Tuesday, June 5, 2007


G and M started karate classes this afternoon. I've been told that martial arts is very good for kids with attention issues, like G. The whole "self-discipline" approach and whatnot. It was a very interesting hour. The class was made up of about ten 4 and 5 year olds - boys and girls. All beginners. The instructor started the class by telling the preschoolers that "[t]he government of the United States is a democracy. My dojo is not. It is a dictatorship and I am the dictator. That means I am the boss and you do what I say." Wow. Not exactly the warm and fuzzy demeanor of preschool teachers, tot gymnastics coaches and tap dance instructors...

He didn't let any kid get away with not listening or doing what it was that he was telling them to do. After my initial blood pressure spike passed though, I listened and watched pretty intently. He never said anything mean or demeaning. He just called them on their shit. Not listening, not sitting still, messing around, whatever. And wouldn't you know it, after only about 5 or 10 minutes, my kids were following every damn instruction, almost to a T.

And no one cried. Or told me they don't want to go back.

AND, the very last instruction of class?

Mr. S: When is Mother's Day, guys?

M: Um, it's already past.

Mr. S: Wrong answer! When is Mother's Day, guys? Mother's Day is EVERY day! So, when is Mother's Day?

Kids: EVERY DAY!!!

Mr. S: Be good to your moms, guys. See you Thursday.

When J got home tonight, I asked G to tell him what he has to do when he gets to the dojo. G showed him the stiff little bow they do. And then I asked him what do they do when the leave the dojo. His answer: "Be good to my mom." (I was looking for him to do another Japanese-style bow...) I love it.

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