Thursday, February 11, 2010

In Which I Almost Burst into Tears in a Room full of Men

Megan is what some might refer to as a "spirited" child. She is oodles of fun, has the best giggle and the brightest smile, she loves to help, she rocks out to all varieties of music, she taught herself to dance hip-hop style. The thing is, every little bit of that must be on her own terms. If someone else attempts to dictate their terms (even, or should I say - especially - her parents), her heels dig in so hard they leave little dents in my hardwood floors. When I ship her off to her tenth time-out in an hour, I say this little mantra in my head, "Having a strong will is good. No one will talk her into doing anything she doesn't want to do. She is a leader." And I know in my heart all these things are true.

We have run into a couple unfortunate incidents, though, where Meg's little size 11 heels have dug into someone else's floor - specifically, her teacher's. You see, there were certain activities that she did not want to participate in. So she didn't, doesn't, wouldn't, won't. Because of her spirited nature, our instinct as parents was to break her will (along the lines of breaking a horse in order to tame it). Unfortunately, Megan's response to our tactics was more akin to that of a mule than a horse.

So we began praying. (Yes, we probably should have done that much earlier on.) God, as He is faithful to do, answered. He had me in the right place at the right time in order to witness Megan's withdrawal and refusal to participate. And when I saw it, I knew that we had overlooked something much more insidious than a strong will. I saw shyness, discomfort, lack of self-confidence, fear, and anxiety.

So, we decided to try karate. Megan took to the training right away. That girl can punch!

In the class, because it's a parent-kid class, we also play games. The games, well, let's just say she didn't really take to those the same way. Thankfully, the Sensei didn't push and was fine with Meg standing back and watching us do chicken fights (not the kind you're thinking of!), play tag, bear crawl, and so on. She was also not particularly fond of doing the keyai (I've no idea how to spell Japanese words, but that is the word used to describe the shout that accompanies a punch/kick/block).

Last night, I had the incredible opportunity to witness God answering another prayer.

Halfway through the class, we took a little "fun break" and did some bear crawls and crab walks. By we I mean the whole class - including Meg. Later on, as we were practicing our kata (routine) I heard her keyai beside me. The Sensei wrapped the class up with a good ol' round of chicken fighting. Two boys went, then two men, then he called up Megan and another little girl. I held my breath, clenched my teeth, and used every ounce of will power I have to resist turning and looking at her. My Megan, she jumped up onto the mat, bowed to her opponent, and promptly kicked her butt! Well, technically she just knocked her off balance. She got paired with a boy later on, and I noticed only a millisecond of hesitation before she stood.

As I sat beside that blue gym mat watching my six-year-old daughter chest bumping an eight-year-old boy, it was all I could do to hold back the tears of joy.

I am certain that our Sensei, his helper, and the four dads in the class are all very appreciative of my restraint.

I now notice that my left punch is totally NOT about to hit my opponent in the solar plexus. Clearly, I have a bit of work to do on my form.

Just look at her! Is that not the face of a confident girl?!

1 comment:

  1. I love it! The story, the picture, the confidence. Oh how proud I am!!!



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