I remember when my daughter, Rachael, first started going to karate, almost two years ago.
Oh, man. I was embarrassed. I know now that being embarrassed was kind of a dumb thing to feel, but at the time: embarrassed. She couldn’t stand still. She’d fidget through the whole class. She’d run around in circles. She’d sit when she was supposed to stand and stand when she was supposed to sit; she’d talk while the sensei was talking. I felt like, “Ah! I’m a terrible parent, to raise such a wiggly child!”
Now I can see that that was part of the problem: I was trying to raise a wiggly child by making her hold still. It just doesn’t work like that.
I watched her teachers work with her over the last couple of years. Yes, some of them did try to make her hold still. But most of them just ignored her unless she was bothering someone else, and it just kind of…worked itself out. Maybe it was seeing the other kids–the older ones, paying attention. The younger ones, acting like fruit loops. And sometimes the older ones acting like fruit loops and the younger ones paying attention. Maybe it was just that things got harder, and she had to pay attention, if she wanted to stay at the same belt level as her friends. Maybe it was that the people who paid attention and asked questions…got more attention back, over time. Or something else, I don’t know.
I do know that fussing and trying to make her hold still wasn’t making either of us happy.
So here are to two years of karate, and to Rachael for getting her brown belt yesterday! I am so very, very proud of her.