Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dodge Ball Daddy

Day 324
The little dark-haired boy bows off the karate mat and pulls his dad into the circle to play.  The dad, a shy man who speaks with a foreign lilt, holds the boy’s younger brother in his arms and struggles to balance the child while simultaneously being dragged back onto the padded floor.

A. recently started taking bi-weekly karate lessons.  Each class consists of karate instruction, a game and a talk on a character trait.  These little talks are worth the monthly tuition price. 

“We’re going to play a game where you’ll need to exhibit self-control,” A.’s karate instructor explains. “Can anyone tell me what self-control is?” 

“Doing what your mom says?” one offers.  His answer lifts up as a question. 

“Doing what you should,” another says with more confidence.

“Not hitting your brother?” A few parents watching from the chairs chuckle at this.  I don’t because I know the truth behind the statement.  It’s my son who gives it.     

“Yes to all of those,” she smiles.  “Self-control is the ability to control your own behavior.  When we play this game, you’ll have to use self-control to make sure no one gets hurt.  Understand?” she asks looking the kids in the eyes.  “We’re going to be playing dodge ball.” All the kids cheer.   

I tap the dad holding the infant on the shoulder.  “Excuse me.”  Tap.  Tap.  “Can I please hold your baby?”  Because you’re playing dodge ball.  With a baby.   

He looks at me with an odd expression.  I’ve seen him twice a week for the last month but we haven’t really talked. 

I don’t think that’s important.  What is will be his introduction to the American tradition of dodge ball.  With a baby.   

“The baby?” I ask again and hold out my arms. 

If he’s thinking it’s not a good idea to hand his baby to a stranger, he changes his mind when the first ball flies past.  He quickly hands me the child then uses both free hands to protect his head from an incoming.  


  1. Oh, I love this one. Not only did you perform a kindness, you got to hold a baby! Win-win!!

    1. I know! So fun to hold a baby when my "baby" is the first grader hi-ya-ing in karate!

  2. Wow! Can you believe he thought that may be a good idea :) good for you for being brave enough to offer to help!

    1. No one was more surprised than him when that first ball came flying towards his head! Thanks for visiting!