Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Back Flips or should I say, flipping back!

A few weeks ago Coach A. approached me and wanted to bump Lissa up to the more advanced level of gym classes.  Actually this is the class that prepares for meets and I heard from another parent the night we went that they are expected to come to two sessions a week starting in the summer.  Kind of a red flag for me, as Lissa is only 4.  She is not really ready for that level of commitment and I am not sure that I want that level of stress on her little growing body either.  But I didn't really have to decide because Lissa did.  She did well at the class when we tried it. But she wasn't happy.  At almost exactly the hour mark she came to me and said "I all done now, I go home."  The class is actually 90 minutes at this level, something else I told Coach A. didn't seem tailored to a somewhat flighty 4  year old.  And when we were walking out of the gym, Lissa burst into tears and said she didn't want to go to that class again.  I tried to talk about it during the week and she was adament. She wants to be  with her friends. Almost all the other kids are older in this class, it didn't feel fun.

Well I am not trying to raise the next Nadia, or Mary Lou, it is supposed to be fun!  The next week I had to work late so she missed class.  The following week I brought her for her former class time and collared Coach A.  I expected she would be understanding and perhaps regretful.  I did not expect that she would be ticked off!  She pointed out how well Lissa had done. I agreed but said I was not going to make my daughter cry over gymnastics.  She said that this whole thing surprised her because she really thought Lissa needed more of a challenge. I said that might well be true but she also wanted to be with friends, and the new class was from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. which was a really hard time for my daughter. She typically goes to bed at 6:30 since she wakens with the robins dawn chorus. 

About then, Coach A. said that Lissa was somewhat "disruptive" in her old class.  I said I agreed and that I had been kind of surprised at the antics that she allowed to go on.  In truth, I don't think Lissa is the only disruptive child, but  unfortunately she seems to kind of have a "ringleader" personality.  Coach A. said she does not want to have the role of disciplinarian. I said that I respect that, though most coaches I have dealt with do have a component of the disciplinarian in them.  I have always said that if Lissa is disruptive that she has the option of sending her to me and choosing whether to let her return to class or not.  But that the bottom line is that she was not happy in the more advanced class and would not be attending it.  As a little aside, I have paid for her enrollment in the less advanced class through June way back in September, , so if she kicks me to the curb she owes me a refund! LOL

Coach kind of backpedaled a bit then.  I don't want to be mean.  And I likely will not sign Lissa up next year.  I like to expose kids to lots of different things unless they show a passionate interest in something.  Lissa was passionate about this for about a year and a half which is a pretty long time for a little kid.  But it might be time to back flip on to some new challenges!


GB's Mom said...

Good for you! Pushing kids too early seems to be the rule these days.

Sunday Koffron said...

Oh, where to begin?

Discipline is absolutely a part of my job! (Something some of the younger coaches may not all that comfortable or effective with.)

Gymnastics is great for “flighty” kids (and coaches) lots of variety.

On one hand kids tend to focus better when they are being challenged, but sometimes they forget that they have to keep it fun for the little ones. She is 4, that is very young…there is no reason to push her if she is not into it. Gymnastics is much too tough to be doing if the child doesn’t love it and want to be there.