Friday, August 7, 2009


Tonight at kuk sool won class Lucy about broke my heart. She always falls asleep on the way to class and I purposefully leave about an hour early so she can get a good rest. Lucy is pretty subdued in class due to just waking up, it being Friday evening and her still being a little "new" to the art.

I love this class. They do a special evening for preschoolers. The instructors seem to totally get kids. Each week the class focuses on a skill, a living skill. The ones I recall are; right attitude, patience, self-control, over coming fear, perseverance. The instructor sits the kids in a circle at the beginning of class and talks about the word, asking the kids for input etc. Then the class begins. They do fun activities, obstacle courses, animal walks, balancing, practicing kicks and blocking. The kids LOVE the activity where they wear pads on their arms and try to block the balls that the instructors throw at them!

What I REALLY LOVE about this class for Lucy is that the instructors lovingly and respectfully EXPECT the kids to do the activity in the correct way. The kids stand in attention position, in a line and they can't just choose where to stand, they have their place in line. Lucy (aka control freak) tries every which way to claim her own spot, to stand in a different location etc. To me, it seems like "hey at least she's standing on the line and paying attention ... good enough!" Each and every time, they correct her. They tell her to move to her place, and she does. No shaming, no yelling, just consistent expectations.

They give complicated directions, and have elaborate obstacle courses. If a kid doesn't do it correctly they have to start over EVERY TIME. It's not a judgement, it's not mean, it's just how it works.

Tonight the obstacle course involved holding on to rings (like gymnastic rings) and swinging over a red pad onto a blue pad, landing on the blue pad then jumping from black square to black square without landing on the floor, then leaping over some pillow type things, going up a balance beam, jumping from pad to pad, doing a "back fall" and then navigating over some posts without touching the ground. Lucy never made it past the balance beam. She went 6 times before she even made it TO the balance beam. Every single time she slipped and hit the floor they sent her back. She was trying soooo hard. I wanted her to make it so bad and she NEVER did. You know what? She didn't seem the least bothered by it. Lucy was focused on the task at hand. Did you hear that? Let me shout it out: LUCY WAS FOCUSED ON THE TASK AT HAND. She kept trying and these amazing instructors praised her for what she did correctly. She tried a dozen times, never made it more then 1/2 way through the obstacle course but Lucy was a complete success.

The class is challenging for Lucy in all the right ways. Emotionally, socially and physically. They keep on her, pay attention, look at Sir, no talking unless it's a question ... I think we could use 1/2 hour of this class every evening.

Watching her struggle so much to pay attention even in an environment where she gets to move around and have fun is really hard. Not knowing if she actually can't figure out how to move her body a certain way or if she just doesn't want to is hard too. I want to cry for her struggles and for her successes. Lord parenting makes me emotional!

FYI I linked to the school/class we attend. It's fun AND (dare I say) therapeutic.


MysteriousMindy said...

wow...what a great post! Yay for Lucy's perseverance, attention, and this excellent opportunity for both you and Lucy to grow

Nancy said...

I have a lot of respect for these classes. They teach discipline and respect in such a gentle but challenging way as you described.

K grew up with Tae Kwon Do. I used to enjoy attending his sessions much like you do with Lucy. I even took a class along with him one summer. It is hard to watch our kids struggle - but struggle is what grows us. I always think of the butterfly story.

I hope to have Mimi start TKD when she hits kindergarten - God willing she will cooperate ;)

zanne said...

isn't it great what a good instructor/teacher can do for our kids. congrats to your girl for doing so well. i have a boy that seems to be very much like your girl, so i signed him up for ballet when he was 4. yes. i said ballet. it's the best thing i've ever done for him. i send him to the Royal winnipeg ballet school where the teachers expect him to focus and do the job. i'm going to keep him there for as long as i can. he learns more at ballet, than at school where there are no expectations at all.

Steffen said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, Stacy. For anyone who is interested, the Pre-Martial Arts class that Lucy takes is listed on our website:

Take care,

Nicki Jones, co-owner Kuk Sool Won of St. Paul