Monday, January 10, 2011

Another First for the Sullivan's!

Well, we have another first in the Sullivan household…..and it is this:

Yep, Justice is going to start taking martial arts classes! That picture just makes me chuckle because martial arts absolutely fits Justice’s personality so perfectly! No, the Sullivan’s don’t know anything about this sort of thing. In fact I can’t even tell you the difference between karate, judo, tae kwon do, kung fu, and hapkido or any of the other combat trainings. But I do know this: there are some great disciplines that these classes teach. Respect and obedience to authority, decrease in self-centeredness and increase in the awareness of others, integrity, confidence, leadership, and self-control are just the beginning of the values that are integrated into the training for these classes. A few months ago, Jake asked Justice what sport he wanted to learn here in the U.S. And Justice’s answer was: “I want to learn how to fight.” From that day on I’ve taken note of the way Justice has been wired as a fighter….emotionally and physically. There are so many things I’ve noticed….for instance, one morning we were all in the hotel during a tournament. I was getting ready in the bathroom and Justice and JJ were manning the tv. As they were flipping through the channels Justice came across a boxing match and his mind and emotions were captured….this was the first time he had ever seen boxing. As the men swung punches at each other and fought with all their hearts I observed Justice yelling at the tv saying, “Boom! Pow! YEAH! GET ‘EM! Shoot him!”….all the while punching the air along with the boxers. And sitting next to Justice was JJ, also observing boxing for the first time, and I kid you not, all JJ could mutter was, “Oh my.” What a contrast between these two boys! That was the point when my mind really started keeping track of the yearning inside Justice to ‘fight’. My gut feeling all along has been that this yearning is more of a desire for self-defense. With Justice’s circumstances in Ghana, I believe there were many times when knowing how to ‘fight’ would have come in handy for him. I am positive that he is still carrying around some of that emotion and helplessness, and I believe that is what really causes him to find enjoyment in picturing himself with not only the ability to fight, but also with super-human powers. There are many other instances that have solidified this idea in my mind…..

-When I observed the way Justice physically embodied himself into the main character of The Karate Kid movie during the bullying and fighting scenes.

-His choice for his Halloween costume (a ninja) and seeing his excitement when he first put it on and went out to the edge of the driveway and practiced ninja moves for almost an hour straight with his plastic swords.

-His fascination with the Airbender movie and the parts when the main character showcases extreme power with air and water. His comments during these scenes are always, “How can a small boy have all that much power? How can such a small boy do that?” This movie has given us great opportunities to talk about how God is the only one in the whole world who has that kind of power. I've realized that Justice hasn't quite been able to decipher what is real and what is acting. He doesn't yet understand that the movies he watches aren't really happening somewhere in the world.

-The day they had an elephant sale (which is sort of like a garage sale) at school and he came home with $5 worth of plastic superheros which have become his prized possessions that he goes to battle with on the living room floor.

-His instinct to hit or punch is the first that comes out when someone is being sarcastic with him, has made fun of him, or says something he doesn’t like.

-Waking up early (5:30am) to be able to watch the Avatar cartoon (I obviously put an end to this)

-Justice also has a general fixation with unrealistic super-powers, magic, and fighting power. He speaks a lot of magic and has a desire to be able to have super-powers. As a believer in Jesus, I know that God clearly forbids the occult, black magic, and sorcery (Deut 18:9-13, Acts 16:16-19). I also know that once someone starts dabbling in these areas, it is easy to become obsessed because of Satan’s power in using them for evil. This is a major reason why I want Justice to learn to funnel his passion for powers and strength into something productive and positive, and I believe the martial arts studio we have chosen is in line with this ( Much of this has also been a good lesson for me in monitoring the types of shows/cartoons that my children watch....a lot of this fixation has expressed itself through movies and cartoons.

I know the tendency is to just chalk each of these instances up to ‘being a boy’, but with Justice’s background, I feel that this goes much deeper than that. On New Years Eve I took the munchkins to ImaginEve at HyVee Hall. One of the shows up on stage was students from Farrell’s Martial Arts. We walked over to the stage area to watch the show, and towards the middle of their performance the teacher asked for 10 volunteers. I urged Justice to raise his hand, and he did, although he didn’t know what he was volunteering for. And wouldn’t you know it, Justice was the last volunteer picked to go up on stage to participate in what ended up being some cool karate techniques and trainings. For 10 minutes the instructor took the volunteers through a range of different moves and taught them the values of respect and self-control. In the midst of inflatable toys, kids screaming at their parents, babies crying, and JJ tugging on my hand to head over to another ride, my eyes actually filled with tears because all I could see was the determination and focus on Justice’s face. He maneuvered his body perfectly into all of the moves choreographed by the instructor. I had never seen him so intent on doing something exactly right before….not until those moments up there on stage. After that I felt like I had gotten my cue that we needed to put the basketball to the side for some time and start looking into martial arts classes.

So, I’ll have to keep you updated on how it goes….I could totally see Justice as a martial arts ‘master’ someday….teaching other little girls and boys how to ‘fight’. :) Time will tell. :)


Venegas Family said...

This is great and what a wonderful Mom you are to pay such close attention to your kids, the clues they send out and their desires and needs!!!!

Lori said...

I love his smile!

Kendra Dawn said...

How exciting....He looks GREAT in the outfit!!! :)