Fighting for your own, whatever it takes!
One in every ten children aged 9–17 years in Montenegro has been present at a fight between peers recorded by one of their friends who then posted it on the internet.
I remember watching animals fighting on the TV channel Animal Planet: two “kings” fighting for survival with terrifying expressions, full of anger and fear at the same time. I felt as if I was watching monsters fighting not only against each other, but also against an inner pain and their fear of death.
I thought I would never see that expression again, but it didn't take too long. It was lurking right where I least expected it: in the park where I was sitting and witnessing an unpleasant sight. Two benches, placed opposite each other, and a group of kids, who are younger than me throwing something at each other. I could feel the tension in the air, and then like two lions, the two groups of children went for each other. The scene reminded me of the bloody lion fight from which only one emerges victorious.
Suddenly, there was a commotion around me. Some people quickly rushed to break the fight up and make a truce, an agreement concluding with the words that we are not animals that fight to the death, but reasonable people.
But how reasonable are we?
Have we just missed the opportunity to teach these children how to control their anger, how to control themselves and resolve this conflict reasonably using “words”? Did we let them try this approach? Or did we merely separate them? Will they “resolve” similar situations in the same way when we are not around? And are we being calm then, since we are not being responsible by not being present? When we find out, we will punish them, of course – no video games for a week. Hmm.
Have we taught them that it is human to err, to be angry, but also to control one’s emotions, to talk and try to find a compromise, to apologize, to make up for any harm done to others, and to forgive?
And how many times have we told them, from their earliest age, “Fight for your own, whatever it takes.” Whatever it takes? Really? We teach them from their earliest age that the end justifies the means. So ethical and reasonable.
And then we are shocked when we read that one in every ten children aged 9–17 years in Montenegro has been present at a fight between peers recorded by one of their friends who then posted it on the internet. One in five children watched such a video online. One in six children commented on it.
And how many of them managed to resolve that conflict with words instead of by fighting? Where are the videos and stories of such compromises? And where are all the adults to promote them?