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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.