A Surprise Gift

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.

5 thoughts on “A Surprise Gift

  1. What an enjoyable slice! You certainly are suited to your job and those students of yours are lucky to have you. It does take the right lens to see through the whirling to understand the child beneath. You created such a lovely image of him handing you starburst flowers, saying, “Thank you for having my patience.” And maybe, in some sense, you really do have his patience, but with your time and focus, you are gently and gradually trickling it back to him so that he, in turn, can shine in class in his own special, delightful, unique way and attend to the drill and make those minute gains. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Thank you for sharing this slice! This little fellow is lucky to have you as his teacher! I love how you focus on the positive and not the negative. We all need to remember to celebrate and appreciate baby steps.

  3. You are a wonderful gift to this child. I commend you for your insight to knowing what this child needs and finding even the most minute successes to celebrate. It is evident that you have already made a difference.

  4. I. Love. This. Slice. Thank God this kid has you in his life. It could pay off in spades for him as he grows and figures out his way – thanks to your guidance. Way to go, Sue!!!!!

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