Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Celebration Day is full of Tears Instead

Despite the snow and ice and a snow day from school (and work), we had graduation today. But rather than ending up a day of celebration from getting new ranks, it ended up in tears instead.

Let me tell you about the less tearful part. My graduation went fine generally. I don't know that I forgot any of my form. I didn't pay attention to the others, as I felt that I had to concentrate on what I was doing rather than what everyone else was doing just to stay on track. I was distracted by events of earlier in the day, which I will tell in a moment. At least I was smart enough to look up where the ki-haps went, and was the only person who was doing my form who remembered them. SW said a big "thank you!" aloud which at least verified my effort in remembering that this is still a martial art! My weapon with the SJB didn't go as well as I had hoped, but again, I think it was mental distraction and adrenaline that messed me up. But, I tried some trickier moves than the standard freestyle, so I had to get at least some brownie points for trying. Like an "a" for effort. Sparring was against a skinny 13-14 year old green belt. I think I definitely proved, considering this was only the 3rd time that I had sparred since this whole cycle, that I could still spar and hold my own. I don't know if the kid knew what hit him. So all was said and done, I helped hold some boards for people who had to break for rank, and I got my red belt, so I'm that much closer to my black belt-- 6 months and counting.

So here's why there were tears. While technically Drew achieved rank, he did not receive his belt, or rather, it was taken away. In times past, I would've been upset at that, but in this case, I supported it, and in fact, and the reason he doesn't have it in hand.

Our afternoon started on a bad note to begin with. I had given him MANY warnings about when we had to leave. He whined and shrieked and complained so much that I forgot to bring my own bag with me, as I had intended to leave it at the school, thinking that after Drew's graduation we'd meet my husband for dinner, and then I could just go back to the ATA and do the graduation. Nope, I'd have to go back home anyway through the slush and ice to go get it. Great. (Please note, despite having an SUV with 4WD, I am still a nervous Nelly when it comes to driving in bad weather, and I did skid a little just before I even left our street today!). Anyway, things started out okay. Drew stood on his spot, he didn't jump around too much, he did his form and one steps well enough (I didn't see all of it, because SW was short-handed, and a lot of calls were happening due to people asking if graduation was cancelled due to the roads and weather). I did see enough, and he saw that I was watching, so all was fine. Then, as he was waiting for the next set of kids to be done (and this was a REALLY small group today-- he was one of 8 kids!), I didn't see it happen, but evidentally he knifehanded another kid in the stomach. All I saw was the discipline that ensued, which was that SW had Drew sit on the other side of the mats, away from that kid. After that, he pulled his temper tantrum/spoiled brat attitude. He was supposed to get up and do his weapon, but because he was in the middle of pulling his bad attitude, he didn't do it. While doing weapons as a color belt is optional, he lost his opportunity altogether to earn a silver star for his uniform. When it was time to line up, he did so VERY reluctantly. Being the highest rank, he got his last, which wasn't a big deal since there were so few kids, but (again, I didn't see this part, just the aftermath), upon getting back to his spot in lineup, he threw down his new belt (camo recommended-- half yellow, half camo), and kicked it away. SW told me she saw him do it, but due to it being graduation and all, she chose to ignore him. She told me later tonight, "You know, he's very astute. He kicked it, and while I saw it I didn't acknowledge it, and he looked back to see if I was going to react, and I didn't. That's when he kicked it again, and I continued to ignore him." I just didn't see the belt in hand, while I know she gave it to him, and then I saw her take it after graduation, I'm guessing from the floor where Drew had kicked it. She told me that it was up to me if he could get it back, but after enough of a tantrum and bad attitude in reaction to being disciplined and being overall uncooperative, I chose not to give it to him. He didn't deserve it, no matter how well he knows the moves and all. After bringing him into the back office to lecture him and give him a verbal lashing, I found out about the knifehand, and well, that just made it worse for him. I told him that he blew it. Because he did! He just had to get through 20 minutes (if not less) of this, and then he was done, and he didn't have to be with the baby class again. But to hear that he hit a kid? NOT ACCEPTABLE. So after getting him changed and trying to get him out the door, my eyes started welling up big time, but didn't release the tears until we were actually out the door. The whole ride home was both Drew and I crying our eyes out in frustration with each other, and my anger towards him, for his bad behavior and him embarassing both himself and me. There was no going out to dinner. In fact, I had nothing prepared to cook for dinner because I had planned on going out, and that wasn't going to happen.

Drew and I had a long talk, and he knows he doesn't have his belt, and that he has to shape up so he can attend the "big kid" classes, and that I would be taking class with him, so there was nothing to be scared of in moving up. I explained to him how SW made it my decision whether he got his new belt, and that I had told her not to give it back right away. So, a lot of tears, a lot of talking, a lot of sadness. Not something you want to hear about on graduation day, let alone graduation on Valentine's Day, no less. At least not these kinds of tears.

I talked to SW before my graduation, as she could see that I wasn't exactly in the best mindset. She said I could've skipped class tonight under the circumstances, but I needed some space from Drew, that's how angry, sad and frustrated I was. I didn't even eat any dinner until I got home tonight, that's how upset I was-- I couldn't eat. She filled me in with a few more details, some of which I have already mentioned, and we discussed things a bit. At least we are on the same page. So, at least she is leaving it up to me as to how he gets the belt back, and she doesn't have a problem with me starting him in camo-red belt classes. She agreed on my thinking about moving him up, and she is confident, if he can learn some more self-control, that he will do well.

I guess to end this sad store on an up note, I will repeat something SW said about the knifehand incident part of the story. While she was pretty sure that Drew didn't mean to hurt or injure the kid purposely, she did say, "I do have to say, his technique was awesome-- it was a beautiful knifehand!"

So what should have been a happy day ended up being a sad day. I still have a headache from crying so hard about it. There are things going on with Drew that go beyond TKD but spill into TKD that I have to figure out how to get him whipped into shape, and I don't mean physical shape. He is capable of so much and so much more, and I don't know how to get him to reach his potential, both in and out of class. Hopefully I'll find a solution sooner than later. I need to find a way for him to earn his belt back from me before we start back with classes. We'll take the weekend off, or at least he will.

Pray to the deity of your choice or send some good karma that I can find a solution to this. It's literally making me crazy. :-(

PS-- sorry no photos. Nobody takes photos of me as I always end up coming by myself, and Drew didn't get his belt, so no photo. This is the first time since he started almost 2 years ago that I haven't photographed him with a new belt. ;-(,,,,


Anonymous said...

"Oceandirt" here. Congrats on your red belt accomplishment, Windsornot. I look forward to seeing how awesome you look in it (it will look great with your red collar! lol) I'm sorry your success was overrun by the sadness from earlier in the day. I have a suggestion for how he can earn the belt back though. Can you set up some kind of activity at home over the weekend that would take about the same 20 minutes he should have behaved. A chore, a combination of a chore with showing you his form, or something else that would require sitting still or doing what he's told for the required 20 minutes. And also I think a heartfelt apology to the kid he hit and/or to SW for the disrespect he showed his new belt might help. Anyway I know you'll come up with something good. --Sandy

frotoe said...

Congratulations on your new belt! Its too bad about Drew, but you did the right thing. It must be very frustrating. How old is he?

hardheaded is my middle name said...

A big challenge is moving kids from the tigers to K4K class. The interesting thing is, we have 3 boys that are 5 that come to the 7-12 year old class, because that is either when they can get there, or their brothers are older. And wouldn't you know it, 2 of those kids are better than the older ones! So it has shown us that if you treat them like a K4K instead of a tiger, they don't have a problem - they'll get it.

The hard part comes in moving them up... we have 2 kids that are close to moving up, and I'm not sure the best way to handle the transition. Eventually, kids will understand what is not tolerated - it just might take a lot of pushups.

I think you made the right decision to keep his belt. That is the first step for him in understanding what kind of behavior will not be tolerated. TKD will always be there.... that's one of the great things about it.

Congrats on your red belt!! I skipped mine, went strait from brown to red/black. If I could go back to being a color belt, now that I'm a black belt, I would. You've almost mastered the process of learning, so now you can get down to business. Enjoy your journey!!