An Update on My Open Letter to Dynamite

You know how you work yourself up into a flurry of righteous indignation, storm into an establishment with receipts and a complaint letter in your hand, and hurl your opening salvo only to discover that you were wrong and your entire premise was based on a mistake that you made and is your fault and only your fault? And then you want to say, “never mind,” and race home to delete your blog post on the subject at the same time as you shred the letter you were going to hand to said establishment in a fit of righteous anger?

That is what happened in the first minute of my walking into Dynamite Gymnastics Center this afternoon, where I talked to Michelle and Dov. In case you don’t know what I am talking about, I thought that Dynamite had kicked Quinn out of his gymnastics class, but we hadn’t been told about it. It turns out that I misread what was actually a billing statement. It was confusing because two monthly billing statements had come very close together (like a week apart) because the first one was late going out, according to Michelle. Furthermore, the statement read “(refunded)” right next to the amount I was charged, but I didn’t realize that if the amount wasn’t in parenthesis, that meant it was a charge, not a refund.

I know. I’m considering hiring fact checkers.

I was wrong. I apologize. I assumed that because communication had been so sketchy up to that point, that this was just more of the same.

But.

I am still very glad that I went down there. I am glad I wrote out what bothered me about Dynamite. I am glad I spoke to Dov and Michelle about it. Because, as Michelle herself said, “If there weren’t underlying things at play here, you wouldn’t have come marching in here.” Which is absolutely true. I stand by the things that happened to Quinn prior to my assumption about the billing statement.

Here’s the rest of what happened this afternoon though: Michelle and Dov listened to me. They heard out my complaints. They were kind to me. I feel like they really listened to me and they said that some of these things are issues that they are working on already. They admitted that some of their instructors are great at working with kids but less good at working with parents.

They agreed that communication should have been better. They explained more about what was going on with Quinn. I listened to them. We worked together to hopefully find a solution that will work for Quinn. We are going to move him to a weeknight class and they are going to have a second teacher available to help in that class in case Quinn needs it. I will talk to Quinn and tell him that he really needs to listen and follow directions and participate. Hopefully he can get settled and ease into being successful in the class. They talked to me for 40 minutes.

What happened before was bad customer service. What happened today was good customer service. I am hopeful that things can work out.

Then I had to tell them that I had a letter for them that I had published online. Part of me wanted to just not give them the letter and walk out of there and never mention it to them, but knew that was unfair to them, so I handed them the letter and told them that they would be seeing an update on my website, reflecting what had happened that afternoon.

I regret misreading the billing statement, and I apologize for that and for the assumptions that I made. At the same time, I’m glad that all of this is out of my system. I’m glad that the air is clear and that hopefully we can move forward in a mutually respectful relationship to make Quinn successful at Dynamite. I also hope that they can learn from my reaction to some of the things that happened and hopefully make communication with other families better as well.

Dov said that his goal is to make Dynamite the happiest place in the world for kids, that he wants it to be wonderland for them. I really hope this works out for Quinn. I can’t wait to tell him that he gets to keep going to classes there. I am hopeful and happy and I am grateful to Michelle and Dov for taking the time to make the situation better.

24 thoughts on “An Update on My Open Letter to Dynamite

  1. We all make mistakes. We are, unfortunately, so used to going to battle for our kids, who are often treated unfairly, that it becomes second nature to expect that to be the experience. I’m so glad they were willing to hear you out, and work collaboratively to make it a positive experience for Quinn AND you. Kudos to them for turning this around, and to you for admitting your mistake.

  2. I totally could have done this. And yes, because we “fight” all the time for our kids, sometimes we get ahead of ourselves! But as you wrote, you are now on the same page, and that is what is important for Quinn. I hope it works out.

  3. Parenthood is hilariously hard work, and you handled it as fearless parent, and a fearless writer, and set things straight with much grace. Yay! Just the sheer volume of decision making needed in raising a child makes for a certain ratio of confusion. This is why grandparents have that happy smirk on their faces. Stay the course, don’t beat yourself up, and someday, with a little luck, you, too, will get to wear that knowing smirk!

  4. I am so proud of you! It was so brave of you to go down there and talk face-to-face with them, and to post this today. I am very impressed! I think you just became my new role model!

  5. I am SO glad this worked out! I was pretty shocked at how shabbily you were treated, and it’s good to know it really wasn’t that bad. Though, as the woman said, if there weren’t underlying things at play here, you wouldn’t have gotten upset. Good for you for opening those lines of communication!

  6. So glad that things worked out this way. Ok, not that you made a mistake in reading the statement, but that things were discussed, you were heard, Quinn gets to stay in his beloved gymnastics, and Dynamite did a great job at repairing the relationship.

    Also, I’m incredibly proud of you for handling this so beautifully. I know conflict is not comfortable and it’s often easier to simply walk away. Major kudos for wrangling your way through this!

  7. I am sooooo glad this is all worked out. I’ve been thinking about it this afternoon. And I’m glad you confronted them, because they sound like they want their gym to be welcoming and well-run. Your input will help them improve so kids like Quinn can be happy there! Win-win.

  8. This is Michelle from Dynamite. I am so grateful to Jean for coming in to talk to me. I could see by her face and stride as she marched in the door that something was seriously wrong. As I read through this blog, I see much about confrontation and fear. The interesting thing is that when I saw her coming in, I felt that knot in my stomach that comes with conflict. I think everyone has difficulty interacting with people who are upset; this was no exception on both sides. What fascinates me is that while Jean felt so afraid to talk to us — our teachers were terrified to talk to her. Most of our instructors are under 25. Imagine how an 18 year old must feel trying to explain to a parent that they are having a hard time controlling their child. Imagine how difficult it would be at that age to talk to a parent about moving a child to a different class. They would have to explain why and deal with whatever ensued.
    It’s interesting. I read these blogs and think — all I have to do is know. I am not insulted or hurt to know that something is wrong. I look at everything as a problem to be solved. For that reason, I couldn’t understand why Jean was so reluctant to share her frustration with Dynamite (before it had reached a boiling point). But then I realized — when we do not know how someone will react to news, we avoid the situation for fear of conflict.
    As I spoke to Jean, my heart went out to her. I could feel how distraught she was and I wanted to make everything better. She is a lovely person and it broke my heart that I was somehow responsible for making her feel so upset (which is why I am writing this instead of being at the gym). I was so relieved that we were able to come up with a plan for Quinn and we will continue working to find the perfect place for him. Quinn knows that gymnastics is the best thing in the world and it is my job to make sure he continues to feel that way (at least until he discovers girls). Thanks to Jean for reminding me that behind every child, there is a parent who will do whatever it takes to make things right.

    • Thank you so much, Michelle. This is such a gracious response. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me that you and Dov spent so much of your time helping one mom feel better. That says a lot about you. I’m really happy that we were able to work this out.

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