We had a shocking incident occur to our neighbour last week. Like, the kind of shocking you just don’t think would, or could happen near you. Stuff you hear on the news and shake your head about. It has taken our relatively nice, family-friendly street and shaken it right up.
Our neighbour is doing well, she’s a very tough cookie. But it got me wondering about us as a society and why these kinds of things happen. Why are there some people in the world that think they can treat others in such a manner? Why do we get so angry/hateful/hurtful that we want to cause others pain?
The thing is, these people don’t think about others. They just don’t. They think about themselves. They think about their needs, or what they think they want. Others are simply de-humanised. And while our minds boggle at how some people can do what they do, they don’t see it.
They might have traumatic backgrounds, they might have been raised in a violent environment, often there is a why. But it’s a hard why for a lot of us to find. The human mind is a pretty crazy thing. All it takes is a shitty event growing up, or being born into the wrong environment and it can set off a chain of nasty stuff in neural development, and in the way people function around others.
While it can be scary, and make us angry toward others and want to shut off, for all the nasties getting about, there are some really, really good people around. Amazing people even. They’re the ones we have to focus on. Because if we only look at the evils on the news, and the atrocities people commit against each other, we’ll lose our marbles.
What do we do for our children in this instance? We help them to see the good in others. To assure them that for all the not-so-nice things going on in the world, there are so many more great things. Like the neighbours who have banded around the lady in our street to support her, friends who have stayed over with her so she’s not alone.
We can be that change too. Doing little things for others might not take much for us, but it can mean the world to others. A little note, baking some nice food, just a simple smile and a “how are you?”. That’s what we want to teach our kids. Can I be honest and say we don’t really get along with our neighbour all that well? So when I posted a pic on Instagram of some soup I made for our neighbour I felt like a fraud when people made lovely comments. That wasn’t what I was after at all. But I felt like something needed to be done in that situation. No one should feel violated like that and left alone.
One of the biggest lessons we can teach our kids is ‘we don’t have to be friends, but we DO have to be friendly’. And I see this in kids a lot- they try. They really do. If only we adults could follow suit and just be a bit friendlier to each other. Maybe there wouldn’t be so many nasties lurking around wanting to hurt and harm.
And my neighbour? She harbours no ill feelings toward this other person. Some confusion, some trepidation. But she focused more on how lucky she was, and staying calm and talking to this person. Humanising herself, and trying to connect on some level with the perpetrator. How amazing is that? Resilience is an brilliant thing.
Have you ever had anyone do something nasty to you? How did you handle it? Did you find the good peeps again?
And how would you explain this stuff to kids? It’s been tricky to talk to the girls about what’s gone on in a sensitive way!