About a year ago, the boys tried out for a karate class with a tall, stern man giving them instructions. Finley passed, “And he cannot join,” said the man, motioning to Elijah who had been too wiggly, his sensory system getting the best of him. Elijah hung his head and sat next to me each week for that month Finley participated in Karate. He would quietly watch Finley put on his starched, white pants and shirt, tie his thick belt across his stomach, “I want to do karate,” he’d whisper each time, watching the other kids by my side.
Tonight we tried again, a new place. It’s close to our home, and we drove in the dark on our way. Elijah told us he hoped he would do well. “Elijah,” Finley called out just before we started to encourage him, “I’m going to pray for you–Dear Jesus, help Elijah to do good in Karate, AMEN!!!”
This man was kinder and tied his belt for him, “Wanna know what I was for Halloween?” Elijah whispered.
“Yes,” he smiled.
For 30 minutes, the smallest boy did his best. He stood in line, he messed up during drills but the teacher encouraged him, and he didn’t give up. Twice he became overwhelmed and ran to me for a hug, but regained composure and was able to return.
After 30 minutes, he bowed to his teacher and was invited back.
“I knew you could do it,” Finley told him.
We bought pan dulce next door to celebrate a boy who won’t be sitting on the sides anymore.