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Old 04-06-2011, 08:37 PM   #24
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

To rif a bit on Marc's post... I could have put my foot down and told my daughter to suck it up and deal with it. And she would have. She's a good kid. And strong willed. But she likely never would have had the time to get into soccer the way she did had I done that. Now that she's in soccer I've watched my daughter grow in many ways. Her leadership skills, her confidence, her striving to get better, her determination, and the list goes on. That is the gift from within. That is her finding a "do" for realizing what she can do, what she can accomplish, what her limits are, and so forth. All the things I value in my aikido training as a matter of fact.

My point isn't that I disagree all that much with your list. I've insisted on most every one of those things at times during my daughter's life. But... I have allowed her to quit. I do listen to her. No, I don't give in to her every whim. Sometimes I'm the bad guy. Sometimes it's my wife who's the evil one. Either way we try to be consistent *and* listen to her, understand her, see her perspective. When she was 5 it wasn't that difficult. Now that she's 10, well, her feelings, thoughts, etc. are all better formed. Sometimes she needs to make her own decisions. To succeed. To fail. On her own.

I agree with Mr. Bateman's comment above. I think some of us are reacting to the feeling that it seems overbearing.

FWIW I spent a lot of years working in developmental psych. Read all the books, did all sorts of studies, figured it would be a snap having my own child. Nope. My education began the day that little meat loaf looked up at me and smiled. I realized then it was going to be a heck of a lot more complicated than I thought.

So all that said... I agree with much of what you wrote. I'm just not sure I'd be quite as strident as it feels to me when I read your list.

Not everyone is cut out for Aikido. Like all things peoples' interests will vary. You can insist on hard training (have you read the book that caused a stir recently about "Tiger Mom's"?). Sometimes that results in people who are very good at something. Sometimes it results in people who are very good at something who tell you where to stick it at some point and never come back. And sometimes it creates damaged goods IMHO. If you're lucky you have a bunch of kids where that sort of approach resonates with them and builds good people.

But I'm pretty sure it never would have worked with my daughter and Aikido. She's pretty good at the little she learned. Amazing body awareness, reflexes, judgement and athleticism too. Which is precisely why she's so bloody good at soccer. Which she loves. So I'm not all that broken up that she "quit" aikido. She also quite ballet and jazz dancing (pretty darned good at that as well). And she quit art (not so good).

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