You see, we have been talking about conflicts we have had. And apart from two children who were adamant that they have NEVER had a conflict…..
we have all experienced them in our lives. Even me, if you can imagine that!
A few days earlier, during a somewhat chaotic classroom moment I had wondered aloud, somewhat wistfully, ‘What’s the opposite of peace?’
‘Noisy?’ shouted Emily, over the din. (Actually, she didn’t shout – Emily doesn’t do shouting – I just said that for effect!)
‘Fighting?’ asked Melchior…..
Anyway, to cut a long story short, between us, we decided that the opposite of peace was some kind of problem. Caused perhaps by a lack of co-operation. The opposite of peace is conflict.
‘That’s bad stuff,’ confirmed Tanisha.
‘Yes; it can lead to fighting.’ Yup – Melchior again.
A conflict is where there is a dis-a-gree-ment. And yes, conflicts can lead to fighting. We have all seen that happen, haven’t we.
Which brings me back to what I was going to share with you. Ill-advisedly perhaps. Some of our own experiences of conflict.
Take a deep breath – and off we go! First there was this from somebody not too far from where I am sitting. She had just won a childhood game of draughts against her brother (usually the winner in such tournaments, it has to be said) with an unusually skilful move that involved hopping over at least five of his pieces. She excitedly raced off to show her parents how she managed it – and when she came back with her audience in tow, all the pieces had been rearranged…..A foot was stamped in fury and she vowed NEVER to play the silly game with him again. Well, until the next time, anyway.
And then there was this:
“I was trying to play and he snatched my toy…..
and my mum screamed to my brother.” Ouch! Then this:
“When I was playing with my toy rose, my sister snatched it!”
Not only that; it seems she broke it too! Oh dear. And after, came this:
“When it’s time to go to school, I ask my mum to see TV; she says ‘No!’”
(You will be pleased to hear that the author of this perfectly well understands the reason for the firm ‘No’ however much he wants to put off the going-to-school moment! )
Next there was this; a somewhat unspecific, “He made me angry.” We can see that very well from the illustration that went with those few words!
And finally: ‘When it was the escalade my sister hurt my hand and I pushed. I was mad at her.’
Sometimes, it is really hard to stop yourself from hitting or pushing; it can all happen so fast! But do you see the calming hand of Dad there? (He’s the one in the natty stripes.) And how everyone is now smiling? Conflicts can escalate in a flash - and can just as soon be over. People don’t usually stay ‘mad’ for long. And just as there are things we can do to calm down afterwards, there are also things we can try to do beforehand so we can avoid the conflict getting out of hand and, as Melchior observed earlier, lead to fighting.
Now, that wasn’t too shocking was it?
PS Draughts? Dreadful game.