In Post 260, I said I didn’t really want to write about being against violence — I wanted to write about being for peace. And then Sarah on AngloSaxonCeltCreates wrote her piece Against Violence — and stirred up the hornets’ nest in my head.
BEFORE THE INCITING INCIDENT
As long as there is fear and as long as there are inequities in the world then there will be violence. But preventing violence needs to start from where we are. It is much easier to prevent violence if issues are addressed before there is an inciting incidence. When I was a teacher, I was informed there was going to be a fight when one of my kids left my room. I kept that child with me – wow was she mad — and when the halls cleared I took her to guidance. The two kids ultimately were able to talk it out.
There is always a ripple effect. The peace keeper student who told me of the problem started the ripple. I then was then next ripple of peace and then the guidance councilor and ultimately the two girls who were going to fight found a peaceful solution.
The ripple effect could have gone the other way. The peace keeping girl could have been too afraid to tell me. I would have not intervened. The girls would have fought. In all likelihood their friends would have started to argue about whose side to take. The kids would have been punished by the administrators and then parents would have to choose sides….ripple after ripple.
BEFORE THE FIRST WORD
The first conversation starts in your head. The story you tell will determine a peaceful or violent end. A person cut me off on the highway. That is a fact. If I leave it alone and don’t add a story to the fact — it will merely be forgotten.
If I add a story that I am the luckiest person because the person having the bad day missed me. I feel great because I was so lucky and acknowledged there was nothing personal about the incident. There is a peaceful ending for both of us.
If I add a story that the other driver should have seen me — therefore he is an incompetent driver and should be punished — and in fact he probably did it on purpose — and he needs to be shown a lesson — so I go after him to cut him off so that he’ll know what it felt like — we now have a case of road rage. There is a violent ending for both of us.
BEFORE THE BIG WAR
Before a big war breaks out there are usually some smaller skirmishes — disagreements — wrangling for power. There are usually many opportunities to stop the violence before it rages out of control. Just as it takes practice to be an effective peacekeeper — it takes practice to be an effective bully. Whether we are a country sending troops to battle or we’re dragging our spouse to court — there were probably many opportunities for the two sides to make peace.
We need to start looking for those opportunities if we want peace rather than violence. Before the big war we need to see our “enemy’s” fear and rather than capitalize on it for our own gain — we need to find a way to be present in the moment so that we can find a way to disperse the fear and open a space for peaceful conversation.
What do you think?