Saturday, December 17, 2011

Not Dead Yet,

Though you might think so, based on my blog output.

Here are two things that made me very, very proud of my about-to-be-6-year-old.

1. My son has been attending karate class, weekly, for about 9 weeks. We're coming to the end of the term and thinking about whether to re-up him.

Thursday morning, we mentioned that it was karate night, and Ian blurted out "i don't like karate." We engaged him on it (at the risk of missing the school bus) - what don't you like about it? Is there a part you do like? The kids? The teacher? He was able to tell us that he didn't like all the yelling - the instructors aren't hostile or mean (in my perception) but we do spend a LOT of time reminding Ian how important it is to respect everyone, how he'll get more of what he wants if he's unfailingly polite and kind...nobody at karate says 'please' or 'thank you."

We talked about it a bit and then moved on. Off to school, work etc.

That night, Eric had a gig so I accompanied Ian to karate. I chatted with another mom while class went on (oddly enough, this is the first time I've talked at any length with any of the families) and colored Christmas cards that I had brought along. When class ended, Ian and another boy came over and colored cards while the same instructors drilled an adult class.

Ian had his shoes and jacket on, and we were getting ready to leave, when Ian nudged me and then took off at a run. From the look in his eyes (and the time of day), I assumed a bathroom trip, and strolled off in that direction. That wasn't where he had gone, though. I looked around and saw him on the gym floor, talking to the head instructor, an older gent who can be quite brusque. Terry was crouched down, eye to eye with Ian, and they both looked very serious. I went trotting over and interrupted. "What's going on, dude?" I asked Ian.

"We were just talking," said Ian. "About karate class."

"Yes," said Terry, "Ian came to me to ask why I yell so much - if I'm mad at the kids or frustrated with them."

I looked stunned.

"I was saying that the teachers use their aggressive side all the time." said Ian.

"And I was saying that, mostly, we spend our time just trying to get the kids' attention! That's why we yell and sometimes make fun, a little bit. We want you guys and girls to be great at karate," Terry said, turning to Ian. "We want you to do really well, as good as you possibly can, in your tests and tournaments, so you're always progressing. It takes a lot of concentration."

"And discipline," added Ian. "So you're just trying to get our attention, so we learn."

"I'm really glad you came and talked to me, Ian," said Terry, putting a huge hand on Ian's tiny shoulder. "I have never, ever had a kid ask me those things before. Or an adult. Humph. That was really good. I liked talking to you about it."

And then he went out to his car and got some toffee that he had made for the other instructors, and shared it with us.


So, to recap: My 5-year-old, completely on his own, respectfully approached the head instructor and started a conversation about his methods. And used active listening.

Something I couldn't do when I was in college.

I repeat: !!!

2. Another evening, we were in the car, listening to the Christmas music on the easy listening station. (It's an annual thing.) A song came on which I won't name, but many of you would recognize it, as it concerns a child buying a gift for his mother so she'll look "real pretty if she meets Jesus tonight".

This song is decidely not my sort of thing. But, not wanting to pass my snottiness on to an innocent child, I kept my opinion to myself, not even tsk-ing or sighing (or making fake barfing noises.) About 3 minutes in, we have this conversation:

Ian: That song! It's, it's....Agh! It's so bad!

Me: Yeah?

Ian: It's snot on my ears! Blah!

Me: Well, I have to say I agree with you. It is pretty awful.

Ian: It's SUCKS, Mom!

Me: Hey. I don't like that song either, but you know we don't use that word that way. We say "I don't care for that" or "I don't think that's very good." Young men should not say things suck.

Ian: BUT MOM! You could say "it's awful" or "it's terrible"...but it's so much worse than that! You'd have to say something more than that. just...

Me: Yeah, I know. Don't say it again.

So, again, to recap:
Evidence of good taste and critical thinking skills
excellent grasp of expressive language.


Jennette said...

You have an amazing kid! Which means you're probably an amazing parent. :) Thanks for sharing these stories.

(p.s. I'm sooo behind in blogging I'll never criticize you for it)!

Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

Are you SURE he's YOUR son??

betsy said...

Sandy, have you SEEN him?