We arrived at karate today to be met by Tracey, who pounced on me as soon as she saw me. She handed me a sheet of paper and told me she needed me to write a testimonial for the new revised version of the dojo website. I was a bit taken aback, wondering what on earth positive I could dredge up to say, and then she hustled me and the kids downstairs to have our picture taken for the new site. Um….yeah, ok, whatever.
Fast forward to the end of Sean’s weapons class, which was pretty much a waste of his time. Brianna was in her gi, ready for class, in a great mood, sitting out in the lobby with me. Sensei came along and said hello, then asked her why she wasn’t in helping out in the weapons class. She didn’t think it was appropriate to point out that he already had four useless instructors standing around chatting with one another instead of teaching, so she just said something about not teaching anymore. Perhaps not the right thing to say, because he dragged her off into the office and proceeded to lecture her.
He ranted on and on about the “reasons” why he hasn’t hired her yet. I’m not even going to go into them, because of course they were totally different from the “reasons” he gave her the last three times he passed her over. By the end of their conversation – um, no, his rant, because she wasn’t able to get many words in between – she was in tears. Probably I should’ve intervened, but I felt perhaps I’d only make it worse.
So, Mr Big Shot Sensei, I hope you’re really happy with yourself that you made a teenaged girl cry today. I hope you’re happy that you upset her so much she left without attending her classes. And I really hope you’re happy with the following testimonial I have written:
I always thought karate was supposed to teach discipline, focus, and control. I was wrong. After seven years watching my children train, I have learned that what it really teaches is favouritism, nepotism, and sexism. My children have learned that it is apparently ok for adults to lie to them, lead them on to believe things that aren’t true, interfere with their progress and training, demean them in front of others, and undermine their self esteem and self confidence. And then they are confused when they are expected to show respect to those same adults. They have learned that it is ok to tell tales behind someone’s back and to show disrespect to someone you don’t like. They have learned that if there is a problem and you try to talk to the person who should help you resolve it, that person will only twist your words to make it seem as if it is entirely your fault. They have learned that it is not always the best that is rewarded, that ineptitude is tolerable, and that dedication and effort are irrelevant.
Despite all this, they continue to train. I can’t help but wonder what they’ll learn next….