Saturday, March 31, 2007

Tae Kwon Do, The Bittersweet End To An Era

Today is Saturday and we are not at the Tae Kwon Do studio. Kind of weird. I'm still hardwired to hunt down his pants and shirt and belt. Today, I just had to make coffee and fix breakfast.

Leo has been taking Tae Kwon Do for 4 years. Like many parents, we used it for PT and OT reasons. I remember those first few times he went. I was so anxious after the many failed attempts at utilizing gymnastics and swimming, I passed the chore to Dad. After all, Dad in theory was in charge of gross motor.

Those first couple of months were tough, like everything new we tried. Leo was SOOHH overstimulated by the yelling (AYE!), the noise level can get very high and unanticipated. Mirrors everywhere, very confusing. Kids are moving around all directions. But we kept at it, actually HE kept at it. We saw that he really wanted to do it (he must have thought it was way easier than anything else we've offered up to this point).

Eventually he settled in and fell in love with this rule-bound individual sport.

Cool outfit?

Mom and Dad fell in love with the philosophy; To build a more peaceful world. TKD focuses on the positive aspects of an individual's personality: Respect, Courtesy, Goodness, Trustworthiness, Loyalty, Humility, Courage, Patience, Integrity, Perseverance (ha yeah, the irony), Self-control, an Indomitable Spirit and a sense of responsibility to help and respect all forms of life.

We fought so hard to find money to pay for it. We asked our district to pay for it too (one year they did).

Last year Leo began losing interest. His interest in team sports like soccer took over. He began losing enthusiasm for TKD. Sure, when we were there he enjoyed himself, but he began to complain about going. We took a couple Saturdays off, thinking some away time may rejuvinate him. That lasted a while. Getting a new belt.

The time had come to pay again for the year. Leo didn't want to renew, and talked about how he'd miss his instructor and his friends. I too felt conflicted about ending TKD. After all, will Leo's rate of development change (his coordination, his sensory integration). We sat down and talked about the pros and cons, and decided not to go back. We also realized if we regretted this later we could always join again. Leo was relieved to know he wouldn't have to start over with belts. He'd still be high red.

TKD made me feel safe. Letting go of the last piece of what I consider therapy is very difficult. I have to let go and let go of Leo a bit. Let him make some of his own decisions. Let him choose to try baseball this year even though I've already had bad dreams about that one (Leo getting hurt orfeeling inadequate, becoming resensitized in his face).

I've sat down to write the TKD instructor a caring note, but I'm just not in a place to do it just yet.

So spring soccer and spring (gulp) baseball it is.


mcewen said...

You're right, timing is everything, for him and for you.
Best wishes

Ashley loves Leo said...

Thanks McEwen. I feel like I'm winging it on every big decision.

Laura said...

That's tough! You're right, though, he can always go back. That's great that Leo is in a place where he can jump into new things!

I always think, "Oh yeah, I'm supposed to get my children involved in sports." And then another year passes. Well, Hutton did take a few soccer classes, right before he was diagnosed. They didn't "take." Who knows what the future holds?

Ashley loves Leo said...

True Laura. You NEVER know what's going to happen. I planned on Leo handing me picture cards forever, let alone playing a sport that includes other kids.

Reminds me of a joke. "How do you make God laugh?"

You make a plan.

Laura said...

Really, isn't it amazing to have things not go according to plan in this case?

Ashley loves Leo said...