Recently Ryan started going to parkour classes. It’s something that both boys had been interested in trying for a long time, and when we finally did it, Ryan loved it. (Nathan found himself less interested.) We’ve been going back nearly every Saturday since then.
If you aren’t familiar with it, parkour is about moving around a series of obstacles in a skillful and efficient way — it’s like the obstacle courses you did in grade school, taken to a whole new level. In Ryan’s classes, the instructor generally introduces a couple of moves and has the kids practice them for a while. Then he sets up a course for them, where they need to vault, jump, balance, and roll their way around the various obstacles. Sometimes he’s trying to tag them at the same time. There are frequent breaks for water, where Ryan comes up to me, flushed and sweating, and tells me about how much fun he’s having before he heads back for more.
The persistence we’ve seen in Ryan (which, in some contexts, has felt infuriatingly like stubbornness) really shows in these classes. When he decides that he wants to do something, he keeps at it — if he needs to go back to the start of a tilted balance beam five times, he will do it, until he gets the result he wants.