For a few years now, my husband and I have been putting our son in activities with the hopes of him actually enjoying them. There was soccer, when he was 4, but the kids – including him – were more interested in pulling at clovers on the ground than kicking the ball. Then there was skating. I really hoped this would be something he would take to, because our town is a big hockey town. Most kids play it, and so if you don’t you are the odd man out. You miss out on the recess play, and you miss out on the weekend socializing. And it starts with skating. If you can’t even skate, you miss out on many of the birthday parties. Not wanting him to be left out, we made him go twice a week – I know, how could we? – for 6 months. We were so proud of him for sticking it out – even though he kept saying he hated it – and for becoming a pretty darn good skater. But we couldn’t coax him into doing it again last year, and honestly I didn’t want to force him to do it when he didn’t enjoy it at all. That may be a mistake, because many parents have said you just MAKE them do it and eventually they’ll enjoy it. Perhaps Wayne Gretzky hated skating at first too?? Maybe Tiger Woods wasn’t keen on playing golf for awhile?? Six months was a pretty good indication to me, and so that was it.
Last year we didn’t have him in anything, and so this year it was time to try something new. But what? As luck would have it, I was a parent volunteer at an event a few weeks ago, and while waiting for the kids, I got talking to another mom. Her son had decided to stop playing hockey – his dad nearly had a breakdown apparently – and he wanted to do Tae Kwon Do. Hmmmm…? I started asking questions. This could be it. This could be something that Zander might like. A few days later he went to a trial lesson…and really liked it. Three weeks later he is LOVING it!!
Tonight when he got home he wanted to show me and his dad some moves, he couldn’t stop talking about it, and, most importantly, he was smiling and happy. That makes me so happy. Especially because he has said some things that make me and my hubby think he is very unhappy in general. He is not the same social little guy he was up until senior kindergarten. He will do anything not to have to go to school. And he told me a few months ago that “friends are nothing but trouble”. That’s from a 7 year old. So he needs something that makes him excited and happy, other than playing Minecraft and reading alone. I am really hoping this love of Tae Kwon Do – which he says he wants to do forever! – will continue, and that he has found “his thing”. Plus, he looks super-cute in his uniform!