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I originally was going to title this post Violence Isn’t Always Bad, but I thought about it and decided that I didn’t want that to be the title of my lesson learned today. Sure positive lessons can be learned from everything, but violence on its own is not positive.

So today’s post as you probably guessed is about violence. Violence is everywhere these days. Our children are exposed to it in the news, on the internet, in movies and TV shows. Some even sadly see it personally. I was 8 months pregnant, walking in broad daylight on 6th Ave in Manhattan and I got mugged. I had my gold necklace ripped right off my neck. All while by big strapping husband (his words but I concur) was standing right next to me.

This post is about taking a negative event, a violent one and turning the event into something positive. It is about using something negative as the impetus for a very important lesson taught and hopefully learned and internalized. It also turned out to be a very important bonding moment with kids 3 & 4 and I had a very lovely chat with them.

Yesterday as you recall if you read yesterday’s post was my 4th son’s 11th birthday. As part of our family tradition, I took him and his sister out to lunch at a local restaurant.

We were just seated when from the other side of the restaurant (the take out side), shouting started. Not normal shouting. Angry, high decibel shouting.

The verbal fight moved outdoors and we were then able to see the argument. First shouting, then getting into each others faces, then about 6 or 7 other people trying to break it up. At the point when other people rushed in, I thought for a moment that one of the men had a knife in his hand. Thankfully, I was mistaken. It was in the end just him raising his fist as if he was going to hit the other guy.

The police came. My kids ages 11 and 12 were noticeably anxious and worried during this whole exchange. My 12 year old daughter was pleeing to leave. She obviously was not thinking clearly because in order to leave we would have had to pass the fight. She also made some kind of comment that she was never coming back to this restaurant. It is her favorite restaurant and one we frequent often. She was also afraid that I was going to cry or faint. (I think that was probably just her projecting her worries about herself onto me).

My 11 year old, said his stomach was turning and all of a sudden he was not hungry.

I said to myself that I need to take this traumatic incident and find a way to turn it around. So I started to talk to my children about the incident and what they had seen.

My son started to tell me about how once when we were on a plane and he saw two guys fighting for a parking spot and one got really angry and stabbed the other. I was in disbelief. I said when? What? I was worried about my dementia at age 40 and how I could have possibly forgotten an incident like that, To make a long story short, I finally understood that on the plane he had watched a movie that had a scene like that in it.

Both my son and daughter right away then said they need to be more careful about the shows they watch on TV. My daughter said she is not watching anything anymore without knowing what is on it. That is except for shows like Arthur, because in her words, what can be bad in that show. I am not holding my breath. I am sure they will not always be careful, but still they thought enough about it to bring it up on their own.

The next comment my kids made is that the fight was probably about money. When the waitress came, we asked her. Surprisingly it was not about money. It was about someone verbally saying something not nice to the other and the person responding in anger that then escalated. That was a lesson to my kids as well. Firstly that not everything is about money. People can get angry and violent about simple words.

Secondly, it was a lesson about anger.

What is anger? I explained to my children that anger is when someone is trying to control a person or event they have no control over. Or in certain instances it can be because you see in the other person a trait you don’t like about yourself. In that case you get angry at the other person when you are really angry at yourself for having that trait. I further explained that while you have no control about the other person’s actions, you can control how you react. You don’t have to respond in anger.

I know that sounds kind of deep for an 11 and 12 year old. I think that a lot went over my 12 year old’s head but my 11 year old was hanging onto every word.

I also explained to them that I do not believe in coincidences. We were supposed to have gone out to eat about an hour or so earlier. If we had not been delayed, we would have missed the whole incident. I told them that the fact that we were there meant that there was a reason we were there and that there was a lesson for us to learn from it.

A horrible tense violent incident merited a lovely important conversation. So you see, a negative event really can also be turned into a positive event as well. It all depends if you are willing to learn affirmative lessons from not only the positive events but also from the negative events in your life.

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