The Monroeville Maulers

What was behind the fighting that broke out at the Monroeville Mall?

An early news report said that fists flew initially over a “domestic dispute.”  The video shows the fight is between some black girls.

I know a teacher at a vo-tech school in Pittsburgh who told me about seeing one black girl pull a knife on another black girl–over a boyfriend they were both claiming.

I know another teacher who told me that he doesn’t know any public-school teachers in Pittsburgh who put their own kids in the public schools.  It isn’t safe.

The setting doesn’t seem to matter–school cafeteria, mall, sports venue…It seems that kids assaulting kids is a problem today unlike what we adults ourselves got into as youths.  The problem today seems more riotous–as we saw in the mall footage.  Riotous, I call it, because there exists among so many kids a hair-trigger release into fighting in public places anywhere and everywhere.

The problem–primarily–is this:  These kids don’t know how to argue.   It’s because of the adults in their lives.  These kids don’t know how to argue–they only now how to fight.

They don’t see good examples of arguing by the adults in their lives.  Just about every week in Pittsburgh, we read about somebody being shot in a bar–or at a birthday party or a wedding even.

Arguing is a learned skill.  It requires self-discipline and focus.

The famed psychologist Carl Rogers observed that arguing requires listening.  He said you not only need to hear what the other person is saying; you must restrain yourself from responding UNTIL you have repeated the other person’s remark, and keep repeating it UNTIL that other person is satisfied that you have expressed it accurately.  Without sarcasm.  Without a killer stare.

THAT is difficult.  We are so eager to launch our own argument.  The self-restraint is difficult.  But self-restraint with words can contribute towards self-restraint  with hands.

Don’t expect immediate success.  It is a skill, a learned skill.  And learning a skill requires repetition. But the effort pays off.  It sure beats beating the other person physically–and the payoff extends for generations.

 

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