Friday, March 18, 2011

Progress, But Not Without Holes

He did it. My son earned a green belt in his karate class yesterday.

I marveled at how well Kai did. He really knew all of the kata (karate movements), performing them as well as any of the kids. He performed with no hesitation, demonstrating his confidence.

Even more amazingly, he kept quiet while the other kids were performing their routines. The first time Kai took a karate test more than a year ago, he couldn’t stop chatting and laughing when he was watching the others. We felt embarrassed over how disrespectful he was. This time, after being the first to perform the test, he managed to sit still while all the other kids had their turns.

There was another thing that surprised me that had nothing to do with performing karate. When one of the teenaged sempai (teaching assistant) entered the locker room before the test, Kai greeted him with a loud “Hello, Michael.” He followed up with an enthusiastic “How are you doing?” I don’t recall very many times when my son initiated a social greeting like that, at least not without following it up with a question about elements or the other person’s age.

The day wasn’t a complete success, however. Kai came home from school with a large hole in the green t-shirt he wore for St. Patrick’s Day. He had bitten his shirt when he got upset in P.E. over being tagged in a tagging game.

That’s my son. One moment he chews holes in clothing over something that makes no sense to us; another moment he impresses us with how much he has matured.

I’ll take the progress. Now, we need to fill in the holes.

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