! I was SO proud of him, all the times taking him there, nodding off while reading my book, the hour that his lessons lasted, making new friends with the other Parents who too waited for their child, when I couldn't drop him off asking my Brother-In-Law to take him and pick him up or if all else failed, sending him in a taxi there and back! Buying him the gear, head gear, gum guard, foot pads, t-shirts with the logo of the Academy on, the large bag to put his gear in. He'd made some good friends there.
My Husband wasn't too keen for him to go for it wasn't cheap, we paid monthly but I made sure he never missed unless he was extra naughty and as a punishment I wouldn't take him that week, he would be gutted, utterly gutted. He even did tournaments there, I could see him going onto bigger and greater things, to do with kick-Boxing. It even helped him when he was younger when he was been bullied at school, but he wouldn't stick up for himself and I said to his Tutor with him there, ”should he stick up for himself?” “Absolutely” he said with Nathan there, “Don't let anyone push you around, you have the confidence to know, you can defend yourself. That was peace of mind for me too.
The day he passed his black belt was fantastic!! There was three of them taking the exam, with all the Parents, and friends watching, one failed …. It wasn't Nathan. He was SO exhausted when he came home, he laid down, red face on the sofa for 20 minutes!!
I asked his Tutors if he still needed to go to Kick-Boxing now he'd past, they said, “Oh yes, to keep his strength up and the knowledge of it.” So each week I'd take him, then about a month after he passed we were just about to leave to go to his weekly session, when he told me to “F*ck Off” in a short, I can't remember what the argument was about! I said, I will NEVER take you again to kick-Boxing!! Never!
I was hurt beyond belief! How could the Child that I'd longed for, for SO long say that to me?
A year past, without him going and I rang his Teacher and asked her if it would be OK for Nathan to return or was it too late, I didn't tell her why he hadn't been for a year nor do I intend to, and she said, “He will always be a black belt, he can return,” I told her I hadn't spoken to him yet, but wanted to speak to her first, to make sure it was OK. I then spoke to Nathan and told him I'd spoken to his Tutor and that it was OK to return, that he hadn't fallen behind. He replied, “If it's going to make you happy, then I'm NEVER going back!” That hurt, but he is a 'Little Me' for that is just what I too would have said, if I was in the same situation, as he, as a Teen! I have cried SO many times about, the decision, I made that day! Why was I so hasty, why didn't I just cool off first without making that life changing decision? But who cools off in the middle of an argument, do you? It is one of the regrets of my life, like I said to someone, “I wished I had a Book of Nathan's Life from beginning to end, given to me when he was born, and when I got to the part where he swore at me, instead of saying he is never going back to kick-Boxing, just say instead at that point, You won't be going for two weeks, then he would have gone and I would have not had this regret added to my list of regrets and he would be great now in the kick-Boxing world, a talented young man!” But Parents are not given such books. I feel I have changed his destiny, not for the better but for worse, for not having the regular weekly lessons meant he made what I call 'street friends,' friends with 'no rules' and no 'order' in their lives!!
I've told a few people and one of them was my Manager, she said, “He was wrong to swear at me” that “I didn't change the course of his life, he was bang out of order, he would have chosen those new friends anyway” Her words, eased my pain 1%. Then one day I told Nathan ….
A young man who started working at our place. I told him the whole story, he said to me, “You were very harsh!! I have done FAR worse than that to my Parents and have even got into a lot of debt and each time they have bailed me out!” I said in my defence, “But he told me to 'F*ck Off,' he replied, “And for THAT you stopped him going to kick-Boxing?” He went on to say, “He knows he has been really hard work for his Parents, but now he has come through the bad part of him, and in general now he is OK”. You see at the time, it was important that I kept my word, for to have gone the following week would have taught him nothing! At that time I also took him to a weekly football practice and every other week he'd watch a real match and he loved it, that too stopped.
I said to Nathan, who has same name as my Son, I wished I knew you when this had happened, for I surely would have gone back the following week or the week after that, both to football and kick-Boxing. And now it was too late!
I mentioned to my Manager later on about the Nathan Effect and she said, “What's that” and I told her about her newest Worker, Nathan, not what he's done, for that's confidential but what he would have done if he were me, and how is Parents, forgives him, forgives him and forgives him, again and again and again …..
So next time you get cross, PLEASE remember the Nathan Effect! It could change your life and theirs.