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CatSienna's Blog Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 03-03-2005 12:13 AM
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 218 (Private: 79)
Comments: 51
Views: 274,314

In General Kids Not Helping with Mats Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #184 New 07-09-2008 07:11 PM
Sometime back I wrote about a 13-year old who is allowed to join the adult class and who never helps with the mats. Earlier this week I found out why: it's the parents. The mother told me the father tells her not to help with the mats because she's tired after school, she's so small she can't do much etc (she's as tall as I am and frankly the adults don't expect too much just that she tries.)

That would explain a lot. It explains why despite being told, asked politely and eventually scolded by her sempai, she would always say yes but skulk upstairs rather than coming down to help despite being early. After all, father trumps sempai. It was only when the sensei himself went up to her and scolded her after one class in no uncertain terms that finally she showed up with mom instead of dad (who usually just sits and reads newspapers by the side).

I pointed out to the mother that everyone is supposed to come and help with the mats, and her child, especially since she was being allowed a special privilege to attend the adult class and be trained by the adult sempai, is doubly expected to do so. However that didn't seem to carry any weight as the mother then responded that, well, she's not been there that long (it's close to 6 months already) and that they'll start to pay adult fees soon at which point I really got annoyed and told her point blank that I can see where the problem lies, it's with the father's attitude that's the real cause of the problem isn't it and then walked off to class. I don't blame the child in this case any longer, as it's clearly the parents fault. To them money buys everything and those who have to do menial work like lay out mats are lesser beings than they.

She, her daughter and father, have lacked the emotional sensitivity to figure out if her child continues to behave in this way, her child will continue to bear the consequences as there's already a clear sense in the dojo that this is a difficult child to partner. The ones who care, scold her, the ones who don't simply avoid partnering her. All of us can sense her attitude and the attitude of her parents reflected in her.

Sometimes I think Karate Kid should be required watching for all kids taking up martial arts. At the end of the day, martial arts train the mind and heart as well as the body. It's extremely shortsighted of parents to think otherwise even though it clearly takes more effort in the short run to discipline. A child needs both love and discipline the balance of which each parent must divine as best they can. One without the other leads only to pain later in life as this child is discovering.
Views: 1955 | Comments: 4

RSS Feed 4 Responses to "Kids Not Helping with Mats"
#4 08-24-2008 12:19 AM
CatSienna Says:
Thanks for the comments. Just a postscript on what has happened since. The young lady was brought post the scolding she received from Sensei, by her father to lay mats before class. I haven't really seen her do it more than once though so I'm not yet sure if it's a change of heart or at least offering more than lip service to the scolding she received or just a token attempt. Time will tell.
#3 08-16-2008 01:11 PM
jducusin Says:
Part three of three...I hope the girl and her parents realize that in not helping out and in her not being disciplined, there will be a reciprocated sense of unfairness on the part of her fellow students towards her that will change how they react to her, just as in any community. Good luck with this, J
#2 08-16-2008 01:10 PM
jducusin Says:
Part two of three...Unfortunately, as you're noticing, it takes more than watching a movie to change this mentality for the better --- it takes a change of heart and good role models. The fact is, everyone (if they've been giving their all in practice) is tired afterwards and they still all help out as best as they can --- if an adaptation is to be made to dissuade the concerns of the girl's parents, can she not instead perhaps help stack the mats or sweep up or something else?
#1 08-16-2008 01:10 PM
jducusin Says:
Part one of three...Interesting observations. Sensei will often bemoan the fact that a lot of students approach training at a dojo like they would shopping at a grocery store: that paying money for it somehow gives them a sense of entitlement, that they are receiving a service in exchange. In contrast, a successful dojo is a team where everyone takes a sense of ownership and respect in their place of practice --- which means helping clean up after because they want to help out the team.

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