Yesterday I got a call from a mother of one of my son's classmates. She told me that my son Tom had verbally insulted her son and had made derogatory comments about his parents, their home, and him.
She was hurt particularly because they had always welcomed him into their home and he had spent a good few hours there. Though she did acknowledge that her son is not exactly an angel, I sensed that she was taking it personally.
I listened quietly, thanked her for telling me and promised I would talk to him.
"What happened?" I asked.
" He and I are always fighting" he answered "but this time I really got upset because he called my sister fat, and if someone insults my family, I'll let him have it!"
" So you really got upset, didn't you?"
And then Mahatma Ghandi came to mind.
" Do you know what 'an eye for an eye' means?" He had never heard of it, well he's barely thirteen...
Supposedly somewhere in the Bible it is said that if someone hurts you, you must return in the same manner. I explained to Tom that this strategy has left many people dead and suffering throughout history.
As Mahatma Ghandi put it: " An eye for an eye keeps the whole world blind"
I said, " Just because he said awful things to you, doesn't mean that you have to stoop down to his level. After all, why do people do things like that? He must have been bored, or wanting attention - and it's sad that he has to behave that way"
"So what could I do?"
" Just walk away..."
I could see that he was beginning to get it and I left the matter. It leaves me wondering where he got the notion that he has to "get back at him?"
On the eve of the Jewish New Year I pray that all human beings and animals will live in Peace on this planet, and find different strategies to fill their needs.