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Try a little kindness

May 18, 2012
Morning Journal News


A subject brought up recently in the church I attend is all the violence we are constantly bombarded with from daily news to all forms of media. It's easy to blame it all on entertainment, but the true cause requires far more study.

From the earliest of age we cry and throw fits with kicking and hitting when we don't get our way. It's not learned behavior but something born in us. We by nature are a power sensitive creation with a sense that we might not be better than anyone else, but surely no one is better than us, equality.

I and no one else is going to say that violence is acceptable; however, it is when this sense is threatened that violence results.

A simple experiment dropping a bouncing ball shows that it returns to nearly the same height it was dropped from. We are little different in that we want to retaliate back to that level of equality when we are degraded. When that direct line becomes blocked, such as being insulted by an employer with the power to fire you, many people then take it out on their families in a misdirected fashion.

Likewise, a son that grows up suffering the blunt of this misdirected retaliation may internalize it until he again misdirects it by attacking someone else. Many crimes are in desperation of needs that are not met such as stealing a loaf of bread, but many others are simply lashing out in frustration against a world that couldn't seem to care less. As we have sadly seen many times this retaliation becomes so internalized with no clear target for retribution that people take it out on themselves and may commit suicide. Bullying has of late received a lot of media attention for this reason. It's long been known that bullies are usually victims of bullying themselves that try to rebuild their egos by finding someone else to bully.

Unfortunately bullies will always exist from school kids to drill sergeants, but we don't have to become like them. Those suffering from hot tempers do have a way out. Psychologists will tell you it's best to walk away from a fight, if the instigator will let you, or practice breathing techniques. Fitness trainers often tell their charges to take frustrations out on the punching bag. This gives rise to misunderstanding.

Remember Whop-A-Mole, the popular carnival game? Many games came about as a way of relieving stress. It's very hard to forgive people who hurt us because we want them to pay for what they've done so we imagine the victims or enemies in a game as those people.But this does often work the other way as well, and we imagine those people as the enemies in the games.

In short, try just being kind and gentle with each other, and it may make a world of difference.

Elbert Householder




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