Saturday, April 17, 2010

O for Orange Belt

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?


Lisa said...

YES! Things can sometimes be inexplicable and especially when it comes to kiddos! :) Your son is a cutie.


What a wonderful son, I bet you were proud he achieved his Orange Belt, as to why he decided to not go any further well that's children for you.
Enjoy your week-end.

slommler said...

Congrats to your son for his orange belt. I would be interested as to why he really didn't want to continue?? Maybe peer influence? A girl? LOL!! One never knows with kids!?!

Helen Ginger said...

Someday he'll tell you why he didn't want to continue karate. And, who knows, maybe he'll take it back up in the years to come. I do applaud you for introducing him to new activities, though!

Straight From Hel

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If an activity isn't challenging enough, one grows bored. Even though your son was good at it, karate just didn't stretch him the right way and he lost interest.

Grammy said...

Hi, I just did "catch up" on your last three postings. They are all so very interesting! I am thinking perhaps something embarrassing may have happened in the karate class. He maybe could have been bested by a girl, or something. Hmm. As Alex said, perhaps he just lost interest because he found the activity not challenging enough. Hope you find out soon.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I know that capoeria is extremely high energy, so perhaps that will be his calling! Plus it has drums. How fabulous is that? It's good for kids to try many, many different things.

Jaydee Morgan said...

I've learned to stop questioning the things my kids do/don't do. If you don't, it can be a crazy ride with no stop in sight.

Not enough hours! said...

@ Lisa - so true, and thanks

@ Yvonne - yes, it was a proud moment. But I do wish he had continued.

@ SueAnn - Unlikely to be a girl, but you never know.

@ Helen - I would have wanted him to continue, but no point forcing him. If he does tell me, I'll be sure to let you know.

@ Alex - come to think of it, that is the most likely explanation.

@ Ruby - yes, it could be that he was bested by a girl. He's at the stage when girls are silly giggly creatures, so to have one do better may have upset him.

@ Debra - if there are drums, he is likely to enjoy capoeria even more than karate. Maybe it is good he decided not to go with it.

@ Jaydee - you have a point.

Slushpile Slut said...

Hey Rayna! You know, I think it's awesome that you're letting your son decide, sometimes that's hard to do as a parent but it's really important to let children come into their own as an individual!

Jemi Fraser said...

He may be the kind of kid who likes to try out everything - that was me when I was little. Or maybe his best buddy is doing something else :) He may also miss it and go back to it later - you never know what's going on in their minds.

Al said...

At least Karate is cheaper in terms of equipment than violin, clarinet, cello, saxophone which was one of my daughter's lists.
Your post also reminds me of how we used to tickle my sister mercilessly until she took up Karate. The entertainment wasn't worth the pain after that!

Patricia Stoltey said...

There's no second guessing the little darlings, and it continues as they grow older. My oldest son was built like a football player, so of course the high school football coach (American football) did his best to recruit my son. Son tried it out for a while, came home exhausted and covered with bruises. Soon he announced he was quitting. "If I'm going to work this hard and suffer this much," he said, "I intend to get paid for it." He turned to computers and math and that's where he stayed.

Raquel Byrnes said...

That is so funny about kids, isn't it. My daughter abruptly gave up horseback riding lessons this past year...only to pine for it and request it again this summer. Maybe going full bore on something burns them out for a little bit?? Perhaps he'll return to karate later.

Mason Canyon said...

Kids are very unpredictable. Your son sounds like he has thought this through. Maybe by next year he will go back to the karate and then again, find something new that he enjoys even better. Congratulations on his earning his orange belt. That's awesome. Congratulations to you too for being a Mom that lets her children decide what activities they enjoy without pressuring them.

Thoughts in Progress

Ellie said...

Kids are funny and have a mind of their own. Something struck him, perhaps someone made a comment, regarding the activity or something else
being more fun. Eventually it will reveal itself!

Congrats on the orange belt; He is adorable!

Marjorie said...

He probably just got burned out on it. He was probably excited at first and then decided that it was no longer living up to his expectations.

Not enough hours! said...

@ Slushpile Slut - I have found out the hard way that it doesn't make sense to force kids to do something they don't want. Better to just let them make their own mistakes, instead of forcing them to make my mistakes.

@ Jemi - his buddy is doing something else, but he doesn't want to do that either. But you may be right about him wanting to try something else out for a change. And who knows, he may choose to come back to karate.

@ Al - ouch! I have one set of keyboards, but that is nowhere near as expensive as those other instruments your daughter took up and left.

@ Patricia - I love the attitude of your oldest son. And good that he is doing something he loves.

@ Raquel - I am hoping he does come back to this someday, simply because he is good at it. And has your daughter got back to riding now?

@ Mason - as long as he has fun doing whatever he chooses, I guess I shouldn't mind too much. After all, the only important thing is that the kid be happy doing whatever he is doing.

@ Ellie - I am sure it is something rather trivial, but which was important to him.

@ Marjorie - he liked it till very recently. Maybe someday, I will get to know why he was suddenly disappointed.


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