“It’s going to take some time, Mom,” is what the Martial Arts Instructor told me on Monday. “You just have to be patient.”
I thought he meant it would take some time for my child to progress, which was more than OK with me. Honestly, we aren’t signing him up with the idea he’ll be a black belt in TaeKwonDo by the time he’s 5. We are attempting to find a sport that Calvin loves. We’re also looking for a way for Calvin to channel his energy in a less aggressive way and to learn some impulse control.
Flash forward to today: Calvin’s first day at TONCHU Martial Arts. He had his uniform and he was excited! He gave the instructor a high five. He bowed and sat on the mat with his classmate. Then he promptly stood up and told me that he wanted to go home.
If you’re a mom or dad, you’ve probably been in a very similar situation. And you probably said something similar to what I said – “No, we’re not leaving. It’s a half hour class, and we’re staying for 30 minutes. You can participate or you can sit on my lap, but we aren’t leaving.” The next 10 minutes went painfully slow as my child cried in my lap that he wanted to leave, and I held firm.
Finally, the owner/instructor/miracleworker was able to coax my crying child out of my lap and onto the mat with the promise of stickers. I was amazed and thrilled… for about a minute. The following 15 minutes were spent in absolute embarrassment and terror as my 4 year old tantrumed, flailed, and screamed while the other children attempted to go about their lesson. (Luckily the other parents seemed to glance at me in solidarity and pity rather than judgement!) Finally, the instructor asked if we could come back tomorrow, so he could work with Calvin 1-on-1, to which I agreed.
I was angry. Angry doesn’t even begin to describe it. I was livid, furious, pissed off! And, then…. he surprised me.
Calvin composed himself and said “I like Karate. I want to get my blue sticker.” The blue sticker was the prize the instructor was promising for completing the tasks.
“It’s too late, Calvin. The class is over. We’ll try again tomorrow.”
“Mama, can I ask him if I can try again today?”
“Buddy, it looks like he’s busy with another customer.”
“Can we wait?”
And wait we did. We waited and waited. He was patient and quiet. When the instructor came out, he asked, “May I try again? I want the blue sticker.” And the owner/instructor/miracleworker obliged. He took Calvin aside for some individual work, and he did well. Really well. He got 3 stickers from the instructor for his hard work.
I thanked him profusely for his time and his patience with Calvin. He smiled. “No problem.” He reminded me, “It’s just going to take some time, Mom. You just have to be patient.” And this time I knew, he wasn’t talking about TaeKwonDo skill progression.