Thursday, May 11, 2017
When Kids Disappear, So Do Their Opportunities
Ariel got in trouble with her grandmother the other day. Grandma showed up unexpectedly to pick her up from the gym, but Ariel wasn't there. The girl dropped in briefly to drop off her book bag. "I'll be back," she told me, but a half-hour went by. Ariel's been doing that since she's been taking the class. Whenever she starts talking about getting a fight, I remind her that she needs to show up more often to train, as well as remain for the entire class time. Grandma was not happy to find that Ariel wasn't where she was supposed to be. In fact, it was discovered that the girl wasn't even inside the field house. "Too much goes on out here in the streets for these kids to just roam around," her grandmother said, and I agreed. I suspect both the grandmother and her mother had a deep conversation with Ariel when she got home.
Iz and his brother Abraham have been absent for a couple of days. David had no chance to spar yesterday because of that. It concerns me because Iz and Abraham have already signed up for the summer class (as has David). I can buy the excuses about arriving late most days because of having to travel from school. I know that they miss one day every week due to swimming. But their tardiness and disappearances here and there are not going to cut it next session. They won't have school as an excuse, and the boxing shows will be happening.
Commitment from the youths has always been in short supply in the boxing program. No matter how many times I tell the youths (and parents/guardians) that opportunities, like competing for example, and sparring, to an extent are not going to be available to them because of poor training habits and poor attendance, it doesn't sink in. I'm beginning to suspect there's a willful lack of wanting to listen. So I'm fully prepared to take the heat when I deny youths opportunities in the program because of their own actions.