Monday, November 16, 2015

Glittering Eyes and Nylon Swords

Two weeks between posts.  I'm getting better.  It's not a year long affair.

One of my main sources of billable hours within Duello is teaching birthday parties.  Kids aged 8-14 come in, they get an hour lesson in longsword (usually), we salute out, get pictures, and then the hosts sugar up a dozen children and loose them upon their parents.

People ask me "How do you teach kids?  It must be nightmarish."  Not at all.  When I'm teaching kids, there is a social contract in place where if the kids want to learn from me, they are keenly aware that I'm allowed to say "You.  You're being a jerk.  Stop being a jerk and gimme ten push-ups."  More than that, THEY DO THE PUSH-UPS.  When I realized I had push-up authority over my students, my job became infinitely easy.  

Well, the parts of my job related to keeping order in my class.  Seriously, I don't know how my homeroom teachers did it in elementary school.  A friend once asked me to babysit his son while he took the wife out for dinner and a show, and I jumped to accept because they're good people.  But on the way over, I thought to myself Oh no, I probably can't give this kid push-ups if he's gonna be disagreeable.  Now, to my great surprise, the boy was a delight, but I was definitely sweating on the way there.  

But I digress.

I love teaching these parties.  This is exactly what I would have wanted when I was a kid.  I tell the people I train with about them, and about knight camp and usually hear "Man, I wish I had something like that when I was a kid."  I know all about it.  I love seeing the unfiltered joy that comes across some of those little faces when they pick their swords up for the first time.  A select few ask about getting to hold the sharp museum swords, and if their folks are okay with it, they all get the chance.  The look on a kid's face when the gravity of holding a real sharp sword after they've been taught to respect it is wondrous.

Not much more to it then that.  I get to be part of a kid's special day a few times each month.  Life is good.

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