Building Teen Esteem – Be Your Teen’s Kung Fu Master – Part 4: Finding The Dragon Warrior

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Each of us faces our own “Tai Lung.” No, a Tai Lung is not some weird Taiwanese delicacy that contestants are forced to eat on Fear Factor. In this case, “Tai Lungs” are your fears.

As your teen’s Kung Fu Master, the ultimate goal is to prepare them to face and overcome their fears. This is what will ultimately build their self-esteem and their self-confidence.

In the case of Kung Fu Panda, Tai Lung is a real bad Kung Fu dude.

The evil Tai Lung is now on his way to destroy the village. Po’s training from Master Shifu is complete and he is about to hand Po the Dragon Scroll. Contained within this scroll is the secret to ultimate power; the key to defeating all enemies and bringing peace to the land. Po opens the scroll to find… it’s completely blank! Just a big, fat panda staring back at him.

He feels duped! Cheated! How could this be? It doesn’t make sense.

Isn’t that how we feel sometimes? Especially when someone wise tells us the answer we’re looking for but it’s not the answer we were hoping for?

Po is confused and scared. Shifu sees Po is not ready to take on Tai Lung so, because time is short, he sends Po to help the townspeople evacuate.

There will come a time when you have taken your student as far as you can. You have taught them all you know and they have the life skills necessary to be successful. But they are useless if the teen doesn’t put them into practice. They are useless if the teen still fails to believe in themselves.

True and lasting confidence is built on action. A teen will never believe in themselves if they don’t try to believe in themselves. Shifu’s mistake here was that he failed to continue believing in Po.

Po is crushed. His dream; all the hard work and training to become the Dragon Warrior. And for what? For nothing? The town will be destroyed, and all that he loves will be gone.

While escorting villagers to safety, Po meets his father. His father makes the most famous noodle soup in town with a secret ingredient he’s never told his son about… until now.

Mr. Ping: The secret ingredient is… nothing!

Po: Huh?

Mr. Ping: You heard me. Nothing! There is no secret ingredient. Po: Wait, wait… it’s just plain old noodle soup? You don’t add some kind of special sauce or something?

Mr. Ping: Don’t have to. To make something special you just have to believe it’s special.

Po pulls out the scroll again to look at it. He sees his own reflection.

Po: There is no secret ingredient…

A lesson never really sinks in until the student discovers the answer for himself. Guiding your teen to discover the answers for themselves is a more power teaching tool than giving them all the answers.

His whole life, Po has only seen himself as a big, fat panda.

When he was chosen as the future Dragon Warrior, everyone, including those who should have been his teachers, his peers and his friends, just saw him and treated him like a big, fat panda.

Eventually, his teacher saw him for who he truly was. His father saw him as for who he truly was. And that was just enough to help Po see himself for who he truly was. In this moment, Po discovered the secret to ultimate power for himself. The secret to unleashing the Dragon Warrior within.

Po returns to face Tai Lung.

Tai Lung: Who are you?

Po: Buddy, I… am the Dragon Warrior!

Tai Lung: You? He’s a panda! You’re a panda! What are you gonna do, big guy? Sit on me?

Po: Don’t tempt me.

Finally, Po understood that true power lies in accepting who you are and being true to who you are. Once that happens, nothing can stop you. Your job as your teen’s Kung Fu Master is to help them unleash their own Dragon Warrior. To do this you must:

  • believe in them
  • be humble & teach to their learning style
  • help them to discover the answers for themselves
  • inspire them to take action

Once you do this, they will have the courage and confidence to face the Tai Lungs in their life…

Tai Lung: You can’t defeat me! You… you’re just a big… fat… panda!

Tai Lung, now weak, throws a punch at Po. Po catches him by the finger.

Po: I’m not a big fat panda. I’m THE big fat panda.


write by turner

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