I was on the receiving end of some aggressive behavior on a public playground yesterday. We encountered an aggressive teenager (I think) who was determined to use most of the field to hit the baseball really hard.
As we were encroaching on his personal play space (we were playing soccer further away), he started whacking the ball with the intention of hitting us. After two scary near misses in rapid succession, we walked up to him to see if he might be willing to direct hits away from us.
That, as you might imagine, was an exercise in futility.
We walked away after a slew of abuse, racist insults, and a threat to fight one of us and “make him bleed.”
So, we shook our heads, walked away, and moved our group as far as away as we could. We soon realized that he and his three friends only needed the field for about ten extra minutes. So, all that aggression, bullying, and violence for ten extra minutes…
It took me a few minutes to process what happened. I was mostly struck dumb as the exchange got heated. And, as I processed it, my first reaction was surprise at the level of stupidity with many sarcastic post facto mental retorts.
After a couple of minutes of that, I remembered what I learned from “Non Violent Communication” and realized I was missing the plot. It takes a lot of internal hurt to lash out the way he did with every intention to cause physical and mental harm.
I walked away with an appreciation for the amount of pain the boy must be going through… with gratitude for the cards I’ve been dealt with.
There’s so much we take for granted when things are, in the grand scheme of things at least, good.