The other day, Horus and I had an argument. It ended with Horus hollering at me, in no uncertain terms, “I HATE learning! I’m never going to learn anything again, EVER! And if YOU hadn’t learned so much, you could be surviving by foraging in the woods right now!!! Too bad for you!!”
This is a child who reads approximately 3.5 youth novels every day (the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series is his current favourite–not sure it would be my #1 pick, but I encourage his reading *anything* he wants, without restriction) and who has absorbed and can relay more factual information about plants and animals than I have managed to remember in a lifetime of schooling.
Yesterday, he was kicked out of his gymnastics class, for incessantly crawling around like an animal, refusing to do as instructed, and generally making an obstinate nuisance of self.
My feelings, as usual, are mixed. I want, so badly, for him to at least be *able8 to function in the world. I want him to have the skills to play the game, and I want for him to be able to actively *choose* to not play the game if that is his sincere desire–rather than being automatically excluded from society because he simply can’t manage himself successfully within it.
I can understand, to a large extent, why he gets frustrated with his gymnastics class. His instructor actively and evidently dislikes him, which makes him feel uncomfortable, and uninspired. I don’t fault the young man who leads the class for this; it is entirely understandable that he might find Horus unpleasant. But I also feel for Horus: it’s almost impossible to be receptive to learning without a loving connection between student and teacher.
Horus is also (and I don’t really think this is just parental pride, but I accept I may be biased) legitimately talented or gifted when it comes to his physical agility and abilities. He has an unstoppable urge to move, run, jump, climb. I can see, in the gymnastics class, that he is just itching with impatience, as he stands in line (or attempts to), listening (or attempting to listen) to the lacklustre directives, and waiting in a row to perform a maneuver that he would do a hundred times over without hesitation, or restraint, or tiresome regulations, in our back yard.
It’s a real conundrum for me. Maturity means buckling down and doing things that we may not want to do. But at this stage (age 7), I’m having a hard time seeing the point of paying hundreds of dollars for him to feel bored and humiliated in a situation that clearly isn’t serving him.
So, we’re quitting gymnastics, and instead, I’m going to take him to the group Parkour drop-in, in Fredericton. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than gymnastics, and I’m hoping that he might find some kindred spirits there, among a group who might encourage him in doing what he does, and being who he is, rather than insisting that he conform–yet, anyway.
Horus and I went for a walk the other day, just the two of us (before the snow returned for one last hurrah), and the kid who announced his abdication from any further learning insisted on bringing along his New Brunswick Nature Guide, and told me all about the various buds he identified along the way, and the clay deposit he found in the stream, and he twirled his sticks and jumped from rock to rock, and he was happy, and free, and I guess when it comes down to it, i can’t see the harm in accommodating and encouraging his happiness and freedom, and running with, rather than against, his wild nature.