He has just joined our studio. He is three and a half years old. He is unfocused, inattentive, and hyperactive. He has trouble staying on the mat, following directions, or working with other kids. He has run through class, run out of class, hit other kids, and hit his parents. And, yet, I love this kid. He has such a sparkle in his eye that just speaks to me. He is so happy all the time. He has a zest for life that can be misunderstood or mislabeled. When he came to his first class, I was given the option to tell his parents that he was too young to join karate. I said that he needs karate more than any kid I know. And so he has joined us. His gains in class are minute, measured in seconds of additional focus rather than minutes. I can see them, though I believe I am the only one at this point.
When he arrived today, it was with the same whirlwind entrance that he always enters with. He came skipping and dancing up to me and proudly presented me with a beautiful bouquet of yellow, sunburst looking flowers. I don’t know the name of the flower, but they are beautiful. He says “Thank you for having my patience.” He meant patience with me. What he doesn’t know, nor do any of my other parents or students know, is that patience is the easy part for me. Whether they kick high or not, or punch straight or not, or break a board, or run around the mat–patience is the easy part. It is easy to have patience when you see the growth and the confidence build. It is easy to have patience when you see the smiles and excitement. Patience is the easy part.
And so he arrived this morning, ready for class with flowers to share. Yes he ran off the mat, yes he hit another student, and yes his parents removed him for a time. But he did drills while standing in line and stayed focused on that portion of class. Baby steps forward and now I have beautiful flowers to enjoy this week from a sweet, wonderful, misunderstood, whirlwind child. I can’t wait to see him on Wednesday.