Monday, May 05, 2008

Anyone wise?

UPDATE: I went to pick up Mr. Contrary's brother and Mr. Contrary was not at pick up, meaning of course, he decided to do the wise thing and go to karate after all.

Thanks so much for all your wisdom and input! Be assured both my husband and I did everything we could to determine any and all possible motivations for quitting before we finally reached the conclusion that there was no good reason. Therefore we have decided to tow this line, heaven help us! (yes, please, Lord!)

Parenting is hard, no two ways about it. We have discovered what some of you have long known to be true: the difficulty factor only increases (exponentially!) as your children get older. How we need the wisdom of the Lord (and of a few good blog friends as well!)

My son has not yet made it home. I am praying for a miracle: a good mood. For me and my son. To God be the glory.


Help! I am needing a fresh dose of wisdom...and perspective...and affirmation...and maybe a rebuke or two...

My ten year old son, aka the "contrary one," has suddenly decided he no longer likes karate and wants to quit. He did not go last week (he has lessons twice a week) while his daddy and I tried to decide if there was good reason for his quitting.

Deciding "I just don't want to" wasn't adequate reason to pay the hefty monthly tuition (which we have to do this month regardless of whether or not he attends), I told him that today he had to be mature and do what he does not want to do: he must go to karate. Time to learn a lesson in fulfilling your commitment or reimburse your parents, take your pick. As you might imagine, particularly if you are a parent of a contrary child, it went over like a lead balloon.

So he just called me from school. (insert whiny voice here) "I don't feel good. My stomach hurts. It hurts, Mama. Can you come get me?"

I'm sorry but I don't believe him. I've left him at school. At least for now. What say you? Am I cold hearted and cruel?

He is to go to karate directly after school (the lessons are there at the school). If he is waiting on me when I get to the pick up, well, it will not be pretty.

Words of wisdom welcome!


  1. If he's not throwing up or feverish, you are probably doing the right thing, in my humble, but admittedly not claiming to be wise opinion. I would handle it the same way, I think, with my own contrary son (yes, I have one, too, and yes, I pray often for wisdom!). I have, in fact, handled similar situations that way. And felt like Evil Mom-Lady while in the midst of it.

    For clarification, are you all just asking him to finish out the month since you're already obligated to pay for it? Is it possible for him to stick it out this month, attend the practices, and allow him to quit next month without the financial cost to the family - affirming your teaching him responsiblity and honoring commitment, but also allowing for an ending if he really wants to quit for good? If so, can you reason with him about that aspect at all?

    Comment low on suggestions but high on affirmation - be the mom!


  2. For clarification's sake: the karate ends this month with the end of school (it is offered as part of the after school program). So yes, we are only asking him to finish out this month, three weeks' worth.

  3. pray..pray..pray....

    Watching them learn the hard way is often harder for the parent than the child.

  4. OOOPS....I have gotten my comments mixed up - when you read the comments from the french toast will know what I mean...LOL - I need a keeper....


  5. Oh wow, I'm having a similar situation with my 10 1/2 year old in regards to fencing. We have allowed him to take a break--we only have to pay for the months he is there. Plus, with me out of driving right now, Husband is not able to take him to the practices. But we find ourselves in a similar quandary, wanting him to complete the commitment and persevere even through difficulty.

    I empathize, friend, and will pray for your wisdom in this decision. I'm with Rebekah on the stomach thing though, unless physical symptoms accompany the complaint, I take the firmer line as well.

  6. No words of wisdom from me, but you do have my sympathy. Sounds like you are doing the right thing. I'll pray for you...parenting is tough at times!

  7. I agree that you're doing the right thing.

  8. Ah, the question is: does he REALLY not like karate anymore, or is something else keeping him from wanting to go?
    THAT is what takes the wisdom... maybe probe him without making him feel defensive about the situation, and see if you can figure out what's really "up."
    Then, if it's just that he wants to skip out on the commitment, yep, I'd make him finish, too.
    Not words of the wise, just words of the "been in that boat a few times..."

  9. I think you're doing the right thing!

  10. There's always a driving force behind our desires (as well as our kids) for wanting to "quit" something. I wouldn't discount his feelings. However, I'm all about consequences for choices, and I think your offering him to pay for the remaining classes is a good option.

    I realize I have absolutely no knowledge of your son and your situation, so for what it's worth...that's my take on things. But I would explore his reasons...get to the root of the matter. As a mother, you are capable of such an undertaking.

    "Contrary" kids do grow up to be productive members of society. I have one of them, and what has emerged is far more than I thought would ever emerge in all those earlier years. He's the joy and treasure of my heart.

    Be blessed in your parenting. You will do the best and right thing for your child.


  11. My mother always made me finish what I started. . . Girl Scouts, gymnastics, whatever. . . and I did. And was glad she persevered. And I passed on that philosophy to my children.

    My daughter returned to piano lessons after a two year break. And plays all the time now without being told to practice.

    Hang in there. . .Kids don't come with instructions!

  12. I am now 10 posts behind on what you have been writing. But this one caught my eye because 1) I tend to be contrary myself, and 2) my husband and I just started taking karate ourselves in January.

    Karate is fun, hard, challenging, boring, and good all in one fell swoop. It requires discipline. It's boring to keep repeating the same techniques until I "get it". It's fun when I do "get it".

    In addition to just being contrary, I suspect that there is some of the above dynamic going on as well. I hate practicing my basics so that I can test for my next belt color. But it's fun learning the bunki (or attacking) moves.

    It's hard to be a kid and not really know what you ultimately want and not be able to see the big picture of this is good for you.

    And it's hard being the parent seeing that sticking with a thing even when you don't "want" to is really a good thing.

    Praying for continued discernment!

  13. My mother always made me finish what I started. . . Girl Scouts, gymnastics, whatever. . . and I did. And was glad she persevered. And I passed on that philosophy to my children.

    My daughter returned to piano lessons after a two year break. And plays all the time now without being told to practice.

    Hang in there. . .Kids don't come with instructions!