When my older one entered Grade 1 last year, we were asked to select two Extra-curricular Activities for him. After a bit of deliberation, we picked “Keyboards” and “Karate”. Keyboards because the kid is musically inclined and has been correctly identifying tunes since before he learnt to speak, and Karate because we thought he would fight less with his younger brother if he had martial arts to vent his pent up energy on.
Keyboards he hated from the very first day. Initially, I thought it was just lack of discipline- he did not like practicing, and how can you learn an instrument if you don’t make an effort – but later I realised that the teacher was perhaps not a very inspiring one. When he wanted to drop the Activity, I insisted that he finish the year, but promised that he could drop the Activity at the end of the year provided he made an effort during the year.
But karate, I always thought he liked. Wednesdays were the only day when I did not have trouble waking him up in the morning- I only had to mention the magic words, “today is karate day”, and he would get up without further ado. He was over the moon when he got his yellow belt at the end of the first term, and not only did the wear the belt almost constantly for two days, he couldn’t stop talking about the day when he would get his black belt. He was always ready to demonstrated his moves, and though I don’t know anything about martial arts, I was impressed by the way he moved.
Then, towards the end of the term, he stopped being interested in karate. He seemed almost indifferent to putting on his uniform and going to school on Wednesdays, and while he continued to demonstrate his moves at home, he informed me that he had no intention of continuing with the Activity in Grade 2.
I tried reasoning with him, but while he accepted my compliments gracefully, he refused to be swayed from his decision to discontinue the activity. “But you will get an orange belt next year, and a green belt the following year, and eventually you will get a black belt like your sir”, I told him, but it had no impact on him. “I don’t want to do karate. Karate is so silly,” he insisted.
I was disappointed, but eventually gave in to him. What was the point of forcing him to take up an Activity he was not keen on? It made sense to let him do what he liked, rather than what I thought he should be doing. I signed him up for basketball and capoeria.
On the last day of school, when I went to pick up his report card, the teacher handed me an orange belt. Around the same time that he suddenly developed his aversion to the activity, my son had taken his exams and had been awarded the next higher belt. His assessment in karate was also good – straight Bs. Why the kid suddenly decided to give up the activity when he was clearly good at it, is beyond me. All I know is that the orange belt he earned may never be worn. Unless he changes his mind next year.
Things are inexplicable, aren’t; they?