Sunday, October 28, 2007

America on the edge, Part B: Voices. Echoes?

(continued from previous post) ... like the fact that 8 year-olds openly talk about shooting.

If this statement is shocking to you (as it was to me), I am sorry to report that it actually gets worse. "Shooting" was not a random thing a young boy brought up and I happened to hear. Nor it was, of course, the subject matter of a discussion in which the little one happened to be present. It was not even a discussion about the "evils" of society. The young boy provided this response when he was asked to name a negative quality that he did not want his best friend to possess.

And now picture this: the incident happened in the local elementary school where the little one is a student. His friends and classmates were naturally present - in fact many of them were sitting just next to him as they were all participating in an activity, which was asking them to name, precisely, "the good qualities they wanted their best friends to possess" and "the bad qualities they did not wish their friends to possess".

Along with such common and anticipated answers like "I want my friend to be kind", "I want my friend to be polite", "I don't want my friend to be jealous of me" - I hear this young boy talking about shooting. And naturally I lose my voice...

I have no knowledge of or training in psychology and yet it seems bewilderingly scary to me that a young boy gave such an answer, to such a question, in a school and in the aftermath of the deadly shooting incidents that have claimed the lives of so many students and others in the United States. Again, I will refrain from taking this point further; but I must admit that I take nothing to be a more serious warning of the urgent need to delve into the issue of "shooting" as well as to dig the ground around it than the response of that 8 year old. Not next month, not next week. Today.

On a more positive now, I must mention that the children were participating in an after-school program the purpose of which is to foster peace in schools. By playing games young children learn peaceful ways to manage their anger and to resolve conflict. This excellent initiative is is the fruit of a non-governmental organization based in Boston, MA called "Peace Games".

The website of "Peace Games"

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