Over Easter we spent some time with relatives and the dreaded “In-Laws”. While it was overall fairly pleasant there was one moment where I threatened to leave and to go down to eat the fricasseed Easter Bunny with strangers down at Luby’s as I just wuzzn’t into much drama at that moment. I was shooting wine coolers and had found the Copa-Coconut much to my liking and had finally mellowed (found my wa) with my entry into Colada City. The Edge of Night, All My Children, and Dark Shadows were cancelled years ago and I had not the desire to have a “live” recreation at the dinner table as that would damage the wa and lead to much consumption of hard liquor and repetitive keiko of strangulation waza.
Luby’s is a pretty interesting place here in Texas. When I was a bank examiner many moons ago (well before the Year of the Jack Rabbit and even before the Year of The Road Runner) and examining commercial banks in deep South Texas, I learned that Luby’s was a place of true peace, true Zen, real wa, and a little wabi-sabi thrown in.
During the winter time in South Texas all the northerners fleeing the weather (aka Snow Birds, why is it no one retires and moves north?) would winter over in South Texas where the two biggest businesses during winter were (of course) lunch at Luby’s (old people don't cook much) and the viewing down at “Dead Men Tell No Tales Mortuary” since so many of the Snow Birds were really old and just choose to depart this mortal coil as a temporary and honorary Texan (at least momentarily).
Wanting to stay on the good side of the kami, Texas is always accommodating to the recently departed and willingly grants them temporary Texas Citizenship. Plus, good sources have it that St. Peter is quicker to open the gate for Texans.
Luby’s has no stress and, the clientele tends to be older and more mature so nothing much controversial ever happens there other than someone yelling “Nurse! I think we have a heart attack at table 37”, or someone needs a tea refill along with some more tartar sauce for the fried “I think it’s fish” patty. Somehow I just don’t think that fish are quite that exactly square.
Everyone gets along unlike today’s Millennials and the tragic-comic life lived by the public teachers who have to manage them during class, and at lunch in the cafeteria at the local state institute for the criminally insane (er … ah …. public school).
Listening to the tales from the in-laws who teach in public schools of how things have changed from when all of us went was both horrifying and made one wish that the mortuary could be more involved in some cases; although age 4 and up is perhaps a little young for the “Snow Bird Effect”. Now the parents on the other hand ...................
For starters, they no longer teach cursive hand-writing. I was blown off my stool by this one. Cursive, much like good Aikido and Judo, activates, coordinates, teaches, and cross-wires both sides of the brain. After a lot of OMG and WTF are they doing I suddenly realized that if kids as young as 4 or 5 don’t receive some form of activity that activates and cross-wires both right and left brain halves, will they one day be martially “un-trainable” since they will have never been required to build that level of brain development that good high-level martial artists need? Will we have to do re-education of new deshi to start that cross-development pathway and end up with way too many years to make dan rank (if ever)?
Worse yet, they are not being taught any raw physical skills as most or all competitive sports have been banned or replaced by advanced social justice discussions (GMLM - green martian lives matter) or saving the whales (ambergris is bad). No dodge ball. How does a kid learn to avoid traffic (or that punch thrown at his head) if there’s no dodge ball? So will you cry if I do an arm bar on you, or will you refuse to take ukemi because you were never allowed to do somersaults on the playground and are psychologically frightened of being upside down?
Everyone gets a trophy, or a ribbon, or a t-shirt; but they don’t actually learn squat, or how to do squat either, and they are mentally and emotionally weak, having never been required to cope with the idea of loss (or that of dealing gracefully and humbly with winning). Everyone gets a trophy and no one loses or feels bad about being picked last for the soft ball pick up game (no soft ball either, Little Johnny might get hurt and Mummy might have to go yell at the principal again).
These were just the small examples that first got me to thinking about future Bushido deshi.
Then came the big one (or one of the big ones in a long and energetically depressing discussion over wine coolers and melted Easter eggs) but I can’t write a 5,000 page blog today and you likely wouldn’t read it if I did). In the classes (keep in mind this is one of the top 5 rated school districts in Texas, not some inner city slum) there is a minimal level of measured expectation (the least allowed before criticism or disciplinary action ... bwhaha .. what disciplinary action). There is also a normal level of expectation (making good grades and good behavior as is expected as a normal course of business). There is also exceeding expectations for grades and behavior and if the student exceeds all expectations then they get a gift reward card that allows them run over to the cafeteria and receive an extra spoon full of mashed potatoes and green beans, or some such gourmet fare (cookies being bad ... kale is good)
So one child in K(indergarten) did as expected but not exceptional. No Magic Card right? Better luck next grading period Little Johnny, please study harder and stop sexually molesting Little Mary by popping her bra strap or I'll have to send you to rendition for re-programming.
You are wrong, baby food breath.
The teacher (my in-law) had to talk to the “shattered child” and explain why he did not get the “Magic Card”. So far so good, huh. Normal day with the diaper brigade in kindergarten. But NOOO.
Now an email shows up from “Mummy”. “So you barbarian child abuser who fails to recognize my exceptionally brilliant child's’ lack of performance. Where is his Magic Card”?
And this goes back and forth, back and forth with the child all the while asking, "But where's my caaaaaarrrrddddd?"
Long sob story short; after several emails with the Mummy, and a conversation with the assistant principal who bluntly told the teacher to stop complaining and that the coddling of the kindergartner would only get worse next year, the teacher in-law very reluctantly re-signed the contract to teach again next year. IMO, IF he lasts the full year, it will very likely be his last. A red vest at Walmart awaits him. Or, he can do what I did after corporate America turning on my and many other professionals I knew ........ become self-employed. You don't make as much money but if the mood strikes, you can tell off that bitchy client who's been a thorn in your side (if you so choose). Less Yen. More control over your life.
A few blogs ago I described a grown adult (in his 20’s I guess) who I threw out and then who came back and started whining about it.
Now I know where that came from. A Millennial who is a product of that type school system. "Whaaaaa! The Sensei didn't make me a ... a ... sob ... Samurai and he told me ..... whimper .... that I'm not mature enough. Wheeeerrreeee's my black belt?"
Now every Sensei who runs a dojo has just more thing to watch for courtesy of the school system and helicopter parenting. I for one don’t plan on managing their issues as I do not run remediation classes. I plan on screening them out and not starting them to begin with. I view the role of Sensei as being more important than babysitting and would rather not take on students who have to be taught be an adult (after the fact). Protect your mat.
There is after all one advantage to running your own dojo. You can fire the student without 'Mummy" whining about Little Johnny.
L.F. Wilkinson Kancho
Houston, TX April 2017