Yesterday’s topic which was supposed to be about men fighting (why men fight – eh) got sidetracked into schoolyards, bullies, fights, blatant abuse, wife beating as related to fist fights and the advisability of authorities intervening in all this. Which was bad. Very bad. Because it got me thinking. And that’s bad. Very bad.
It’s very bad because I never come to the expected conclusion which I suppose is that I was wrong, violence is bad, etc., etc.
I wasn’t wrong, violence isn’t – by itself – bad but – more importantly – you can’t eradicate it from a human society, and we’re going about the problem of keeping the savage part of man controlled upside down and sideways, when we KNOW the solution. What we’re doing deliberately ignores hundreds of years of experience and we’re going to pay for this. We’re going to pay for this in awful ways. In fact, we’re going to pay for this in a lot of violence that will be targeted mostly at the defenseless.
We’ll start with me as a mother. No adult fully understands the world of children, the sudden violence and the vile ways they go after each other. In a way this is because we have a softened recollection of our own childhood. Part – son would say – is because our brains aren’t fully developed as children, and as things change, things get stored elsewhere and lost. Think of it as moving and shoving some stuff into the garage which you only open 13 years later and go “oh, wow, I didn’t remember that.” Only in this case you don’t open it ever again.
So we’ll start with my being in my early thirties and taking older son to kindergarten, and waiting outside the row of kids, then watching the teacher come to gather them in.
These were good kids, in a little mountain town. Since the mountain town is a dormitory for the larger city, most people there were white collar workers, a few artist and other creatives. There was exactly one blue collar worker, a dad who was a carpenter. (He was my buddy while standing outside with the kids, waiting for the teacher.)
And yet an observant adult could see the tides of violence beneath the surface. My kid was often a target because we’d taught him NEVER to hit anyone, because he was so outsized. (We later had to modify that. More on that later.)
When the teacher came to get the kids, not only was I relieved that I didn’t have to arbitrate those disputes, as I was totally baffled as to why an adult, any adult would want to spend their time with the kids.
They were, to put things mildly, little savages, without a glimmer of mercy, order, compassion or justice, or any of the higher values. They lied, hit, bullied and formed gangs to prey on the weak as easily as they breathed.
Here’s the thing: I don’t think the teacher was aware of all the currents (I know I wasn’t.) And I don’t think she was often able to do justice. I think most often, like a policeman, she made peace – by the method of getting them to shut up and go away – but not justice. And I know, from being in charge of kids, that it’s very easy to give in to the sweet and angelic looking one who brings you tales of the awful stuff those rough boys are doing. More on that later too.
Read it all here, it's a little long but worth it...